If you plan to be one of the 4.1-million women or 265,000 men getting Botox injections this year and you want the best bang for your buck and a seamlessly smooth recovery period, you’ll want to avoid certain things immediately after your Botox injections.
Whether you’ve just returned from your provider’s practice or are scheduled to appear there shortly, you’ll want to avoid the following on the day of and day after your injections. Do these things—or don’t, rather—for the best aesthetic outcome and to minimize potential complications:
- Apply makeup only if you must.
- Don’t take blood thinners.
- Don’t work out.
- Refrain from touching, and never massage the injection site.
- Avoid the afternoon nap—and don’t lay prone, i.e., face down.
- Drink no alcoholic beverages.
- Don’t wash your face for six hours.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure and any tanning beds.
- Consider postponing travel by a day.
- Consider your social events, public appearances (and c-suite meetings).
1. Apply makeup only if you must.
`After Botox, we’ll want to avoid anything that could introduce bacteria into the treated area and cause infection. Since the skin may still be broken (punctured) at the injection sites, applying make-up, which isn’t entirely sterile, is best avoided. If you must apply makeup, wait for 20 minutes before doing so to allow the injection sites to close, and try to avoid pressure on your face as much as possible.
For how long? • 4-6 hours, but ideally 24.
2. Take no blood thinners
Stopping blood thinners starts before your Botox treatment and continues for 24 hours after it. Blood thinners increase the risk of bruising and bleeding, which no one wants. Always check with your licensed provider, but for information’s sake, it helps to know that you’ll likely be advised to safely stop any of the following around the time of your treatment.
- Aspirin (Tylenol is okay)
- NSAIDs including Advil, Alleve, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Naproxen, Vioxx, and others
- Herbal supplements, including echinacea, garlic, fish oil, flaxseed oil, Ginkgo Biloba.
For how long? • 2 weeks before and 24 hours after.
3. Don’t work out
At a minimum, wait four hours after Botox before hitting the gym or exercising. The more intensely you plan to exercise, the more hours you should put it off. A brisk walk taken four hours after your treatment may be just fine, but a sweaty gym session involving lots of bending over, lying down, and heart-racing action is almost always best skipped for at least a day. The reasons for this are that sweating can introduce bacteria and, much more importantly, we want to let the product settle nicely right where it was injected—not everywhere it manages to trickle and travel to as you pump iron and sprint on a treadmill. The best advice is to avoid exercise for a full day after treatment with Botox.
For how long? • 4 hours for light exercise, 24 hours for intense activity.
4. Refrain from touching, and never massage the injection site
Please, please refrain from touching, rubbing, or massaging the treated area. Is it slightly uncomfortable? Probably, and we do get that. We do. But as with exercise, massaging the treatment area is most likely going to spread the injected toxin into areas where it isn’t needed or doesn’t belong. If you’ve ever seen or heard of “droopy eyelids” after Botox, that occurs because the product moved after it was injected—and massaging or applying pressure to the treatment area is to blame. Six hours after treatment, you may wash your face very gently.
For how long? • 6 hours at least, though 24 is often advised (correctly so.)
5. Avoid the afternoon nap—and don’t lay prone, i.e., face down.
It would be nice if Botox could be part of our spa days followed by a long afternoon nap, but lying down isn’t advised. For two to four hours after your injections, you’ll want to do something other than taking a nap or lying down. Sitting is perfectly alright, as is standing or walking around. What your provider is trying to prevent is the injected product moving around to where it shouldn’t be as that could cause cosmetic or even safety issues.
For how long? • 2 hours before laying down. 4 hours before lying prone (face down)
6. Drink no alcoholic beverages
To avoid bruising and other complications, it’s advised that you don’t drink copious amounts of alcohol both before and after having Botox injections. Alcohol consumption will contribute to bruising and bleeding. On the plus side, when you do make it back out to happy hour, you’ll look even more gorgeous.
For how long? • A few days prior to treatment and for 24 hours after treatment.
7. Don’t wash your face for six hours
Though mentioned briefly earlier, this one deserves its own entry. Though washing your face is so important to skin health, we have to refrain from doing it for six hours after Botox. As with many of the don’ts on this list, the exact concern is the pressing, rubbing, and massaging that inevitably occurs with face washing. So we’ll have to let it wait for six hours. Can you blot your face with a tissue to remove a spot or particle or two? Of course.
For how long? • 6 hours.
8. Avoid excessive sun exposure and any tanning beds
The sun and heat will only add to any post-Botox redness and swelling you might be experiencing. This swelling typically resolves on its own within 24 hours but for as long as it’s there, you’ll do best to avoid any direct prolonged sun exposure and to use no heat lamps. Since applying sunscreen to your face will also be a no after Botox, you’ll want to wear a hat when you head out.
For how long? • 24 hours
9. Consider postponing travel by a day
Putting off a flight, road trip or vacation isn’t a must after Botox, but it’s best to let your provider know you won’t be in town after Botox injections. In the very rare event that something needs to be addressed or corrected after your initial treatment, you may not want to “skip town.” Your injector will be able to advise you personally on this: For instance, if treatment was smooth and uncomplicated (as it often is), you’re likely in the clear and can proceed with your pre-treatment plans.
For how long? • 1 day if at all.
First-time Botox users particularly will want to schedule their treatment with their upcoming social appearances and events in mind. You may want to put a one or two-week safety buffer between your Botox treatment and that wedding or high school reunion you’re attending, as well as that virtual video conference with the C-suite. If you’re a Botox vet, you’ll have a better idea of how long it takes to go from injected to impeccable.
For how long? • 1 day – 1 week.
That wraps up our list of the top ten things to avoid after Botox. Babe, you’ll be back at it and looking better than ever after a few short-lived and minor inconveniences.