The average cost for a round of Botox® is about $500, but the specifics will obviously vary a lot from patient to patient. Some patients pay as little as $200 and some pay upwards of $900. This gap in the price range depends on lots of factors such as:
- Geographic Location (getting Botox® in affluent areas such as Beverly Hills will generally cost more)
- Facial Location How many and which areas of the face are treated will influence the cost
- The experience and expertise of the doctor (these expensive, affluent areas may be the most expensive but they generally have the most skilled doctors as well)
- Personal factors that vary from patient to patient, such as how many injections are needed.
Botox® cosmetic is used to treat wrinkles of the face. Botox® is a brand of botulinum toxin which works by paralyzing the muscles in the face that cause skin to fold or wrinkle. It is very effective for frown lines between the eyes, crow’s feet lines, and forehead lines. Results from Botox® usually last three to six months.
Botox® prices by the unit
Botox® comes in powdered form. It must be dissolved in saline before it can be injected into the skin. The proportion of saline solution to powdered Botox® can fluctuate from one doctor to another, but one bottle of Botox® will equal 100 units. The exact prices for each injection are affected by several things.
It is most common to dilute Botox® with between 1 and 4 CCs of saline solution. So a typical syringe will contain somewhere between 25 and 100 units of Botox®. Some doctors will want a weaker solution so the Botox® can be injected in smaller muscle groups. Others will want it stronger so they can inject it in very small amounts. Higher dilution ratios will shorten the time the Botox® will last and could mean that too much fluid will be injected. This could affect your muscles and the result may be very different from what you expected.
What makes the Botox® work is the number of units necessary to properly treat the problem. The standard for a average injection appears to be 10 units per muscle to be weakened. For most areas (forehead, crow’s feet lines, frown lines), 15 to 20 units would typically be administered. This can also vary based on how deep the injection must go, the severity of the wrinkling and possibly your gender. Most women need 20-25 units for the treatment of frown lines. However, men may need 35 units because the bulk of muscle to be weakened is larger.
Botox® prices nationwide average between $10 and $15 per unit. If it takes 25 units of Botox® to weaken or paralyze the frown and laugh muscles, you could expect to pay $250 to $375 for it. If it takes 75 units of Botox® to weaken forehead muscles, you could expect to pay $750 to $1,125 for it. The cost of Botox® depends upon how many units are injected, the technique of injection, and geography.
Beware of providers who want to charge you by the CC or syringe. Always ask how many units of Botox® you will receive and how much saline solution was used. Also ask when the Botox® was mixed because it can lose its effectiveness if kept too long after mixing. If they don’t want to tell you, reconsider your choice and go elsewhere to find a reputable physician.
Botox pricing by the area
It was common in the past for the cost of Botox® to be based on the area being treated, or a “flat rate”. In other words, the forehead treatment would be so much, crow’s feet treatment would be so much, treatment for lines between the eyebrows would be so much, etc. This is not as widespread today. The amount of Botox® necessary to obtain the desired effect will vary among individual patients so the most efficient way to determine the total cost is by unit.
There is another reason why this method for determining cost leaves you at a disadvantage. There is no way to know how many actual units of Botox® you are getting. For example, one doctor may advertise $400 to treat frown wrinkles. Another charges $200. You may think the less expensive one is the way to go. Think again! The doctor who is charging less may have diluted the Botox® to a lower concentration. This means you may simply be paying for more water. What you would end up with is a below average treatment with short-lived results.
When you shop for a doctor who has the expertise to administer your Botox® treatment, always find out the cost per unit so you know exactly what you are getting for your money. There is some truth to the saying “you get what you pay for”.
Botox® cost varies widely in the U.S. by region. In the northeast U.S. Botox® prices are generally higher than the western U.S. However, popularity and an abundance of qualified doctors can drive prices up as well. The cost will be higher in Beverly Hills, California, than in Providence, Rhode Island, for example. It is wise to comparison shop because different clinics can have significantly different prices.
It is possible to find lower prices in some foreign countries. Sometimes these prices are 75% less expensive than the same treatment in the U.S. However, you must factor in the additional cost of airfare and hotels. It would also be important to thoroughly research the credentials and qualifications of the doctor who will be providing treatment. Malpractice suits outside the U.S. are rare, so exercise caution if you decide to go this route for your Botox® treatment.
You may also be able to get your Botox® for a cheaper price at a “Botox® party”. These “parties” are social gatherings held at someone’s home or possibly at a spa. Patients have cosmetic procedures done while enjoying the company of friends. Group discounts of $1 to $3 per unit are offered because the doctor can purchase the Botox® in bulk. If you are the party organizer, you may receive an additional discount.
The American Academy of Dermatology warns of the potential dangers of Botox® parties. The Academy feels that Botox® parties are inappropriate and potentially dangerous because botulinim toxin injections can cause adverse side effects, so be careful.
Continued Botox treatment
Botox® injections don’t last forever. The muscles under the skin will start moving again after 4 to 6 months and the wrinkles will slowly return. This means you will have to prepare yourself for re-treatments every four months if you want to maintain the great results from Botox® injections. Be sure to take this into consideration when calculating the total price.