Microbotulinum goes by many names — including microbotox, intradermal Botox, and Botox microdosing — and, chances are, you’re about to hear a lot more of all of them. This microneedling-like method of administering neurotoxin via microchannels has been gaining fans slowly but surely over the years. But the idea recently got pushed farther into the spotlight thanks to a study published in late 2020 in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in which diluted intradermal Botox® was found to improve microroughness, pore diameter, and skin texture on the forehead, cheeks, and jawline in 90 days. Here’s what to know about it.
How Botox Microdosing Works
First, microbotulinum is not a substitute for the regular use of Botox® or any neurotoxin. The effects are different from traditional injectable treatments, which soften wrinkles by injecting the neuromodulator directly into the muscle to relax it. It also shouldn’t be confused with ‘Baby Botox®’ — the treatment that is a lot like regular Botox® injections, but, instead of administering the solution in a few targeted areas of the face, smaller amounts are spread out over wider areas.
When Botox® is microdosed, it is administered via a mesotherapy technique using the AquaGold® Fine Touch system of thinner-than-a-human-hair gold-plated microchannels that infuse a custom cocktail of ingredients into the skin’s superficial layers without ever truly puncturing it. When administered this way, it plumps the skin, decreases pore size and flushing, softens fine lines, reduces sweat and oil production, and thwarts acne. “This procedure essentially helps the skin have a photo-finished or filtered appearance,” says Purvisha Patel, MD, a board certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare.
Facials using the AquaGold® system deliver everything from neuromodulators to vitamins (depending on your needs) at a rate of up to 2,000 microinjections a minute. The result? “Improved skin quality, less grease, less sweat, and an overall glow,” says David Shafer, MD, a double board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New York City. Microbotulinum can be performed just about anywhere on the face — and some parts of the body, too. “[It’s] especially useful on sensitive areas such as the under eyes,” Dr. Shafer notes. “Other common areas are the neck, décolleté, and even the back of the hands.”
Providers don’t see Botox® microdosing as an either/or situation with traditional injections but rather a treatment you can either get on its own or as an add-on to your usual neurotoxin usage. “It’s the icing on the cake for injectable Botox®,” says Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a board certified dermatologist and author of the Pro-Aging Playbook. “It won’t really be the future of injectables, but it is a red carpet secret for someone who wants clearer skin and tighter pores.”
Ideal Candidate for Botox Microdosing
AquaGold® facials that include Botox® are good for people looking to improve their overall skin texture. It can help your anti-aging efforts a bit by plumping the skin, but the effects go beyond that. “The treatment is great for patients looking to refresh their skin,” Dr. Shafer says. “For those new to aesthetic treatments, this is an excellent choice, as it's gentle and has no downtime.” Dr. Patel echoes that, assuring “there are little to no complications.”
What to Expect From a Botox Microdosing Treatment
“Contrary to what you would expect from having lots of needles poked in the skin repeatedly, the procedure is not painful and there is no downtime [other than] slight facial redness,” Dr. Patel explains. Despite that, some sensitive patients opt for numbing cream as a precaution. The treatment typically takes around 30 minutes, and patients often return to work or go about their day as usual right after — although it’s recommended to avoid washing your face and putting on makeup for at least six hours post-appointment to allow the ingredients to work their magic.
Botox Microdosing Recovery & Results
Similar to regular neurotoxin injections, results are not instant. Expect the benefits of microbotulinum to begin to show in a few days, with peak results within a week. As for how long the glow-inducing results last? Dr. Patel says it’s the same as traditional Botox®, clocking in around three to four months.
Prices vary greatly for the AquaGold® facials depending on the provider and cocktail of ingredients being administered. You can find them for anywhere from $250 to more than $2,000 — though, to include Botox®, it will likely run you somewhere in the middle or upper part of that range. Be sure to consult with your board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to see if microbotox is right for you.
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