Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, FAAD, Chief Medical Officer at Ideal Image
“How long does Botox last?”
That’s a common question we get when consulting with a patient new to Botox, and an important one to explain so that patients understand what to expect, and so that Botox treatments can be strategically scheduled around special events.
In general, the answer to the question is 3-4 months. There are several factors that impact this timeline – some of these variables are in our control, while others are not – let’s dive in!
The wrinkles we are treating with Botox result from our most common facial movements – smiling, frowning, grimacing, etc. Botox works by blocking the signal from the nerves to the muscles that make those movements, softening the appearance of fine lines and, when used regularly, proactively decreasing the formation of new wrinkles over time.
Our muscle memory connected to these facial expressions will fade with decreased activity, which is why the more frequently you have Botox injections, the longer the effect can last between sessions. I see this all the time with my pregnant and nursing moms who are pleasantly surprised by smooth complexions even though they are lapsing on their treatments.
Your unique body chemistry will process Botox on its own timeframe. When it comes to Botox, chances are it’s the only time you may be wishing for a slower metabolism! Lifestyle choices that impact the speed of your metabolism can impact how quickly, or slowly, you metabolize Botox. For example, if you’re hitting the gym hardcore 7 days a week you may notice that your Botox wears off more quickly.
Quality > Quantity
Botox is sensitive to heat and time, which is why at Ideal Image we feel strongly that you receive our injections in our safe, sterile and carefully managed offices and avoid the “Botox Parties” at your friend’s kitchen island. Furthermore, at Ideal Image your care is always in the hands of a highly trained injector – and together quality of product and injector will get you optimal results. The most skilled injectors target your muscles with strategic and precise placement and dosage.
Your Botox treatment must be tailored to your facial anatomy and your muscles’ specific level of activity and strength. Larger muscle groups, like a stronger forehead, will require more units of Botox to be effective, while the glabella or “bunny lines” between the eyebrows will require less.
One common misconception is that the effects of Botox will just “poof” be gone at the 3-4 month mark. The reality is that the effects wear off gradually and you will start to see movement of the treated muscles slowly come back over time. By 3-4 months, you will likely see that the majority, if not all, of the effects are gone and will be ready for another treatment.
Seek the Shade
Sun protection may help your Botox last longer, and it will help you maintain healthy skin. Sun damage is one of the most preventable causes of wrinkles and early signs of aging. As always, I recommend wearing a daily broad-spectrum SPF of at least 30. For extended periods of time outside, be sure you reapply every 2 hours (and immediately after swimming).
Zinc and Zoom
While they aren’t large studies, some research indicates that regularly taking a Zinc supplement after your Botox treatment may prolong its effects. And when it comes to Zoom, yes, it’s less of a threat than basking in the sunlight, but the blue light emitted from your computer screen may also contribute to new signs of aging, so I recommend starting your skincare with an antioxidant serum and finishing it with a physical SPF of at least 30.
Summary from Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, FAAD, Chief Medical Officer at Ideal Image
In summary, everyone metabolizes the effects of Botox at a slightly different rate, and the process is gradual. I typically recommend treating 4 weeks before a big event or special occasion. This allows the Botox to settle in (up to 2 weeks) and allows us time to tweak any imbalances if needed. Planning ahead will also time your event to the peak of the treatment’s effectiveness. On the backend, after a few treatments you will start to know when to expect your treatment to wear off so you can plan ahead for your next visit!