Botox FAQ

Botox is a popular, FDA-approved treatment proven to smooth fine lines and wrinkles between the brows and in the forehead. The medication in Botox temporarily paralyzes the muscles in those areas, thereby removing the appearance of wrinkles, creating a smoother look. If you’re considering Botox, you may have some questions about the duration of treatment, how long Botox treatments last, and how long you need to avoid certain things after treatment to keep your results looking their best.

Your dermatologist will of course, assess your skin and the depths of your wrinkles to fine-tune your Botox treatments, and can advise you on side effect duration as well as what you can do to take excellent care of your skin after your Botox treatments. Here are some basic ‘how long’ answers to get you started on your journey to smoother skin via Botox:

How long do the effects of Botox treatment last?

The smoother effects of your skin after Botox is temporary, lasting on average between four to six months, and most patients visit their doctors for re-injections within three to ten months.

How long is the treatment?

Getting Botox takes only a few minutes and doesn’t require anesthesia. Botox is injected with a fine needle into specific muscles with only minor discomfort. It generally takes three to seven days to take full effect.

How long until I can go into the sun?

Limit your sun exposure for two weeks after Botox treatments, and always wear plenty of sunscreen for when you do need to go outside for any reason.

How long until I can wear makeup?

It is fine to put makeup or cream on immediately following a Botox injection, but do so gently without massaging or tugging at your skin as you do so. Do not massage the treated areas for at least 24 hours after your injections to avoid spreading the medication to unintended muscles in your face. And keep in mind that a cream with an exfoliating agent (such as glycolic acid or Retin-A) or antibacterial properties (such as witch hazel or salicylic acid) could irritate the skin slightly but only if applied immediately after your Botox treatment. Other than that, there is little risk to wearing makeup immediately after you get Botox treatments.

How long will bruising last?

Bruising may occur for a short time, often 24 hours. Occasionally, the super-fine needle used for Botox treatments may puncture a small blood vessel during injection, which can cause a small black and blue area that can last 5 to 10 days and may require makeup to cover. Your doctor can advise you on pre- and post-treatment steps to take that can reduce any bruising effects on your skin.

Some recommendations that your doctor may make to cut down on bruising may include halting medication that can thin the blood. A week before you get Botox injections, stop taking:

    • Aspirin
    • Ibuprofen, either generic or Advil, Aleve, or Motrin
    • Exedrin
    • St. John’s Wort
    • Vitamin E
    • Fish oil or Omega-3s
    • Ginko Bilboa
    • Ginseng

Avoiding these blood-thinners for a full week prior to treatment will minimize any potential post-Botox bruising. If you have to take pain medication, Tylenol is okay. Also, avoid drinking alcohol a few days before you get Botox.

Keep these post-Botox care tips in mind:

  1. Again, don’t touch your skin where the Botox was injected. Avoid rubbing and massaging the treated area for 24 hours because you don’t want to make the Botox spread to other unintended muscles.
  2. Avoid strenuous physical activity.
  3. Avoid consuming large amounts of alcohol after treatment and avoid alcohol at least a week before treatment.
  4. Avoid getting facials, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, etc. for 24 hours.
  5. Avoid taking blood-thinning medications.
  6. If you get a Botox bruise, topical vitamin K and arnica can help. Or you can get v-beam, pulsed-dye, or KTP laser treatments to make the bruising go away faster. Green or yellow concealer can also help cover up the bruises.
  7. Go back for touch-ups if you need it or are unsatisfied with your results.
  8. Call your doctor or seek medical attention if you experience any side effects or complications from the Botox treatment.

Talk to your dermatologist for additional ‘how long’ questions you might have, as well as for complete guidelines to what you can expect before, during and after your Botox treatments.

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