Botox Before & After: How many units needed in 30s and 40s?

My forehead wrinkles were banished for just over $200 back in 2014 when I first published this post about Botox treatment at Cutis Medical Laser Clinics. 

During then, only 13 units of botox were administered to erase my forehead wrinkles, which included the glabella (the two vertical lines you see between your eyebrows) and horizontal crease lines. I was very impressed and still am, but will give an update later on the number of units I need fast forward a decade. :) 

Updated (Apr 2023): This post was first published in Jan 2015 and last updated to include latest information – e.g. how many units I needed in 30s and 40s. 

Before Botox (Forehead Wrinkles)
Top: Glabella lines; Bottom: Forehead horizontal lines

 


How to select a Clinic for Botox Treatment?

Just choose one that offers the lowest per unit cost? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. 

If you do a quick research online, you’ll see many doctors recommending 40 to 50 units to erase the forehead wrinkles. Therefore, even if a clinic quotes a low per unit cost, it is important that you find out how many units the doctor needs to work the magic.

Some other clinics may charge by area. Forehead itself consists of two areas – 1) Glabella (frown lines) and 2) Horizontal Forehead Lines. In total, they are likely to cost at least $600.

How many units I received in mid-30s?

13 units to achieve a smooth forehead? 

I wasn’t sure how Dr. Sylvia Ramirez at Cutis Medical Laser Clinics did it. It was amazing how she could deliver the results. Come to think about it, what if I had been given 50 instead of 13 units? Would I have paid more for a frozen and unnatural look?

How many units for someone in mid-40s?

Fast forward about a decade (oooh, time flies), I’m receiving about 30 units, and it covers an additional area (or third area), i.e. the undereye portion to minimize appearance of fine lines.

For someone who have been having botox for a long time, let me extract a few paragraphs from an earlier review I’d written:

“Dr. Ramirez prefers a safer and more conservative approach, i.e. to under- than over-correct. She also prefers a natural look. Hence, in the case of botox, rest assured that you will not get a frozen look.

When I first had botox for glabella and forehead lines, I was hesitant in getting it done at Cutis Medical Laser Clinics as it charged a higher rate of about $18/unit than some other clinics. However, in the end, I realized I’m paying less because Dr Ramirez is conservative and gives you what you need and nothing more than that.

The result, as I’ve said, is extremely natural and lasts for about 3 to 4 months. I highly recommend this clinic for botox treatment.”

Disclaimer: Depending on your profile, the number of units you need may differ from what I had.  

 


Why I Needed Botox?

What got me started on botox in my 30s wasn’t due to wrinkle concerns. I didn’t have much then anyway.

The main motivation was to ease my overactive right above-brow muscle which gave me constant aching and headache, and not forgetting uneven brow levels.

Before Botox (Forehead Wrinkles)
Before Botox (Forehead Wrinkles)

To put across an analogy, think about how tiring your bicep would feel if you have to lift weight 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. My right above-brow muscle just couldn’t relax at all. It was always ‘working out’, as long as I was awake.

I visited Cutis Medical Laser Clinics to ask if there was a possibility of getting this fixed with aesthetic medicine.  She was surprised to learn of my ‘condition’ and we agreed to give it a try. So this was what started me on my journey with botox, and I only needed 5 units of botox then.

Come to think of it, it was nice of her to spend so much time treating me when the fee was at less than a hundred bucks.

> RELATED: Watch me undergo Ultherapy, a no-downtime facelift that turns back the aging clock 

As time went by and as I continued to age, I started asking for more! I wanted my newly-formed static wrinkles to be dealt with too.

If you do not know, botox is good in preventing static wrinkles which are mostly formed as a result of dynamic wrinkles. For instance, if I frown a lot, I get the “11” lines between my brows. That’s dynamic because it can only be seen when I’m moving my facial muscles.  Soon, this dynamic wrinkle will develop into static wrinkle, i.e. wrinkle you see even when you are not animating/frowning.

Before Botox (Forehead Wrinkles)
Faint Glabella lines even without frowning

The photo above shows a faint static “11” wrinkles that was starting to form even when I wasn’t frowning.  That’s because I’d stopped my botox treatment for about 9 months, and of course also due to aging lah.

 


The BOTOX Treatment: What to Expect?

The photo below shows how I looked like immediately after the injection. The redness was a result of icing. After a few minutes, it was not that red and I didn’t need any coverage. Felt totally at ease shopping along orchard road.

Botox at Cutis Medical Laser Clinics
Redness immediately after botox injection

Painful or not? You have an option to use numbing cream. I normally don’t because the pain is quite bearable (maybe 2/10) and I thought it’s quite a hassle using numbing cream (got to wait for it to take effect, and to cleanse off the cream later).

Post-Botox Instructions

Cutis Medical Laser Clinics gave me a piece of paper containing a list of post-botox instructions which I’ve summarized below: 

  • Do not massage areas that were injected 3-4 hours following treatment
  • Exercise the treated area, e.g. frown more, raise forehead more
  • Do not exercise strenuously for 24 hours
  • Do not lie flat for 3-4 hours post-treatment
  • Do not drink alchohol
  • 3-5 days to see results. 2 weeks to seek complete results

 


Before-After Photos of Botox Treatment

Let’s examine the before-after photos in initial years (when I was in my 30s).

Static Wrinkles

No specific facial expression at all in the photos below. I was just looking straight. By Day 10, the static wrinkles were gone.

Before-After Botox (Forehead Wrinkles)
No expression. Just looking straight.

Glabella Lines (The 11 lines)

The needle marks can be seen on Day 2, the day I wasn’t wearing any makeup. On day 4, the glabella lines can hardly be seen even when I was frowning hard. By Day 10, my “11” lines have been completely ironed out.

Before-After Botox (Forehead Wrinkles)
Frowning

Horizontal Forehead Lines

From the ‘Before’ photo, you can probably tell how active my right above-brow muscle was. It caused my brows level to differ so much I looked totally asymmetrical.

By Day 10, my forehead lines were less obvious and my brow levels were more aligned, though still not perfect. It is common for areas to be touched-up post-treatment. But, I was just too lazy to bother.

If you notice, I still have some faint expression lines. It’s not smooth like a canvas. And that’s what I meant by having a natural and non-frozen look.

Before-After Botox (Forehead Wrinkles)
Looking up

 


Botox – An Quick & Effective Treatment

Aesthetic treatments are generally considered quite expensive. When done by a great doctor, botox can be the exception. In my opinion, botox is the most effective and value-for-money treatment around. There is zero downtime and the results can be visible within days. This definitely beats all the expensive cream that doesn’t even quite achieve much anti-wrinkle effects.

Now, how good is botox? Rating: 4.5/5

Editor Note (April 2023): When this post was first published, I was still in my 30s. Now that, I’m in my mid-40s, I’ve increased my botox units from 13 to 30. This increase is partly due to an additional area that I’m treating (around the eyes) – view eye botox review. 

Here’re the number of botox units I needed as I continue to age. :)

  • Mid-30s: 13 units (Glabella & Forehead)
  • Late-30s: 21 units (Add eye area)
  • Early 40s: 30 units (3 areas)
  • Mid-40s: Still 30 to 35 units (3 areas)

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(This post was first published in Jan 2015 and updated in Apr 2023 to include latest available information.)

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