Can I use a smaller dose of Botox?

I like Botox but hate the 3 weeks of looking like the bride of Frankenstein. My doctor uses two vials because I have very deep forehead lines. Would using one vial be a possibility ... Even if I have to go more often?

Doctor Answers 16

How much botox do I need?

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Botox is measured in units. The more that is given, the more weakening there is to the muscle. I would discuss you concerns with your doctor to see if a smaller dose will deliver the results you desire.

Newport Beach Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews


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Botox is an injectable used to lessen the movement of specific muscle of the face in an effort to target wrinkles created by the contraction of facial muscle groups.

The dosing for Botox is variable and based on the desired effect, the amount of current animation, and the strength of the muscles. For new patients, however, the exact dosing is often discovered through a trial and error process. See link below. Some rough guidelines are:

Forehead: 16 units
Crowfeet (around eyes): 8 units per side
Glabella (between eyes): 18 units

For clarification, think of Botox Units as grains of salt dissolved in water. The same number of Units can be put in 1 syringe or many syringes and the same number of Units can be dissolved in 1 ml or 10 ml of water depending on the concentration.

A detailed examination will help delineate your treatment options. Consultation with a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery would be the next best step.

Can I use a smaller dose of Botox?

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In general, Botox is measured in units as opposed to vials. I would recommend speaking with your provider and communicating your concerns, as you should be able to achieve the desired outcome with a lower dosage. The Botox lasts for 3-4 months on average. I hope this information helps, and I wish you the best of luck. 

Paul S. Nassif, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

I do units, not vials

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I would be sure to check with your doctor on your dosage.  Botox is dosed by the unit not by the vial.  
However, using less would not cause you to have to go less often.  Botox will last 3-4 months on most people regardless of the number of units used.  You will want to use the correct number for you.  If you doubt  your doctor I would get a second opinion.

Botox and Dosing

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Botox is in units not vials, so I am unsure how much you have had injected and the way you describe is not natural.  I suggest a second opinion.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 203 reviews

Botox Dosage Versus Duration

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Botox and other neuromodulators (Dysport, Xeomin) are very effective treatments which relax facial muscles that cause creases in the skin with facial expression.  There is a direct dose: duration correlation with Botox treatment (which I published in the medical journal "Dermatologic Surgery" in the late 1990's).  No matter what dose you receive, there will be a "bell curve" in which there is time for the neuromodulator to fully take effect (this varies depending upon which one is used - Dysport starts working faster), then a peak in activity, and then a gradual decline.  A smaller dose decreases the total time of efficacy, but there will always be a period of time during which the muscles are more paralyzed, with less effect at the beginning and end of the treatment duration.  In my practice, I recommend a dosage that lasts 3.5- 4months because my patients don't want to have to come back every 8 weeks for treatment.  To summarize, nobody wants to look "frozen," so your physician will determine what dose will give you the best and longest lasting result that will result in the most natural appearance; but be aware that a "small" dose will wear off more quickly.

Tina B. West, MD
Washington Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Botox dosage

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Hi Notperfect

Thank you for your question.  Two vials of botox seems a bit excessive.  Do you mean two syringes? Everyones injection techinques and dosage is different.  You might want to follow up on what is being done exactly because two vials of botox is 200/u and that is a bit much.  Everyone requires different amounts in each area and is determined by your injector.   Best of luck to you. 

Can I use a smaller dose of Botox?

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Two vials sounds excessive, even one vial (100 units) is more than most people need for the forehead. I usually start with 12 units and go up to 16 or 20 units. Some patients only 8 units. You may want to reconsider these large amounts. 

Smaller doses of Botox

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Good question. Injecting two vials is a large amount of Botox, you may check with the doctor that is injecting you to find out how many units he/she is injecting. They may be able to work with you to lower the amount of units but still be able to deliver great results.

Stay Skintastic

Sandra M. Johnson, MD
Fort Smith Dermatologist

Can I use a smaller dose of Botox?

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Hi, I have used Botox for over 30 years to soften lines and wrinkles and you can certainly use less if you'd like to appear softer.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.