Botox: Is it Worth the Money?

Part 2 of 6: How much Botox costs and how long the results last |

Botox costs and results

Botox is one of the most popular facial treatments for anti-aging and wrinkles, but it can be a little overwhelming if you don't know anything about it. The goal of this section about Botox on is to provide honest and well-researched information about this facial treatment for you to determine whether or not Botox is right for you.

Part 1 discussed the benefits of cosmetic Botox and what factors to look for (dilution, technique, etc.) to get the best Botox results. I also included a picture of my mom's recent before and after Botox treatment to illustrate how Botox injections reduced her wrinkles.

Part 2 of this section on Botox discusses how much Botox costs and how long Botox results last. Keep reading to find out if Botox will be worth your money!

How much does Botox cost?

Botox costs can vary anywhere from $200 to $400 or more depending on the physician, location, units purchased, desired profit margin, ongoing promotions, etc. Many doctor's offices price Botox based on cost per unit, but others price Botox injections based on the area of the injection. Whether Botox is charged by the unit or by the area might not matter that much if the Botox treatment is effective, but if you want to know exactly how much you are paying for your treatment, you need to know the number of units of Botox per treatment and the cost per unit. (An honest practice will not hesitate to give you this information if you ask.)

In the before and after picture of my mom's Botox treatment, my mom paid $350 and was charged per area. She chooses reputable physicians that may be slightly more expensive than average, but have good patient reviews and are well-trained and skilled. To her, it is more worth it to have a doctor who knows how to cater the right technique to her skin issues than to have a doctor who injects her with a certain quantity of Botox but with poor or ineffective technique. This doesn't mean that the more expensive a doctor is, the better he or she will be. It just means that similar to how you would hesitate if the treatment is really expensive, you should also hesitate if the Botox treatment is really inexpensive. Good Botox requires a skilled hand and this is especially important since Botox is a treatment that can definitely be botched.

If, however, you are on a budget, you might want to wait until the end of the year to get your Botox injections. Botox promotions, whether from the Brilliant Distinctions program or from individual doctor's offices, are more common towards the end of the year when people want to get touch ups and look their best for the holidays. However, if someone is offering Botox for a ridiculously cheap price (like you sometimes see on deal websites like, that should raise some red flags. You tend to get what you pay for and in my experience with my mom's Botox treatments, it is better to overpay than underpay. Don't get Botox from a shady place just because it's cheap. Remember, you are not only paying for the units of Botox per treatment, you are also paying for the skill and expertise of the doctor. So make sure you get Botox from a well-trained, reputable physician!

Note: Online coupons or deals for Botox are not recommended because you would be purchasing a medical treatment without knowing if the treatment would be suitable for your skin issues. What you think Botox will fix may not actually be the case, so don't buy something unless you know you are a good candidate for the treatment. It's better to get a Botox consultation first.

Bottom line: Expect to spend several hundred dollars for a Botox treatment. You can shop around for the lowest cost, but in general, you should shop around for a doctor's Botox expertise and not so much the price being charged. Before buying, always make sure you are a good candidate for the treatment!

How long does Botox last?

Botox is not permanent. However, this is both good and bad news. It's bad because it means you have to spend more money for regular Botox injections to maintain wrinkle reduction. However, it's good that Botox is temporary because if you get a botched Botox job, your skin will return to normal in a few months.

How long the results from a Botox treatment last depends on the dosage and application. If Botox is too diluted and you don't get the proper units of Botox injected, the results might not last very long at all. If you get Botox for the wrong kind of wrinkles (i.e. static wrinkles) or an improper dose for your anatomy, you might not see much improvement either. In general, if the right amount of Botox is injected by a skilled doctor in the right muscles, Botox results can last 3-4 months.

Botox should definitely last longer than a few weeks, but how much longer varies. First time Botox users, for example, might experience Botox wearing off in less than 3 months. However, as facial muscles get conditioned to Botox, results should lengthen. Botox injections around the eyes can also last shorter than 3 months. Men, on the other hand, tend to need more Botox than women. Whatever the case, Botox results should generally last around 3 months, give or take a few days.

If you find that your Botox wears off really fast, speak to the person who gave you the injections to find out why (i.e. if the Botox was too diluted, not enough was injected, the Botox was old, your anatomy requires a different technique, you might be resistant to Botox, etc). A reputable doctor will work with you to figure out how to make the Botox treatments worth your time and money. Keep in mind that for some people, Botox takes time to kick in - approximately 1-2 days to be noticeable and 1-2 weeks to peak.

Bottom line: Botox results last on average around 3 months, but this depends on a number of things (dose, area being treated, etc). If your Botox only lasted a few weeks, something is not right.

The Effects of Long-Term Botox Use

Many people think that Botox is only good for a quick fix, especially since the effects are temporary. However, long-term Botox use can actually make your wrinkles look permanently better by preventing them from getting worse in the long run.

Think about it this way: people make facial expressions every single day, whether it's expressing an emotion (i.e. smiling) or simply out of habit (i.e. raising your brows). Making facial expressions causes temporary dynamic lines to show up in your face. These lines go away when your face returns to rest. However, as you continue to make facial expressions, day after day and year after year, and as your skin ages, these lines start to get etched in your skin. That's when frown lines get progressively deeper for people who frown all the time. Or when crow's feet stay put even after you stop smiling or squinting. Eventually, what once were dynamic wrinkles become wrinkles that are just there, even when you don't make any facial expressions.

This is where Botox comes into play. When you get consistent Botox injections, you prevent potential wrinkle formations from getting deeper or worse. Botox limits the range of facial muscle movement (when done skillfully, your face will not get that frozen look) so that wrinkles don't worsen over time. If you have a bad habit of frowning or lifting your brows for no reason, consistent Botox injections can also help your face kick these bad habits and therefore prevent any potential lines from getting etched in your skin. Getting frequent Botox injections may also help relax your facial muscles so that you don't need as a high a dose or as frequent as an injection to maintain your results.

Bottom line: You don't need to use Botox all the time, but long-term and consistent Botox use helps a lot. My mom's doctor said it best: "Wrinkles only get worse over time without Botox or better over time with Botox."

Is Botox worth it then?

You might think that temporary Botox results won't be worth the money, but Botox has both short-term and long-term implications. Short-term, Botox can immediately improve the appearance of your wrinkles. Long-term, Botox can prevent wrinkles from getting worse.

Let's say your Botox treatments cost $300 and last 3 months. This means that if you want to maintain the most optimal results, you'll have to get 4 injections a year and spend $1200. That is a lot of money! However, if you can spare $100 a month (or less than that if you get less frequent injections), you can still reap the benefits of Botox.

Botox is not a necessary treatment by any means, but if you have the time and money or are willing to save up for the treatment, it is certainly worth it. No face cream (not even Argireline, the so-called "topical" Botox) can freeze wrinkles the way Botox can or give you such quick results.

Bottom line: If you've found a good Botox injector (this is very important), you know Botox is the right treatment for your skin issues, and you've got the money to spare, then yes, Botox will be worth it.

Along with good skin care and sunscreen, long-term Botox use can actually prevent wrinkles from deepening and getting worse. We will explore safety issues, side effects, and Botox do's and don'ts in the next few sections, starting with how safe Botox is to use.

Last updated: November 15, 2012

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Part 3: Is Botox safe to use?