While many benefits of Botox are obvious, some of the details surrounding how treatment works and how frequently you’ll need to make an appointment aren’t.
So how long does Botox really last?
To help sort through all of the information out there, we wanted to create a primer on all things Botox – so you'll have everything you need to know to get the best results.
Botox is the brand name for onabotulinumtoxinA. (We know, it sounds like a mouthful!)
While there are other brands on the market, Botox was the first. And yes, the active ingredient in Botox was isolated from the same toxin that causes botulism (a type of food poisoning). However, it was designed to be as safe as possible. And no, it can’t give you food poisoning.
When injected into the skin, Botox blocks chemical signals that your nerves send to your muscles, telling them to contract. This happens all the time, and usually unconsciously, during things like smiling, laughing and frowning.
With those nerves blocked, both the muscles and the skin around them will naturally relax and smoothen out. Botox doesn’t actually “erase” wrinkles, it just makes your skin appear more even and smooth.
We're sure you've seen "Botox parties" advertised, or perhaps you've heard of people offering these injections at home. It's important to remember that these types of injections are best performed in a controlled environment and by a trained medical provider.
While the needles are small and do not reach far into the skin, the target is still a muscle, which makes it dangerous for anyone not properly trained to perform the procedure.
Who Is Botox Good For?
Wondering if you would benefit from Botox? While choosing to get Botox injections is a personal choice, there are a few specific skin conditions that could benefit particularly well from Botox injections.
It has also been medically studied to help reduce migraines.
Another injectable option may work even better for your concerns. Instead of Botox, which stops the muscles from contracting and creates that smooth appearance, fillers like Juvaderm and Restylane may be a better option.
Fillers, in addition to helping plump the lips and the under eye area (reducing the appearance of dark, under eye circles), can also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
A good rule of thumb is that Botox is best for dynamic wrinkles, caused by movement. Meanwhile, fillers are better for static wrinkles, wrinkles that are still there even when the skin is at rest.
You can still choose to do both, however, it is important to consult with a provider to discuss all of your options.
How Long Does Botox Last?
Let’s get down to the questions we know you’re here for: How long does Botox last and when should you make your next appointment?
Although it would be great if we just needed one injection of Botox to smooth out our skin for life, that isn’t how things work – yet, anyway.
The neurotoxin (the active ingredient in Botox) eventually begins to wear off, which makes the nerves in that area start to send the signals that tell your facial muscles to contract again.
In general, Botox injections last about three to four months. However, that's just an average.
Everyone’s body is different, and, much like metabolism, they each process things at a different speed. Some people may notice their Botox wearing off more quickly, at around the two-month mark, while others may find it lasts as long as four to six months.
For most people, Botox injections have been shown to last longer the more that you get them.
To help your Botox injections last as long as possible, take good care of your skin. Staying hydrated, eating well, developing a quality, supportive skin care routine and wearing SPF are all beneficial in stretching out the time between injections – and they’re great for your skin anyway!
If you can’t book your appointment soon enough, don’t worry. Your skin won’t immediately rebound to how it looked before you started Botox. Instead, little by little, the nerves start to slowly contract again and the fine lines and wrinkles will also slowly start to reappear.
There are no side effects to going off Botox other than the reappearance of the issues that were bothering you in the first place, so there's no pressure to continue longer than you want to!
So how long does Botox last? Ultimately, as long as you want it to.
Prior to your Botox injections, we recommend stopping the use of aspirin, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Aleve) and supplements (including vitamins A and E, ginseng and other fatty acids) no less than three days before your appointment.
You’ll also want to wait a week post-injection before taking any NSAIDs. If you're needing pain medication, Tylenol is your best choice. This can help to reduce the amount of bruising or bleeding you experience.
The same goes for alcohol, caffeine, smoking and even carbs, which should be stopped for a window of 24–48 hours prior to and after your appointment.
We use a very small (we’re talking no bigger than the size of three single hairs placed together) needle to inject low, but effective doses of Botox (or Dysport) just below the surface of the skin in the areas you want to target.
The goal is to create a refreshed face, never frozen.
The areas that are injected may experience some temporary redness and swelling, but that usually goes away within an hour after you leave. If this bothers you, try 100% Mineral Tinted SPF to help gently camouflage these areas while still protecting your skin from harmful UV radiation.
Results from your targeted Botox injections can often be seen within three to five days, with full onset around two weeks out. You’ll still look like you, just the best version possible. It’s recommended that you come back for your next appointment three to four months later for optimal, continued results.
There are few lesser-known tips for post-injection care, as well.
For instance, you’ll want to avoid touching the area at all for at least 4 hours after you leave, to avoid the migration of the Botox from the targeted areas into unwanted ones. The same goes for lying down or working out.
Try scheduling your appointment early in the day, or on a day that you know you won’t have too much to do afterward.
So, how long can Botox last? Around three to four months for most people, but it's best to schedule your next appointment on the early end to catch those nerves before they're able to refire their muscle-contacting signals.
Always have your injections performed by a trained provider, like we have at Skin Pharm, to avoid complications and maximize your results. We look forward to seeing you and helping you to achieve the skin you’ve always dreamed of.