Botox Moves Beyond the Face to Neck, Chest, Calves and More

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A physician preps a bottle of Botox for injection.

The needle has moved to strange new body parts for pre-red carpet injections.

By now, Botox is so prolific that there’s hardly a part of the body that cannot be treated with a syringe of the muscle-freezing stuff. It’s literally used head-to-toe, moving well beyond the eyes, brows, forehead and chin. And everybody does it. Lisa Goodman, PA, founder of GoodSkin Los Angeles, guesstimates that 99 percent of perfect-looking people on the red carpet during awards season have had Botox injections. “I’ve met so many people in the industry, even those behind the scenes, who say they won’t, but then they wind up getting something,” she says. (That goes for men, too, who get it on their jaw to slim the face and on their neck to combat post-beard sagging skin.) 

Indeed, the favored injectable for women has moved far beyond the face to parts both big and small. Dr. Jonathan Sykes, director of facial plastics at Beverly Hills’ Roxbury Institute, says Botox can significantly improve the long vertical bands in the neck that appear like guitar strings under the skin (caused by the overuse of the platysma neck muscle), since it reduces activity of the muscle and reduces the look of a thicker neck.

But further down the body, Botox also has many creative uses. We’ve all heard of women having injections in the foot pads to help with sweating and to combat the swelling and pain caused by standing for hours in towering stilettos. But Goodman says she’s noticed a rising popularity of Botox injections in the calves, trapezius, chest and abdominals. While it’s used for wrinkles in many cases, the product can also help atrophy certain muscles and thereby strengthen others. “The latter is how i find it to be most valuable,” she says.

Botox actually functions to slim the calves for people who experience denser muscle fiber that appears disproportionate to the rest of the leg. “We see a lot of female patients who get Botox here to slim down their legs,” says Goodman. When overactive, the trap muscles can cause people to appear shorter, and women to look more manly. Goodman says this treatment is also “great for clients with shorter necks or those who hold their stress in their upper body. It improves posture, reduces headaches and is aesthetically more pleasing.”

It’s actually no surprise to hear that women are getting Botox in their chests, as one of the surest signs of aging — prematurely or not — and sun damage is a wrinkled décolletage. The “thin sheet of muscle covering the chest” is a major culprit of chest wrinkles, according to Goodman, who says that manipulating that sheet with Botox helps to prevent wrinkles.

And Botox isn’t the only trendy injectable that is being used in innovative and unexpected places. Fillers such as Restylane and Juvederm are injected into the earlobes, according to Dr. Sykes, to help plump them after volume loss or to reverse the trauma caused by the overwear of heavy earrings. And then there is the "elephant skin" issue on elbows and knees that Goodman says she is shocked to have clients ask for help with. That, she says, “takes a lot of fillers."

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