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How Long Does Botox Last?


Article by City Lifestyle

Photography by Shutterstock

If you’re about to go in for Botox, or you just received your injection, you probably have a million different questions. In an effort to avoid bothering your doctor, you’re doing your own research.

The good news is you came to the right place. In this piece, we’ll be talking all about Botox. We’ll learn what it is, how it works, how long it lasts, and what you can do to maximize the length of each injection you get.

How Long Does Botox Last?

Botox will last between 3 - 6 months.

There are a few factors that change how long Botox injections last, such as your age, wrinkle depth, and skin elasticity.

The worst-case scenario is an older patient with deep wrinkles and poor skin elasticity.

On average, Botox injections last for between three and six months. The other factor that changes how long Botox lasts is where the injection site is.

What is Botox?

Botox comes from a type of bacteria that is found in nature. The bacteria naturally makes a neurotoxin that can be deadly, but when it’s harvested and used correctly, it can be used in plastic surgery as Botox.

Neurotoxin is a scary term, but Botox is perfectly safe to use. In fact, Botox is an FDA-approved drug, and it has been safety-approved for a number of cosmetic procedures.

Experts use a very small amount of this neurotoxin to make Botox injections. The typical Botox injection is a combination of this toxic bacteria with a lot of saline to dilute it further.

Different Names for Botox

There are different brand names in the world of Botox. Some of the biggest ones are Botox Cosmetic, Vistabel, Vistabex, Botox Vista, Dysport, Azzalure, Xeomin, Xeomeen, and Bocouture.

What Does Botox Do?

Botox is a neurotoxin. This means that it temporarily paralyzes a muscle.

Botox blocks the nerve muscles in the area that it’s injected. This makes the muscles relax and helps wrinkles and lines start to disappear, including areas like your lips.

Botox is usually injected in very small doses since the only goal is to stop the muscles from firing.

How Long Does It Take for Botox to Work?

There are a few different answers to this question depending on what you’re looking for. If you wonder when the Botox starts to do its job, that happens immediately after receiving the injection. The Botox will start paralyzing the local muscles immediately.

As far as when you’ll start feeling the effects, that’s not so immediate. After receiving the shot, you should feel the effects of Botox within 24 to 72 hours. In some rare cases, it could take up to five days.

Finally, seeing results takes a bit longer. You should start seeing results within two weeks. This also depends on the depth of the wrinkles and a few other factors. This is the reason why most doctors suggest you book a follow-up appointment after 14 days to check on the progress.

How Long do Botox Side Effects Last?

The immediate effects of Botox will leave you with red and puffy skin. This mild irritation is your skin’s way of trying to fight the injection it received. These side effects typically go away within a week.

Each side effect has a different length of time that it presents itself. Let’s take a closer look at each specific example.

Side Effects of Botox

Botox has some side effects. Before you panic, rest assured that no one has ever died from cosmetic Botox injections. These side effects are very minor and last for a short period of time.

Eye Edema

Eye edema is when your eyes swell after a Botox injection. Around 1% of users report this symptom, but it doesn’t last long. It might start a week after receiving the shot, and it will go away within four weeks.

Most of the time it’s caused by an allergic reaction, and it’s nothing serious.

Drooping Around the Injection Site

Less than 4% of people who receive Botox report drooping around the injection site. This could be drooping of the lip, eyelids, or eyebrows.

This is typically due to poor technique used by the doctor administering the shot. Recall that Botox works by blocking how your muscles fire. This drooping is a result of Botox making its way to surrounding muscles.

You might see drooping two weeks after receiving Botox, but it will go away in another two weeks.

Again, this symptom has no long-term implications, nor is it a serious health concern.

Headaches, Bruising, Pain, and Swelling

Now, let’s look at the most common side effects of Botox. Headaches, bruising, pain, and swelling are more common than the others on this list.

The good news is that these side effects will go away within a few days. It could be due to poor injection technique, allergies, or the fact that a needle went into your skin.

Doctors suggest that you stay away from Aspirin, Motrin, and Advil for two weeks prior to receiving your Botox shot to decrease the chance of seeing these side effects.

They also say that even with this precaution, some patients are just more prone to bruising after Botox than others. Sure, this is a small price to pay for what you gain from Botox.

Injected Area Looks Plastic

This is a more complicated side effect. If the Botox is overdone, you might realize that your skin in the area looks plastic or fake.

This can be avoided with a conversation with your doctor upfront. Make sure you tell them exactly what you’re looking for, and that you’re looking to avoid the “fake” look of over-injection.

Avoiding Severe Side Effects of Botox

Arguably the most severe side effects a typical patient will have is severe drooping of their muscles. The best way to avoid this side effect is to go to a qualified and highly trained doctor. These side effects are due to poor injection technique.

An injector without the right expertise or experience will lead to problems in the long run.

When to See a Doctor

The previous symptoms are more typical after receiving Botox. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it can be a sign that something separate is going on and you need to call a doctor immediately:

  • muscle weakness
  • trouble swallowing
  • difficulty speaking
  • difficulty breathing
  • poor bladder control
  • vision changes

Botox in Crow’s Feet or Forehead

One of the more popular Botox injection sites is to deal with a patient’s crow’s feet or forehead wrinkles. In this case, the Botox might last up to three or four months.

The skin in this area of your face isn’t really stretchy, which leads to a shorter lifespan of Botox.

What Changes How Long Botox Lasts?

If you want to extend how long the Botox lasts in your body, there are a few things that can be done by the doctor.

The first factor is how diluted the Botox is. It was mentioned earlier that Botox is diluted in saline to make it safe to use. Some doctors might over-dilute the mixture, which leads to less effective Botox treatment and a shorter period of it working. Opting for a more concentrated dose makes the Botox last longer, on average.

The other factor that creates a longer life for your Botox injection is how fresh the product is. If the Botox was recently created and packaged, you’ll actually see longer-lasting results.

The final major factor is how strong your metabolism is. There is a lot of evidence that suggests a stronger metabolism breaks down the Botox faster, shortening how long it lasts.

Unfortunately, these factors can’t really be influenced by you; it’s all up to the doctor in charge.

There are a few methods that you can personally use to lengthen the time that Botox stay in your system. These are less effective than the factors listed above, but they might be worth a try.

What Can You do to Lengthen Botox Injection?

Here are a few DIY methods to help the Botox stay in your system for longer.

Wrinkle Treatments

It might seem odd, but applying wrinkle treatments along with Botox injections actually make the results last longer.

By coupling the two treatments, you prolong the period of time between shots that you’ll need.

Avoid Exercise

This might be good news for some people, but now you have a medical reason to avoid exercise for a little bit! Working out too hard will speed up your metabolism, which we learned earlier shortens the time that Botox lasts.

Even light exercise can increase the bruising and swelling at the injection sites, so it’s best to avoid it altogether for a few days at least.

Zinc Supplements

There have been studies that suggest zinc supplements after receiving a Botox injection lengthen the time it stays in your system.

Without getting into the science of it, Botox is basically an enzyme that is zinc-dependent. This means that the more zinc you have in your body, the better your reaction will be to Botox. This typically translates to better, longer-lasting results.

A 2012 study concluded that zinc might extend the life of your Botox injections up to 30%!

Routine Injections

The best way to maximize the effectiveness of Botox over time is to schedule routine injections. Since Botox affects how your muscles fire, it works better with weaker muscles.

As you continue getting Botox injections, the targeted muscles don’t have a chance to rebuild and get stronger. This means that routine Botox injections require a smaller dose and less frequency than sporadic injections.

Who Shouldn’t Get Botox?

Before going in for your injection, it’s always a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor. There are some conditions that don’t pair nicely with Botox.

If you have a UTI, skin condition where you want to get the shot or an allergy to Botox, you shouldn’t get Botox.

On the Day of Receiving Botox

The day you receive the Botox is the most important day. You can go back to your normal life, but there are a few things to keep in mind throughout the day.

What to do After Receiving Botox

After receiving Botox, you want to make sure that you don’t disrupt the injected area. There are immediate and short-term things you should avoid doing.

Keep in mind that there is no real recovery time associated with Botox. You can resume your typical activities, but it’s always best to try to adhere to the following guidelines to see the best results.

Rest and Relaxation

You have to relax for the rest of the day. The best way to avoid any problems is to relax and not overdo it. It gives your body an opportunity to allow the Botox to work.

Do your best to maintain a normal heart rate. This one is more difficult. A fast heart rate can undermine the effectiveness of the Botox injection by moving the Botox away from the injection site.

Try not to sleep on the affected area. For some injection sites, this simply isn’t possible. It’s a good idea to try to avoid sleeping on the injection area because the pressure will lead to more bruising and swelling the following day.

Sit up for the first four hours. This will help isolate the toxin and reduce your chances of bruising. Lying down might result in spreading the toxin to surrounding areas. This also means you should avoid sleeping for the first four hours after receiving your Botox injection.

The Do’s

DO gently exercise your face to reduce the pain the following day (if the treatment area was in the face). This might mean smiling, frowning, and moving your eyebrows. This also helps you see the effects more immediately.

DO try to leave the treated area alone. This can apply to any activity you do throughout the day. By leaving the treated area alone today, you’ll see fewer symptoms tomorrow.

The Don’ts

DON'T lay in the sun. The heat will raise your blood pressure, which ultimately leads to bruising. You should also avoid heat exposure like tanning beds, hot tubs, hot showers or baths, and saunas for the first 24 to 48 hours.

DON’T touch, rub, or apply physical pressure on the affected area. This is true no matter where you get Botox injections. Irritating the injection area will lead to more swelling, bruising, and pain.

DON’T drink alcohol for the next 24 hours. Alcohol is yet another thing that leads to more bruising after receiving Botox.

DON’T get a massage. You might think that it’s a good idea to get a massage, so you aren’t sore after the Botox injection. Actually, a massage will spread the toxin around to surrounding areas. This will lead to more side effects in the following days.

DON’T apply makeup. This could irritate the injection site and introduce new chemicals to an already-sensitive area.

Understanding how long Botox lasts will lead to a more successful injection. Now you know all about how it works, how long it lasts, how to make it last longer, and things to do after getting Botox.

Where to Get Botox in Kansas City

When getting a treatment like Botox, you'll want to make sure you go to a reputable medical spa with highly trained medical professionals. But beyond that, you'll want to be comfortable and treated well throughout the experience too.

Sunflower Dermatology + Medical Day Spa is a certified SkinCeuticals Advanced Clinical Spa in Riverside. The Sunflower employees are experts in their field and will help you feel relaxed throughout your entire visit. They can also answer any questions you still have about how to care for your Botox after your treatment and how to make your results last longer.

RELATED: The Best Med Spas in Kansas City

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