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How Much Does Botox Cost?

Girl with a plaid blanket

The question we get most often is “Where should I start?” Then, our clients typically ask, “What exactly is Botox?” And then, “Does it actually work?”

(Spoiler alert: It really does work. It is amazing, in fact.)

But despite the misconceptions about aesthetic treatments like Botox, they aren’t reserved for the super rich. We have lots of phone calls and in-person conversations with our clients about how much their Botox treatment is going to cost.

That’s right: Many of our clients are on a budget. They have to think about their bottom line.

Several factors influence the cost of Botox:

What is a unit of Botox?

Botox comes to us as a powder in a vial. Each vial contains 100 units, and we mix, or “reconstitute,” the right number of units of powder at the time of treatment.

Botox is an FDA-approved treatment, and these are the three most common areas where people want to their lines and wrinkles treated:

  1. Frown lines (which medical professionals call “glabella”)
  2. Forehead lines
  3. Crow’s feet that radiate for the outside corners of each eye

We can also use Botox to lift brows, minimize frown lines at the corners of the mouth, diminish movement or dimpling in the chin, treat jaw clinching, and minimize underarm sweating.

How many units will you need?

A single treatment may address multiple areas, and that’s why the number of units can vary from 10 to 100.

So when people ask, “How much does Botox cost?” we have to say, “Let’s back up for a second. What do you want to happen? What are your goals here?”

With that said, we can give rough estimates:

All told, 40–60 units is the average range, and you can bet I’ve had clients who (almost) get offended by what they perceive as a high number of units, even when they had no point of reference.

It’s simple. A fifty-something woman will need more units than a woman thirty years her junior because she has more lines and wrinkles.

For clients to know that they are perfectly normal and average within that 40–60 unit range usually helps.

You want your injector to be the expert.

Botox isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment. Every person is different. And believe me… you want your Botox treatment to be customized for you.

Worth noting is that some aesthetic centers price by the area, not by the price per unit. And some centers factor in the expertise of the injector.

So if you work with a newer, less experienced injector, then he or she will typically charge you less per unit.

Each of these pricing structures has pros and cons, both for the practice and for the client.

For example, some crow’s feet require as little as 12–14 units. Others require twice as many. If your crow’s feet don’t require as many units, you would pay a higher price in the per-area scenario and a lower price in the per-unit scenario.

However, the injector is the expert. He or she should make the call about the number of units a particular client needs.

Avoid lose-lose situations.

One concern about the per-unit scenario is that the expertise of the injector may be pushed aside by clients who have budget constraints. If the injector recommends 20 units for crow’s feet but the client only wants to pay for 15, then the client probably won’t get the ideal result.

I have certainly had clients who didn’t think that Botox worked well when, in fact, they requested that I use fewer units.

Those situations are difficult for conscientious practitioners. In some situations, waiting until you can afford excellent results is better than paying now for sub-par results. In other situations, we are able to meet the client’s needs from a budget perspective and from an outcome perspective.

I like to think of the budget vs. outcome dilemma this way: Can you imagine going in for breast augmentation and telling the surgeon that, because you needed to pinch pennies, you are only going to do one side at first? The surgeon would refuse to schedule your surgery!

When you ask an injector to use your budget to determine your treatment, you are putting him or her in a similar situation. You are asking a professional to compromise the result, which is a lose-lose situation.

I had a client recently that was very concerned about cost and kept that at the forefront of our conversation throughout our consultation.

I treated her with dermal filler. We got a solid result, but she could have certainly gotten more filler and had an even better result. We used less because of her cost concerns. Ultimately she came back and got additional filler injected and was thrilled with her outcome.

With Botox, you may still see some smoothing with fewer units, but the overall result and the longevity of the treatment won’t compare.

With dermal filler, we lose about a teaspoon of volume from the face every year starting in our mid thirties. A syringe of filler is only ⅕ of a teaspoon. You can see how it is easy for someone to need multiple syringes.

What is the best approach to Botox?

The best approach is to find a clinician whom you trust and with whom you have developed a relationship. Stay with that person rather than moving from clinic to clinic based on miniscule savings per unit.

Shopping for a discount will lead to poor results, and we’re talking about your face here!

Some things are worth paying a little more for. We do it with our hair, right? We want to stick with the stylist who understands what we’re going for.

The gist is when you find an injector you like stick with that person.

How does a good injector work inside of a budget?

Today, I had a client who had not received a treatment in a while. He had a certain budget in mind, so we didn’t treat every area he mentioned.

Instead, we maximized his treatment in his glabella (aka, frown lines) and forehead. We skipped his crow’s feet altogether.

I tell you that to illustrate an important point: There are always ways for good injectors to work with clients on a budget and coach them through the most effective use of that budget. The smart thing to do is reduce the number of areas, not the optimal number of units.

You do have a say in your treatment, but you should work with professional whom you trust!

The Right Balance of Cost and Results

I always get a kick out of clients who try to tell me, “Just put two units here and four units there.”

It is funny when you think about it. That’s like telling a surgeon where to make the incisions!

I have been administering Botox for over 12 years now. I know what I’m doing. If I let my clients call the shot and be the expert, I would have put myself out of business.

Botox only delivers amazing results when an expert administers it properly.

Choose to maximize the effects in fewer areas rather than selling yourself short with partial treatments all around. You can find the right balance of cost and results.

I love all of my clients, and I love the fact that aesthetics and Botox in particular are for everyone. Demographics matter less than you think. Regardless of your income, social status, vehicle, or zip code, you can probably afford Botox.

If you have wrinkles or if you need a pick me up, let’s find the right treatment for you.

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