Crow’s feet are lines and wrinkles that appear in the outer corners of the eye and are caused by happy expressions such as joy and genuine happiness. Unfortunately, they are among the first signs of aging that show up on a person’s face. Today, one of the most popular solutions used for the treatment of crow’s feet is Botulinum toxin procedures like Botox injections. The level of effectiveness of this treatment greatly depends on the dosage used per injection session. If the dose is too small the results would be too subtle to be noticed. If it is too excessive patients may end up with a so-called frozen face which will make their expressions look unnatural. How to determine the right amount of Botox for crow’s feet is not hard when you are armed with the right knowledge.
How does Botox work and is it effective for crow’s feet?
Botox Cosmetic is a brand name for a well-known cosmetic product by a company called Allergan. It is the first FDA-approved solution for the non-surgical treatment of moderate to severe forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet, and frown lines. The main active ingredient in it is the neurotoxin Botulinum toxin. It is derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum and when injected into the muscle, it gradually paralyzes it. This means that when this or other Botox-like products, such as Xeomin or Botulax, are applied into certain facial muscles, they relax them, reducing the appearance of expression wrinkles around the eyes and on the forehead. This form of treatment is highly effective at removing crow’s feet. Although it normally takes between 5-10 days for the first results to be noticed, the crow’s feet area responds much faster to the paralyzing action of this neurotoxin compared to other facial zones and patients can often spot its effects just three days after the procedure. That is slower than the results achieved with treatments involving the application of dermal fillers. The latter typically deliver instant anti-wrinkle effects but they are not that suitable for the correction of fine lines on treatment areas that are very delicate and thin-skinned, as it is the case with crow’s feet. This is one of the reasons why Botulinum toxin injections rank among the best anti-aging procedures that target this stubborn type of wrinkles. The other reasons are the many advantages of Botox treatment such as:
- Short or even no downtime
- Mild adverse effects which are short-lived and rarely observed
- 100% effectiveness
- Almost pain-free
- An FDA-approved method of treatment
- Non-surgical and minimally-invasive
How many units of Botox do you need for crow’s feet?
Board-certified plastic surgeons know that the dose of Botulinum toxin can range from patient to patient. That is because it is determined by a series of important factors among which are:
- Gender of the patient
- Brand of the product
- Injection site
- The number of Botox procedures which the patient has undergone in the past
Therefore, while the minimal dose used for the correction of forehead lines is 12 units of Botox, it will be barely 3 units if the desired effect of the treatment is the lifting of the corners of the mouth. For crow’s feet, the dosage for men ranges between 10 to 30 units per side and for women, it is 4-20 units per side. Do keep in mind, however, that these numbers can differ with other Botulinum toxin products.
Table: Units of Botox for different treatment sites
|Injection Site/Cosmetic Problem||Units Needed per Injection Procedure|
|Crow’s feet||5-15 per side|
|Corners of the mouth||3-6|
|Laugh lines||10-50 per site|
|Lines around the nose||5-10|
How long does Botox last for crow’s feet?
Botulinum toxin injections offer temporary results that usually last for 3-4 months. However, a study has shown that for most patients Allegan Botox removes crow’s feet for a minimum of 4 months. There is also a possibility of the treatment effects to be further prolonged if the patient strictly follows their practitioner’s advice, such as avoiding vigorous exercise and alcohol for a few days after the procedure. This duration is almost the same even if you choose to rely on some other FDA-approved Botox-like product such as Dysport, for example. The anti-wrinkle effects of this procedure wear off gradually. They tend to peak 10-14 days after the initial injection session and after that point, the relaxed muscles very slowly begin to regain their natural movements, keeping the skin smooth for approximately 12-16 weeks. That is why patients need to undergo follow-up, maintenance treatments if they want to keep the annoying crow’s feet away.
How much does Botox cost?
Since every patient is given a different dose of Botulinum toxin, the cost of the treatment for crow’s feet greatly varies. The cost of Botox per unit also ranges – usually between $10 and $20. But if we say that cosmetic surgeons use an average of 10 units of Botox per side (or a total of 20 units for a single session), then the average cost of the procedure will be at least $100-200. With consultation fees and other medical expenses (e.g. notes, monitoring, etc.), that price can reach $400-$600 per appointment. Since this treatment is not medical but a cosmetic one, it will not be covered by the patient’s insurance. This, and the fact maintenance injections need to be performed every 3-4 months, means that you must look at the cost of this procedure from a long-term perspective.
Side effects to watch for
When Botox-like products are used for the removal of crow’s feet, the risk of side effects is very small. In most cases, patients experience unwanted reactions from the injection procedure such as slight bruising, redness, or swelling. Other adverse effects that may be observed are:
- Eyelid dropping
- Watery eyes
- Crooked eyebrows
Make sure you contact your practitioner in case you experience muscle weakness or have problems with your vision, bladder control, breathing, swallowing or speaking.