As one of the most common nonsurgical cosmetic treatments, it’s estimated that over 11 million people worldwide have used Botox. Because of its popularity, it’s often administered in nonmedical settings. However, for the best results and safest experience, it’s extremely important that you get your injections from experienced professionals like those at ProMD Health in Baltimore, MD, and learn more about how long does botox take to work.
We understand that our patients’ primary goal is to get results, and our highly trained staff, state-of-the-art offices, cutting-edge techniques, and unique artistic approaches are all designed to help you achieve your goals, look younger, and feel great!
What Is Botox?
Botox is the name for a drug made from botulinum toxin type A. When the drug is administered to patients in small doses, it is a safe and effective way to smooth wrinkles, treat a variety of medical conditions, and leave patients feeling happier, healthier and younger-looking.
The drug works on the body by blocking nerve impulses that govern muscle contractions, causing temporary paralysis of the muscles that cause wrinkles and resulting in a smoother, younger-looking appearance.
What Are the Most Common Uses?
The most common areas of the face on which Botox is used include
- Laugh/frown lines
- Thick wrinkles on the neck
- Vertical creases between the eyebrows
- Forehead lines
- Crow’s feet
It’s also used to treat various medical conditions including hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is characterized by excessive sweating; typically of the hands, feet, face, or underarms. It can be a debilitating medical issue for many sufferers, interfering with work, social life, and day-to-day activities.
Aside from skin rejuvenation and hyperhidrosis, it’s also used to treat conditions that cause muscle spasms, including multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and cervical dystonia.
How to Get Started With Botox Treatment
If you think that treatment is right for you, the first step is to give us a call and set up an appointment with one of our medical professionals to discuss your cosmetic goals. You should bring information about your medical history with you, including info on any previous surgeries, present or past medical conditions, and any medications (including herbal or nutritional supplements) you are currently taking or have taken in the past.
Your skin will be examined by one of our medical professionals, and during the appointment, your skin’s texture, elasticity, and degree of wrinkling will be examined to determine if treatment is right for you. You’ll also undergo a test by which a small amount of treatment solution will be injected into your forearm. This is done to make sure you won’t suffer from any allergic reactions during or after the actual treatment.
What Happens Pre-Treatment?
If you and our medical professional determine that treatment is right for you, you’ll be given instructions on how to prepare for your upcoming appointment.
7 Days Before Treatment
For at least a 7-day period before your treatment, you’ll need to avoid over-the-counter blood thinners including Aspirin, Motrin, and Ibuprofen. You will also have to avoid herbal supplements, including garlic, vitamin E, Ginkgo Biloba, St. John’s wort, and Omega-3 capsules. Avoiding these medications and supplements will help prevent bruising after your treatment is complete.
3 Days Prior to Treatment
As you get closer to your treatment date, you’ll need to avoid topical skin products such as Tretinoin (Retin-A), Retinols, Retinoids, Glycolic Acid, Alpha Hydroxy Acid, and any “anti-aging” skincare products. You will also need to avoid waxing, bleaching, tweezing, or using hair removal cream on the area where you’ll be treated.
To completely minimize the bruising, you will have to avoid any and all alcoholic beverages 24 hours before and after your treatment. Alcohol is a blood thinner and can lead to additional bruising.
Day of Treatment
Make sure your face is clean and come to the office without applying any makeup whatsoever. If you like, you can bring makeup to apply after the treatment. A topical anesthetic may be applied before treatment, and sometimes a local numbing agent may be applied.
All of this is to maximize your comfort during the treatment. To ensure that the correction comes out smoothly, your provider may need to massage the area(s) you’re having treated. The massaging may result in temporary redness.
How Long Does It Take Botox to Work?
As a neuromodulator that relaxes muscles and keeps them from working at their full capacity, thereby reducing the wrinkles they cause, it usually begins to take effect anywhere from 3 to 5 days after treatment, though it can take up to a full 14 days after treatment for the full results to become apparent.
The reason for this delay is due to the time it takes for the body to start reacting to the Botox after it’s been injected. Because of this, we like to have our patients come back after two weeks to check on their progress.
Other Personal Factors
Sometimes, additional factors can figure in when it comes to how long it takes for the treatment to take full effect. For example, individuals with strong facial muscles may take a little longer for the treatment to begin taking effect. Do not worry if you’re one of these people. You can enjoy the rejuvenating, wrinkle-eliminating effects of Botox, too.
For individuals with particularly deep lines or those who are getting their first injection late in life, more than one injection may be necessary to see the desired results. Additionally, patients may be interested in other treatments we provide, such as dermal fillers.
If you’re getting treatment for the first time because you want to look your best for an upcoming event or vacation, it’s critical that you have your first consultation and treatment session at least two weeks before the event or occasion so you can enjoy the optimal results.
Generally speaking, treatment will take effect faster if you’re using it to treat fine lines and wrinkles as opposed to deep lines. If you’re treating crow’s feet around your eyes, for example, the effects are likely to show up much faster than if you’re treating deep forehead lines.
How Long Does Treatment Last?
Since the effects of Botox depend a lot on the body’s ability to respond, the length of time its effects will last tend to vary from person to person. The effects often last longer after more than one session, when your skin has had more time to regenerate the collagen necessary to fill in lines and wrinkles.
When used for cosmetic purposes, you can expect the effects to last for an average of 4 to 6 months. If you are a first-timer, the effects may wear off sooner. Many patients prefer to schedule follow-up treatments 2 or 3 months following their first.
Factors That Affect How Long Treatments Last
The time it takes for the effects of Botox to show varies from person-to-person, and so does its longevity. There are a variety of elements that can affect how long the treatment’s effects will last.
Dilution of the Dosage
Botox is usually diluted with 1 to 3 ccs of saline solution, though the amount can vary depending on the area you’re having treated. The more concentrated the solution, the more precise the targeting area. With more diluted solutions, the liquidity allows it to diffuse into surrounding areas that could also benefit from treatment.
In some less reputable clinics, the solution is over-diluted, and the patient does not receive the full benefits of their treatment. That’s why it’s so important to use an experienced, quality provider such as ProMD Health as opposed to going to a beauty spa or Botox party.
Botox itself comes in a frozen powdered form to which a saline solution is added prior to the injection to create the proper solution strength. Once mixed, the solution should be used within 24 hours, as it is usually most potent during this period. Once it has been opened, a vial of Botox can be used for up to two weeks.
When you visit a busy, reputable provider for your treatment, vials of Botox will be opened and used on a daily basis, guaranteeing your access to a fresh product.
Your Individual Metabolism
The speed of your metabolism plays a part in how long the effects of your treatment will last. The faster your metabolism is, the quicker your body will eliminate the Botox, fading its effects. Those with a slower metabolism often experience the opposite.
If you’re an athlete, whether professional, semi-pro, or amateur, or if you’re someone who simply keeps in excellent physical condition, you likely have a high metabolism and should be aware of its effects on your treatment.
The Injection Site
Another factor that can influence how long your treatment lasts is the size of the muscle being treated. Treatments in larger muscles, such as the frontalis muscle on the forehead, tend to last for shorter periods of time than treatments in smaller muscles, such as those responsible for crow’s feet.
On average, treatments that target the frontalis muscle last for about 3 months, while those targeting the eyes can last an average of 4 months.
The smaller the dose, the quicker movement is going to return to the muscles at the injection site. For many first-timers, it’s best not to over-inject, so more conservative doses are often used until the patient and the provider are familiar with the patient’s personal reaction to Botox. After the first time, patients are usually able to handle stronger, more concentrated doses with effects that last for longer.
As we get older, our skin’s elasticity and ability to produce collagen diminishes. It’s one of the effects of aging and leads to deeper wrinkling and fine lines becoming more defined. In these patients, the effects of Botox often wear off faster.
Can You Make the Effects Last Longer?
While the effects of treatment vary from person-to-person, some say they’ve had success in extending the longevity of its effects.
The botulinum toxin used to create Botox is zinc-dependent, and a supplement known as Zytase has been said to increase the duration of your treatment’s effects if taken for several days before treatment.
Avoid Exercise Immediately After Treatment
If you exercise right away after your treatment, the post-exercise increase in your metabolism could flush the solution from your system before it’s had a chance to affect the target area. It’s usually best to wait for at least 24-hours after your treatment to perform any type of exercise.
As mentioned above, first-time treatments tend to have the shortest durations. The more regular you are with your treatments, the longer they’ll last.
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns about the longevity of your treatment, you should always consult your provider or MD before doing anything.
The ProMD Guarantee
We’re proud to stand behind our goals of wanting our patients to look and feel younger with ProMD Health. That being the case, we provide complimentary follow-ups and, in most cases free touch-ups to give you youthful-looking results you will love. Give ProMD Health in Baltimore, MD a call today and see what we can do for you.