It should go without saying, but no one ever needs to indulge in cosmetic procedures for the sake of turning back time; aging is a natural, inevitable process that every single person will experience, and the way you approach it is entirely personal. But, if smoothing out your crow’s feet or taking a preventative step against those pesky 11s makes you feel more confident, why not? While there’s a myriad of minimally invasive complexion-enhancing treatments that can help reduce or stave off the telltale signs of aging, such as dermal fillers or laser skin tightening, neuromodulators— cosmetic injections of a muscle-relaxing, wrinkle-reducing neurotoxin — are by far the most sought-after, with options like Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin leading the way. In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, they were the most popular minimally invasive cosmetic procedure of 2020, surpassing dermal fillers, with a whopping 4.4 million procedures performed.
Although the exact formulations vary slightly, all of these options work in a similar way and yield comparable results. “Cosmetic results are achieved when the neurotoxin is injected intramuscularly into the muscles of the face that cause dynamic wrinkles [the wrinkles that become visible when you make certain facial expressions],” says Nurse Nancy Pellegrino, nurse practitioner and co-founder of The Route and founder of NP Aesthetics Inc., “The neurotoxin tells the muscle not to contract, thus temporarily inhibiting movement of the muscles specific to the formation of dynamic wrinkles. The skin overlying the targeted muscles appears smoother and less wrinkled.”