When thinking about Botox, you are likely daydreaming about your perfect final results. While you may know that proper aftercare is crucial to getting these optimal Botox results, how you prepare for the procedure can be just as important.
Everything from the injector that you choose to work with to the medications that you take can impact your experience. Your final results, and even your appointment may be weeks away, but you can start preparing for your injection right now.
Choosing a Qualified Injector
After deciding to get Botox, the first choice to make is which injector to work with. One of the key factors in ensuring that your injection goes well is choosing a qualified injector.
It is important to carefully research your injector’s credentials prior to your procedure. Ensure that you are receiving your treatments from a licensed board-certified medical professional. Although Botox injection is a minor procedure, only an experienced injector can provide the best results.
You should also assure that your injector is a licensed provider of the neurotoxin they are injecting. Being a licensed provider of Botox, Dysport, or any other brand name option ensures that the product being injected meets a certain level of quality. Working with a licensed provider minimizes the risk of getting a poor quality off-brand product, Botox that is expired, or even contaminated Botox.
On a similar note, avoid injectors that offer prices that are too good to be true. In many cases, these injectors use overly diluted products or illegally sourced Botox imported from outside of the United States from places like Canada or the United Kingdom.
Getting Ready for Your Botox Appointment
In the lead up to your Botox treatment, you should prepare your body for the procedure. This preparation is essential to improving your results and easing your recovery, helping you to avoid complications like bleeding and bruising.
One to two weeks before your injections
Some people experience minor bruising around the injection site after the procedure. Taking certain medications and supplements—like aspirin, ibuprofen, or vitamin E—prior to treatment thins the blood and can increase the risk of bruising.
You should stop taking non-essential blood thinning medications and supplements one to two weeks prior to your appointment. However, do not discontinue the use of blood thinning medications without first consulting your doctor.
If you have taken blood-thinning medications or supplements within the week prior to your injection, tell your injector. It’s also a good idea to inform your injector of any medications that you take on a regular basis in case they have blood thinning properties that you are unaware of.
Certain antioxidants have also been known to weaken blood vessels and prevent blood clotting. You should avoid antioxidant-rich foods or supplements like fish oil, green tea, red wine, and multivitamins for one week prior to injection.
Similarly, you should abstain from all alcoholic drinks for at least 24 hours before your injection. Alcohol can also prevent the blood from clotting which can lead to bruises or worsen bruising.
In the days leading up to the procedure, you should temporarily stop using skin care products with ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, and retinol. These strong skin care products can leave skin in a weakened state, potentially leading to complications during your injection and recovery.
Hair removal should also be avoided during this time as it too can leave skin in a suboptimal state for injection. Avoid shaving, waxing, epilating, and lasering the area where Botox is to be injected for at least a few days prior to your appointment.
On the day of the treatment
On the day of your appointment, the area where the injection will be made needs to be completely clean. The injection site should be free of any makeup, sunscreen, or creams to help avoid irritation or infection. That said, following your Botox injection a good foundation can help keep any bruising hidden until it has properly healed.
Prior to injection, be sure to speak thoroughly with your injector about your aesthetic goals and expectations. It’s essential that you are open and honest with your injector about your goals so they know exactly where to place injections and how much Botox to use. A simple conversation can avoid disappointment in underwhelming results or the “frozen face” look sometimes associated with Botox.
Your injector should also perform a pre-injection consultation. This step allows your doctor to inspect how your face naturally moves, allowing them to adjust treatment to meet your needs. This can include narrowing in on where injections should be made to effectively target problem areas and getting a better sense of the amount of Botox needed to correct the issue that you are experiencing.
Extra Tips for Botox Success
Additional steps can be taken to help with your comfort and satisfaction during and following injection. Making small changes to your routine can make a noticeable difference to your Botox experience.
During injections, some mild discomfort is very common. Applying ice to the injection site immediately before or after the injection can help to reduce this pain.
You can also minimize any pain by taking over-the-counter pain medication before your injections. Be sure that the medication you choose is not a blood thinner. Speaking with a pharmacist and your injector can help to assure that you choose the right pain medication. Acetaminophen, also known under the brand name Tylenol, is often considered to be the perfect pain management tool for Botox injections because it is one of the few easily available options that does not encourage blood thinning.
On the day of your injection, eating properly can help to minimize your risk of feeling lightheaded during or after injection. Eating a full and well-balanced meal an hour before heading to your appointment can go a long way towards increasing your comfort.
Avoid making any plans for a day or so after the procedure. It’s a good idea to keep this time for yourself, no meetings or important events. While Botox is often considered a lunchtime procedure with zero downtime, there is still a healing process following injection. The first 24 hours after the procedure should be primarily dedicated to rest. Keeping your schedule clear can be a good way to help you get the relaxation needed for a proper recovery.
- Hamman, M. S., & Goldman, M. P. (2013). Minimizing bruising following fillers and other cosmetic injectables. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 6(8), 16–18. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3760599
- King M. (2017). The Management of Bruising following Nonsurgical Cosmetic Treatment. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 10(2), E1–E4. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5367875
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Acetaminophen (2019) pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Acetaminophen
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Antioxidants (2013) nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants/introduction
- What Is Anti-Clotting Medication and How Is It Used Safely? (2014) ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279433