It seems like almost everybody is getting Botox these days, whether it's for anti-aging purposes or off-label benefits such as TMJ-relief. And while it may seem as straightforward as going to your dermatologist and getting a quick jab, there are several things you should keep in mind after getting Botox to make sure you get optimal results.
For starters, there's an important time window post-injections that you need to be mindful of. But there are also some side effects that have been exaggerated by the internet.
To put your mind at ease, we talked to two board-certified dermatologists to compile a list of things you shouldn't do, and others you shouldn't worry about. Here's what you need to know.
You Can Pour Yourself a Drink
Some online blogs will caution people to refrain from drinking alcohol before and after getting Botox to prevent bruising, but our experts say otherwise. "You can drink alcohol, however, it may increase your risk of bleeding slightly," says Tiffany Libby, MD. However, if you prefer to be extra careful, she points out that medications that interfere with clotting, such as fish oil, nonsteroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, and vitamin E may also increase the risk of bleeding when taken within a week of the procedure.
Don’t Worry About Laying Down
When you get Botox, some people believe they shouldn't bend over or lay down. "There is a hypothetical concern that the Botox can migrate to other areas and have unintended effects on muscles other than their target," says Dara Liotta, MD. "The volume of fluid and amount of Botox injected with each needle stick is so tiny when Botox is used for cosmetic reasons in the face, that I don't think any activity matters in reality."
But Don’t Work Out
Dr. Liotta says to avoid vigorous activity for three to four hours after getting a Botox injection. Dr. Libby mirrors that recommendation: "Although, there are currently no controlled studies that support limiting activity, avoidance of strenuous exercise, or pressure on injected sites — why risk it?" To err on the side of caution, definitely take a day off and return to the gym tomorrow.
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Don’t Massage the Treated Area After Botox
To avoid displacing Botox to unwanted locations, Dr. Libby says to refrain from massaging the treated area. That means, no jade rollers, gua sha, or other face-sculpting tools. "In the same vein, I would [also] avoid using microcurrent devices until two weeks after the botulinum toxin has kicked in fully and any need for touch-ups are determined and performed," she says.
Don’t Freak Out Over Post-Botox Bumps and Bruises
After the initial injections, small bumps may appear along the treated areas — this is normal. "How long it takes for these to disappear can vary depending on how reactive an individual is, but generally disappear within five to 20 minutes after injection," says Dr. Liotta.
Also, while bruising is extremely rare, it may happen on occasion. "Fortunately, most post-treatment bruising is mild and resolves shortly within several days," says Dr. Libby. If you bruise, she recommends applying topical Arnica to speed up recovery.
The effects of Botox don't happen immediately, so don't worry if you're still seeing movement in the treated area after a few days. "It may take between four to 10 days to see the full effect of your treatment," explains Dr. Liotta. Plus, she says that since everyone's facial structure is slightly different, touch-up treatments may be required and are usually performed two weeks after the initial treatment.
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