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What is BOTOX, BOTOX Uses, BOTOX Side Effects, and BOTOX Cost

What is BOTOX®?

BOTOX® has become the “Kleenex” of neurotoxin products. Manufactured by Allergan company, it is the wrinkle-reducing brand name product which everyone recognizes. There are other brands of neurotoxins, as well, using botulinum toxin as the active ingredient such as Dysport® (from company Galderma), Jeuveau® and others. BOTOX has been FDA-approved for use since 1989 for treating excessive sweating, treatment for stiffness or spasms, treatment for migraines, treatment for overactive bladder, and more. Of course, one most common treatment of BOTOX® is for cosmetic purposes to reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the face.

Per the Food and Drug Administration website (, BOTOX is a neurotoxin derived from Clostridium botulinum. BOTOX was first approved by the FDA in 1989 for medical purposes other than cosmetic. Per FDA documents, BOTOX is an acetylcholine release inhibitor and a neuromuscular blocking agent. In other words, BOTOX works by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles. For facial cosmetic purposes (the use of which was approved by the FDA since 2002), injected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax from their contracted state and, in-turn, this smooths the surface of the skin.

BOTOX Cosmetic Uses

As you age, repeated contracting of muscles on your face to create expressions or due to squinting (or concentrating!) can lead to wrinkles forming.

BOTOX Before & After between brows

Botulinum toxin is used to reduce lines and wrinkles by significantly relaxing the underlying muscles so they are no longer contracted which results in smoothing of the skin. BOTOX (as well as Dysport and other products like these) results are temporary and will typically last up to 3 months.

With regard to cosmetic procedures, BOTOX (like Dysport and other similar neurotoxins) has many uses. Since 2002, the FDA, Food & Drug Administration, has approved the use of BOTOX for treating the following:

  1. reduce wrinkles and lines between the brows (frown lines).

  2. reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the forehead

  3. reduce appearance of wrinkles around the corner of the eyes (crow’s feet)

More recently, the use of BOTOX for other cosmetic purposes are gaining in popularity. For example, BOTOX can be used to slim the jaw line, to reduce jaw clenching, to reduce expression wrinkles on the nose known as “bunny nose”, to smooth lines on the neck, and more.

BOTOX Side Effects

Because the medication is given at the site of your condition, most of the side effects occur close to where the product is injected. Most commonly the following side effect may occur: bumps and bruises (usually at sides of eyes, if any) are common and bruising will typically resolve itself over a week or so. Other common side effects may be slower to appear but will typically resolve themselves and include:

  • Muscle weakness where the injections occurred

  • Some bruising, swelling or bleeding at the injection sites

  • Headaches

  • Drowsiness or feeling dizzy

  • Cold or flu-like symptoms including sore throat or runny nose

  • Dry mouth or eyes

NOTE: The full benefit of BOTOX for wrinkle-reducing cosmetic purposes may not be realized fully for 7-10 days after the procedure. Dysport tends to work more quickly in about 3-5 days.

Other less common side effects that should be reported to your provider right away include the following:

  • Trouble with breathing or talking

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Uneven (fast or slow) heartbeat

  • Vision problems or drooping eyelids

  • Pain in the chest, arms or shoulders

  • Bad skin rashes or itching

BOTOX/Dysport are not approved for use in people younger than 18 or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


More and more people trying BOTOX (Dysport and similar products) for cosmetic purposes every year. BOTOX costs vary across the country and are typically going up every year as the manufacturer’s cost to providers keeps increasing. According to an industry report by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2016 more than 4.5 million neurotoxin cosmetic procedures were performed in the U.S. amounting to more than $ 1.7 Billion in sales. The average price of the procedure nationwide was $376. The use of BOTOX increased 10% since the year before. The chart below shows the number of Top 5 non-surgical procedures in the U.S. with BOTOX/nuerotixons being the most common, followed by cosmetic fillers such as Juvederm(R) and Restylane(R) products.

The price of the BOTOX procedure depends on how much of the product a person needs. Pricing for customers is usually offered per “unit” and may follow a graduated scale, being less expensive per unit the more you buy. The number of BOTOX units needed for treatment can range from 20-50 depending on how many areas you are treating and how “strong” your contracted muscle pull is in those areas. The stronger the muscle pull, the more BOTOX will be needed in that area. The price "per unit" of BOTOX can range currently from $10/unit to $14/unit.

To give you an idea, the manufacturer recommends the following average dosing number of units for each area on the face. Your experienced cosmetic injector will be able to recommend the right number of units for you which may be more or less than what is listed here below depending on your own facial muscles:

Typical dosing guidelines / units required per facial area treated

20 units for Glabellar Lines ("elevens" between the brows)

24 units for Lateral Cantheral Lines (horizontal forehead lines)

24 units for Canthal Lines (crow's feet)

Your may need more or less units, and your experienced injector can recommend the right number of units for you depending on your goal.

Typically, you can expect that your BOTOX appointment may cost from $200 to $400, give or take. See our current BOTOX prices.

Ready to try BOTOX? Book an appointment or a no-cost Medspa Consultation online.

Call 303-459-4210 or book your no-cost consultation today.

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