How to Make Botox Last Longer: 14 Best Practices (and Precautions) for Botox Aftercare
Facial aging is inevitable. But you can delay its signs to keep you looking young for a long time. Botox treatment is one of many cosmetic procedures that can help you achieve that aim.
Botox is a drug that weakens the facial muscles responsible for blemishes called “dynamic wrinkles.” It acts faster than topical skin treatments. Its effects are comparable to plastic surgery for the same condition.
Like other wrinkle remedies, it will not completely stop facial aging. But you can make Botox last longer with some simple but scientifically proven measures.
To know how these anti-aging hacks work, you must first understand why Botox is not a permanent wrinkle fix.
Why Is Botox Not Permanent?
Botox is derived from botulinum toxin, a nerve blocker produced by the canned food bacterial contaminant Clostridium botulinum. It has various medical uses when given in small doses.
Botox accumulates in the nerve endings where it binds to vesicles or sacs containing a chemical called “acetylcholine.” This molecule has many actions in the body, including stimulating facial muscle contraction.
Botox prevents the vesicles from releasing acetylcholine into the nerve-muscle junction. The resulting paralysis reduces the occurrence of dynamic wrinkles—the skin folds formed by facial expressions.
The neurotoxin is foreign to the body. The blockade it creates lasts only until the body breaks it down and flushes it out. Normally, digestive proteins in the nerve endings are responsible for its degradation. The process takes a few months, so in most patients, the treated facial muscles recover in 3-4 months.
However, a large molecule like botulinum toxin can sensitize the immune system. So some people develop antibodies to it, reducing its efficacy or the duration of its effects. What makes individuals prone to Botox antibody formation remains unclear. But some studies suggest that higher doses or frequent use of the drug may trigger its occurrence.
How Can You Make Botox Last Longer?
From the above, it is logical to think that prolonging Botox‘s effects requires the following:
- Keeping it bound to acetylcholine vesicles
- Protecting it from degradation
The first one is a cinch, as we shall explain later. Sadly, there’s not a lot you can do about the second.
But how do dermatologists deal with this potential snag?
The most sensible alternative is to go back to the cosmetic condition that Botox is supposed to alleviate—facial aging—and treat it as a whole. That means combining Botox with remedies for “static wrinkles”—the fine lines arising from collagen loss—and developing habits that can keep you enduringly youthful from the inside out.
The steps that can help you prolong the effects of Botox are not complicated or pricey. We tackle them below.
#1 Good Pre-Treatment Preparation and Aftercare
Delaying skin repair after an injection produces not only visible blemishes but also substances that can accelerate skin aging. However, preparing well for your Botox cosmetic procedure helps you recover quickly. One way to do this is to avoid blood thinners, allowing injection sites to clot and heal fast.
Meanwhile, refraining temporarily from activities that can cause flushing, e. g. exercise, after your session helps retain the drug in the target areas longer. Enhanced Botox absorption speeds up its interaction with acetylcholine vesicles and prolongs its action.
You may read our full guide on what to do before and after Botox treatment if you want to know more about the subject.
#2 Schedule Regular Botox Injections
As with any other drug, topping up is the surest way to sustain the effects of Botox injections, so it is important to stay up to date with your maintenance treatments. Doctors expect the neurotoxin to diminish after 3-4 months. They may advise you to book your next session around that time.
There is no need to rush because muscle recovery is gradual. However, you shouldn’t wait too long, either, or your wrinkles will become noticeable again.
Botox and fillers only offer temporary results and thus wear off after a certain period of time. By keeping regular appointments, you’ll naturally train your facial muscles not to make wrinkle-forming expressions. In our experience, this is one of the key ways to prolong the effects of Botox and hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers like Juvederm and Restylane.
We have top-rated dermatologists on our team that can create a schedule that works for you and best fits your anti-aging needs. Book a consultation to learn more.
#3 Do Not Receive Botox Too Frequently, Though
While it’s important to schedule regular Botox treatments, it is not advisable to have multiple sessions frequently. Receiving Botox injections at shorter intervals increases your risk of developing antibodies to the drug. Moreover, it makes you prone to scarring and nerve or muscle dysfunction, which can contribute to facial aging.
Too many Botox appointments in a short span of time can make your facial muscles resistant to the drug. An experienced dermatologist will know how to select the lowest effective dose for their patients and treat them at the longest possible injection intervals.
However, if you find yourself needing more frequent sessions, it could be a sign of Botox antibody formation and, consequently, beginning resistance to the drug. If it happens, you should talk to your dermatologist about exploring other wrinkle-smoothing cosmetic treatments.
#4 Avoid Using Abrasive Products
Over the years, patients have shared with us the numerous types of products they’ve used to fight the signs of aging. Naturally, many of them would like to use these products in combination with Botox to maximize their results. However, we recommend that you avoid abrasive facial cleansers, masks, scrubs and toners for at least a week after your Botox appointment.
Abrasive facial products will not make Botox and fillers like Juvederm or Restylane last longer. In fact, it can disrupt Botox from working effectively on your face altogether. Fillers need to be able to settle into the areas where the injection took place. Harsh products could cause fillers to migrate to other areas, which could give you unintended results.
#5 Avoid the Sun as Much as Possible
Limiting your sun exposure helps you prevent skin aging. But there is another important reason to do it on the day of your Botox appointment.
Like exercise, UV rays can cause flushing by dilating the facial blood vessels and increasing facial blood circulation. This enables Botox molecules to disperse at a faster rate, which can ruin the treatment by reducing the drug’s absorption in the nerve endings.
If, for some reason, you’re not able to stay out of the sun, wear sunscreen that contains SPF 30+. You can also protect yourself by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. These two simple steps will not only protect your skin, but also help your Botox, Restylane or Juvederm last longer.
#6 Take Charge of Your Skin Care Routine
The anti-aging effects of Botox treatment last longer when combined with a good skin care regimen. You may start with gentle cleansing and moisturizing twice daily. The first clears away skin impurities that can accelerate the aging process. The second enhances the skin’s glow and protective barrier function.
Your dermatologist may add topical medications to your daily routine, depending on your needs. Below are some examples:
- Antioxidants like niacinamide and vitamin C neutralize harmful particles left behind by UV rays, pollution and other environmental elements.
- Topical vitamin A-like drugs and glycolic acid exfoliate the skin, flattening wrinkles and exposing younger skin cells.
- Hyaluronic acid serums hydrate and plump up the skin, making it youthfully radiant.
Dermatologist-formulated sunscreen provides added UV protection. Active people must use them daily regardless of skin type.
Trust your dermatologist to give you the optimum skin care regimen that will complement the effects of your Botox treatment.
#7 Eat a Proper Diet
Your diet can also affect the appearance of your skin. Change your diet and avoid eating packaged and processed foods. You should also limit your sugar intake. Stick to a healthy weight by following a regular exercise routine.
You should also know that extreme weight loss, especially in the face, can reduce the effectiveness and longevity of Botox injections. If you are in the process of losing weight, talk with a dermatologist to discuss your options.
In the last few years, there has been a bit of hype about increasing zinc intake to make Botox last longer. Currently, there is not enough evidence to support the efficacy and safety of such a measure. Neither the AAD nor the FDA has added it to their recommendations.
Zinc is a trace mineral in the body. The intestines and kidneys regulate its blood levels closely. Generally, people obtain all the zinc they need from the diet alone.
In healthy individuals, a zinc supplement will only stimulate the intestines and kidneys to excrete the trace vitamin faster. So it’s an additional expense you may not need. But people with conditions that prevent them from eliminating excess minerals may develop multiple organ damage.
In the absence of symptoms or documented zinc deficiency (i. e. by blood testing), supplementation is usually not necessary. However, talk to your doctor if you think you need vitamin supplementation. Besides zinc, there are other nutrients that can boost your skin’s beauty.
#8 Hydrate Your Way to Healthy Skin
Drinking plenty of water is also good for your skin. Water helps you flush out those unseen impurities that the environment creates in your body. Excellent long-term Botox results are only possible when you have healthy skin.
Additionally, hydration boosts the rejuvenating effect of hyaluronic acid. This substance is naturally present in your skin and other parts of your body, though its amounts decrease with aging. It attracts and retains water particles. Hyaluronic acid-based serums and dermal fillers flatten wrinkles using this mechanism.
#9 Reduce Stress in Your Life
You should also try to remove the factors causing stress in your life. While stress is common, it can negatively affect your body in many ways. It can even weaken the long-term effects of your Botox treatment.
High stress levels stimulate the release of cortisol and other stress hormones, which can trigger inflammation and speed up the aging process. Notice how stressed people wrinkle up early and manifest other signs of premature aging?
To extend the life of your injectable treatments, consider practicing some stress-relief techniques such as meditation and yoga.
#10 Exercise Your Facial Muscles
Another way to help your Botox or dermal filler last longer is to exercise your facial muscles. You can do that by making various facial expressions, such as smiling, grinning or frowning.
In addition, not only will your injectables last longer, but they may also show up sooner. In one study, 68% of participants noted that facial exercises sped up the onset of muscle relaxation and wrinkle reduction following Botox treatment.
Ask your dermatologist about facial muscle exercises during your next scheduled consultation.
#11 Exercise is Okay After 24 Hours
Many of our patients go to the gym often and worry that their Botox and dermal filler injections will not last as long as prescribed. This is not exactly true.
Exercising regularly will not cause your Botox or Restylane to wear off faster, but intense workouts immediately after receiving treatment can reduce your results. As explained earlier, exercise increases facial blood flow, which can accelerate Botox or dermal filler clearance in the injection site. However, you only have to avoid it in the first several hours after the procedure when the drug needs to reach its target.
You do not have to stop your workout routine completely to enjoy the age-reversing effects of Botox. In fact, we recommend regular physical activity as part of overall health maintenance, which helps people stay young-looking. However, you may have to give yourself a day off to ensure your injections don’t go to another part of your face.
#12 Smoking and Vaping Gradually Undo the Effects of Botox Cosmetic Treatment
Smoking and vaping can counter the effects of any injectable treatment, Botox included.
- The act of smoking or vaping uses muscles around the lips that wrinkle up the skin, creating what are known as “smoker’s lines.”
- Smoking and vaping release nicotine, a powerful blood vessel constrictor. Narrowing of the blood vessels reduces the flow of water, oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Their depletion contributes to delayed healing, collagen loss and premature aging. Nicotine also resembles the actions of some stress hormones.
- Other chemicals present in cigarettes can reduce collagen production and accelerate the breakdown of this important skin protein. Both result in premature wrinkling, making any injectable treatment less effective. Cigarette smoking also increases your risk of developing any malignancy, including highly aggressive skin cancers.
As you can see, healthy lifestyle choices are essential to having smoother skin and looking young. Cosmetic procedures like Botox injection, chemical peel application, dermal filler injection, laser treatment, etc. will not work if you haven’t given up habits that antagonize their effects.
#13 Be Patient
Another important thing you can do is to be patient. It can take several weeks to see the full effects of Botox injections.
During our scheduled consultation, we’ll go over your skincare goals and then provide realistic feedback regarding what you should expect. Together, we’ll create an individualized treatment plan that will yield amazing results while keeping you safe. If you receive additional injections too soon, you risk experiencing an adverse effect.
#14 Work With the Right Dermatologist
One of the top ways to make your Botox last longer is by working with a reputable dermatologist. Our clinic includes award-winning board-certified dermatologists in LA. We have safely administered Botox treatment to thousands of patients in both Glendale and Encino. An experienced professional can confidently recommend what will work best for your specific case.
When you think about it, the secret to getting superb, long-lasting Botox results is not so huge at all. Healthy living, an effective skin care routine and choosing a good skin doctor can help you make the most out of this treatment and stay wrinkle-free for many years.
Recap: How to Make Botox Last Longer
Botox is a drug that gets rid of wrinkles created by repeated facial muscle use. It is a foreign substance in the body, so its effects are cut short by metabolic or immunologic processes.
Making Botox results last longer is easy. Healthy habits and good skin care are crucial. Most importantly, we highly recommend working with a trusted board-certified dermatologist. Only a bona fide skin care expert can guarantee the best outcomes from any cosmetic treatment.
Book a Consultation in LA to Learn More
Achieve a youthful and radiant complexion with the help of Botox injections or dermal fillers. Whether you still have questions about how to make Juvederm last longer, or if you want to book an appointment, visit us at BHSkin Dermatology.
Our priority is to help our patients determine the right treatment option for their skin conditions and needs, so take the first step today. Give us a call at 310.205.3555 or 818.914.7546. You may also email us or click on the chat box below.
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