After turning 30, something weird happened. My friends started talking about Botox injections as if they were teeth cleanings. Single women and new moms alike tried to convince me that going to the dermatologist twice a year for Botox to prevent wrinkles was just like going to the dentist to prevent cavities. My fellow millennial women weren’t trying to turn back the clock on their face to look younger than they were. They were simply trying to avoid acquiring wrinkles in the first place. This was “preventative Botox.”

“Botox is an attenuated neurotoxin that acts to temporarily paralyze the muscle it is injected into,” explains Dr. Alexes Hazen, associate professor of plastic surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center. She notes that Botox is injected into muscles in the forehead and around the eyes to address laugh lines, crow’s feet, and other lines caused by repetitive motions. Typically these lines begin to show around 35, Dr. Hazen says.

Preventative Botox is done before the lines appear, when a woman is in her 20s or early 30s. In that case, Botox prevents the repetitive movement that causes wrinkles.

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