Botox is an injectable substance that inhibits muscle movement. It can help treat certain health issues, and some people request it for cosmetic reasons. Typically, cosmetic Botox lasts 3–6 months.
In this article, we describe what to expect during the appointment, give more information about the effects, and look into risks to consider.
A medicinal or cosmetic dose of Botox blocks certain nerve signals that cause muscles to contract, leading to the relaxation of the muscle that has received the injection.
People typically use Botox to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. However, doctors also use it to treat certain health issues, such as:
- the person’s age
- their sex
- their muscle mass
- the injection technique
- the dilution of the toxin
- the volume of the solution
- the positioning of the injection
Some research indicates that having multiple Botox injections in the same area may increase the duration of the effects.
For a person hoping to make the effects of Botox last as long as possible, it is important to:
- Receive the injections from an experienced and certified medical practitioner who is well-versed in the most effective techniques.
- Follow aftercare guidance carefully.
Some people see results as early as 12 hours after the injection. The full effects, however, are unlikely to appear in the first 14 days.
A person may see the effects sooner if they practice certain facial exercises, authors of a 2019 study report.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery describe the process as follows:
- First, a person attends a consultation to discuss the treatment and, importantly, to let the doctor know about any health issues or current medications.
- At the next appointment, the doctor injects Botox into the desired sites, usually with a very thin needle.
- The number of injections depends on the desired results and the area involved.
- In most cases, the procedure is very quick.
- Some doctors offer a follow-up appointment to check that the area is healing well.
The doctor should recommend aftercare techniques, which may include:
- not lying down for 4 hours after the treatment
- not massaging or applying heat to the area for 24 hours
- avoiding heavy exercise for 24 hours
- avoiding alcohol consumption for 24 hours
The aim of these strategies is to prevent the Botox from spreading to other areas and to keep it from thinning the blood. However, more research is needed to understand the exact mechanisms at work and to develop more effective guidance.
Depending on the area involved and the person’s pain threshold, a Botox injection may be painful. However, the procedure does not typically require an anesthetic.
Also, Botox is temporary, and maintaining the effects can be expensive. The average cost of a Botox injection is $408, according to 2019 estimates from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Although Botox is usually safe, it can cause:
- difficulty swallowing
- difficulty breathing
- generalized muscle weakness
These issues may arise shortly after the appointment or take a few weeks to appear.
Some people should not receive Botox, including those who:
- are pregnant
- are breastfeeding
- are under 18, except when medically necessary
- are allergic to any ingredients in the solution
- have ever had an adverse reaction to Botox
Botox is the trade name of Botulinum toxin. People typically use it for cosmetic purposes, but it can also help treat certain health issues.
The effects of cosmetic Botox usually last 3–6 months, though a range of factors can influence this, including the person’s age, the location of the injection, and the injection technique.
Botox may help with cosmetic concerns or treat health issues. However, it can also be expensive, and a number of risks are involved. A doctor can provide more specific information about the potential risks to each person.