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I thought I was going to stay young forever; maybe it’s because I felt like time would move more slowly, and my skin would always snap back snugly. But that’s just not life. People age and our skin starts to show the wear of life: wrinkles, sun spots, and age spots. When I told my mom about my vision of forever young she said something like, “That is so cute and yet delusional all at the same time.”

So, what are our options to maintain a youthful glow? Botox was first used for eye-muscle disorders in 1989, and only started being applied for lines and wrinkles on the face in 2002(1).


Maintaining that Youthful Glow

The most common age range for Botox users are from 40 to 54, however in recent years, aestheticians have seen an increase in far younger people getting injected. Another trend that these aestheticians are also seeing is retinol usage in all ages(5). Retinoids have been proven to encourage cell turnover and stimulate collagen(3), which results in reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The benefits to the usage of retinol are not limited; it can be used for prevention and reversal of wrinkles along with minimizing breakouts and treatment of hyperpigmentation(6). The two “face-changing” options differ drastically, and both should be considered when looking for a more youthful look. 


The Reality of Botox 

Botox has many applications, including neck spasms, excessive sweating and chronic migraines(13). However, it is mainly noted for treating fine lines and wrinkles(2)

Taking a look at the benefits of Botox, the biggest point to note is that it works, plain and simple(7). According to the National Library of Medicine, a study was done in 1994 that proves the effectiveness of Botox. The results of Botox are quick as well, seeing the results within 10 days(12). Another point to analyze about Botox is that it is not permanent; if you don’t like the final look after the healing process, you can let it wear off.  



Now let’s step into another perspective, again Botox is not permanent which entails consistently booking appointments to keep those lines and wrinkles at bay. And keeping them at bay can be expensive. The price of botox can vary from $300 to $1200 per application(14), depending on how much of the face is treated. Each treatment lasts, on average, two to four months(15). Botox requires consistency and money to keep it up.

girl getting botox

Another reason people may steer away from Botox is because of the side effects, which can include bruising, swelling, and migraines(16). More serious complications could include droopy eyelids or a crooked smile. Botox is a drug made from a toxin that is produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. This toxin can cause botulism, an illness that affects the nerves, which could result in problems from isolated muscle weakness to difficulty breathing(4). These side effects of Botox are just a few of many to be informed about before making a decision when and if Botox is the best option.. 

According to aestheticians, the biggest concerns are the unknowns.

As for Retinol…

Retinol has many benefits. It is derived from Vitamin A, which promotes new cell growth(8), and it is an antioxidant, meaning that it neutralizes free radicals and calms the skin(10). Retinol can be used to reverse the signs of aging, reduce acne and blemishes, and treat hyperpigmentation(6).

By stimulating fibroblasts to synthesize collagen fibers and removing degenerated elastin fibers, retinol can effectively improve the firmness of skin and reduce signs of lines and wrinkles(11). It is a common misconception that younger people don’t benefit from using retinol, however, it is showing good results for all ages using retinol as part of a skincare maintenance routine.

Before adding this step, let’s look at some precautions you may want to take. Retinol includes some possible side effects as well. Redness, irritation, and dryness of the skin are possible side effects(17). When trying retinol for the first time, test apply the product before using it all over your face.

After using a retinol product, be sure to apply a moisturizer to keep your face hydrated. Another point to note is that retinol may cause sensitivity to UV rays, so it is typically best to use sunscreen or avoid direct sun when using most retinol products. 

Consider Your Options

Both Botox and retinol are both options for keeping your skin younger looking. Analyzing your skin type, your financial situation, proximity to your physician, and the risk of unknowns associated with long-term use with Botox are all things to keep in mind when choosing whether, and when to start your journey through using Botox, retinol, or both?

Through these few points I’ve provided, I hope to help inform you on both options as honestly as possible and I hope you consider the points made before deciding a good path for you.

1 Apr 18, 2002. “FDA Approves Cosmetic Use of Botulinum Toxin.” CIDRAP, 18 Apr. 2002, https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2002/04/fda-approves-cosmetic-use-botulinum-toxin. 

2 “The Story behind Botox® Cosmetic: Botox® Cosmetic.” The Story Behind BOTOX® Cosmetic | BOTOX® Cosmetic, https://www.botoxcosmetic.com/what-is-botox-cosmetic/celebrating-20-years-of-botox-cosmetic#:~:text=2002%20The%20First%20Treatment%20of,distinguish%20cosmetic%20from%20therapeutic%20uses. 

3 Satriyasa, Bagus Komang. “Botulinum Toxin (Botox) A for Reducing the Appearance of Facial Wrinkles: A Literature Review of Clinical Use and Pharmacological Aspect.” Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, Dove, 10 Apr. 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6489637/. 

4 “Is Botox as Safe as We Think It Is?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 27 Aug. 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/aug/27/botox-safe-new-research-testing-toxins-fda#:~:text=The%20US%20Food%20and%20Drug,or%20weeks%20after%20an%20injection. 

5 Shari Rudavsky, shari.rudavsky@indystar.com. “Why Millennials Are Flocking to Botox.” The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Star, 31 Mar. 2017, https://www.indystar.com/story/life/2017/03/31/why-millennials-flocking-botox/99133560/. 

6 TodayShow. “Is It Time to Use Retinol? How to Know If It’s Right for Your Skin Care Routine.” TODAY.com, 18 Apr. 2022, https://www.today.com/style/what-retinol-retinol-benefits-uses-side-effects-more-t150639. 

7 Facial Aesthetics. “Botox Pros and Cons.” Facial Aesthetics, 28 Mar. 2022, https://facialaestheticsinc.com/botox-pros-and-cons/. 

8 Cherney, Kristeen. “Curious about Retinoids for Wrinkles? Here’s Everything to Know.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 22 June 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/retinoids-for-wrinkles#what-they-are. 

9 Witmanowski, Henryk, and Katarzyna Błochowiak. “The Whole Truth about Botulinum Toxin – A Review.” Postepy Dermatologii i Alergologii, Termedia Publishing House, Dec. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7874868/. 

10 “The Science behind Retinol (Vitamin A).” HAPPI, https://www.happi.com/issues/2012-03/view_experts-opinion/the-science-behind-retinol-vitamin-a/. 

11 Frye, Hannah. “Do Collagen Serums Work? plus, What to Use Instead.” Mindbodygreen, Mindbodygreen, 7 Sept. 2022, https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/do-collagen-serums-work-what-to-use-instead#:~:text=According%20to%20research%2C%20retinoids%20(including,the%20production%20of%20new%20%20fibers. 

12 Lindberg, Sara. “How Long Does Botox Take to Work? Timeline and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 27 Jan. 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/how-long-does-botox-take-to-work. 

13 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, February 2). Botox injections. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/botox/about/pac-20384658#:~:text=Overview,also%20help%20prevent%20chronic%20migraines

14 How much do botox treatments cost? CostHelper. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://health.costhelper.com/botox.html#:~:text=A%20dermatologist%20or%20plastic%20surgeon,or%20more%20for%20multiple%20areas 

15 Smita Ramanadham, M. D. (2019, November 12). How long does botox last? American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/blog/how-long-does-botox-last 

16 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, February 2). Botox injections. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/botox/about/pac-20384658 

17 Person. (2021, August 13). What is retinol? 6 things to know. Healthline. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/what-is-retinol