Needles vs Bottles- The Truth About Botox vs Skin Care

"$75 for a moisturizer? I'll just get Botox."

Photo by Veronica Lauritson. Needles vs Bottles- The Truth About Botox vs Skin Care


As illogical as this sounds, it's actually quite a common statement. Some clients are more willing to go under the needle than to actually take care of their skin, thinking it's a quick, permanent fix that will be more effective than proper skin care. It's really not.

A full, effective skin care regimen with professional products (including cleanser, exfoliant, toner, serum, moisturizer, eye cream, sunscreen) may cost between $150-$400 depending on the chosen brand and varying costs of individual products. Professional products can last eight months to a year and if used properly will improve the condition and health of the skin.

Botox injections cost between $10 and $20 per unit, which seems very inexpensive until you realize how many units are required per area. Depending on the clinic, clients are charged either by unit or per area.

"We charge Botox Cosmetic by the area. The three most common areas are the crow's feet, forehead, and the lines in-between the brows (glabella). I typically use approximately 60 units for those 3 areas and charge $575. So in our practice we charge about $10/unit." - Benjamin Bassichis, MD, FACS, Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Rates vary between doctors, cities, offices, and product. Depending on facial muscles, the number of units can be more or less. These rates do not include the initial consultation(s) with a nurse or doctor to determine the client's needs.

Botox and fillers, administered by an experienced plastic surgeon, can be very effective at freezing facial muscles or adding fullness to sunken areas. However, it only lasts between 4 and 8 months before another round of injections is required to achieve the same effects.

I definitely understand the appeal- quick injections, nearly instant results. However, these results are very temporary solution to an underlying problem. Not to mention that 80% of the time estheticians can tell when a client has had injections. The skin is stretched, slightly shinier, and sometimes puffy. There's a certain plastic look to the face that is hard to describe but easy to spot to the trained eye.

Using Botox long term can sometimes cause muscle atrophy, also causing loss of fullness, creating a vicious cycle of injections.

Using professional products in a twice daily, esthetician tailored regimen, gives the skin cumulative repair. It increases the speed of the cell cycle, making skin appear younger and repair itself. A regimen that includes monthly facials with peels, peptides, and hydration will plump up the skin without injections. Using products actually improves the skin instead of artificially and temporarily plumping up an area. The science of skin care has improved dramatically over the past five years, and chemists are creating products that use peptides that tell the skin to produce more collagen and elastin, that remove dark spots, that smooth texture without the risks of injections.

This is one of my "ultimate care" regimens for dry and mature skin. Every regimen is tailored specifically to that individual's needs, but for comparison purposes, here's one of the most expensive regimens I could put together.


Even without coming in for facials, this regimen will significantly rejuvenate skin for far less than a round of Botox, and results don't fade, but add together over time. It's never too early- or too late- to start an anti-aging regimen.

Will results be as instant as an injectable? Or course not. But with regular use over time, the health of your skin will improve and keep improving. Deep peels, laser resurfacing, galvanic current and microneedling are all options to give treatments an extra boost without injections.

Have you had injections done? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below.

(Photo by Veronica Lauritsen)