Botox is a popular cosmetic treatment for smoothing wrinkles, but it could also be used to treat medical conditions like migraine. No matter what you’re using Botox for, there are a few key Botox aftercare tips that could help prevent bruising and ensure you’re getting the results that are right for you. Here’s how it’s done.

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Botox is actually a blanket term used for different preparations of the botulinum toxin. If used improperly, it can be incredibly dangerous. Why? Because this toxin works by blocking nerve functions.

That’s bad news if you consume a lot of it, but could be helpful in small, diluted doses for certain muscular conditions. Physicians can inject Botox to paralyze certain muscles and block misfiring nerves. The effects may last up to a year.

It’s also widely used in aesthetic medicine because it can help relax underlying muscles to enable a smoother, more “youthful” appearance. It’s been used like this for nearly 30 years, quickly becoming one of the most popular nonsurgical procedures in the United States.

Medical uses for Botox

Botox is commonly known as a cosmetic procedure, but it was developed as a medical treatment and it’s still FDA-approved for conditions like:

Cosmetic uses for Botox

Botox could be an effective way to tackle facial wrinkles. The FDA has only approved it for use around the eyes and forehead, but it’s also commonly used to treat the chin and mouth area.

The Botox procedure is usually quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive. Here’s what to expect.

How does a Botox procedure work?

Before you get your treatment, it’s a good idea to avoid alcohol for the week leading up to it. You should also avoid taking anti-inflammatory meds or aspirin for 2 weeks prior. This helps prevent bruising.

When you sit down to get Botox, the clinician will dissolve a tiny amount of powdered botulinum toxin into saline (a mixture of salt and water). They’ll then clean the area before injecting a very thin needle. You won’t need any anesthetic for this treatment.

You might be asked to move some or all of the muscles being injected to help the clinician locate them. A typical Botox session takes about 10 minutes, but it might take longer if the procedure is covering a larger area.

The potential side effects of Botox

Botox is generally considered safe if the procedure is done by a qualified, experienced professional. It’s important to research ahead of time to make sure your chosen clinician is up to the task. The most common short-term side effects can include:

  • flu symptoms
  • headaches
  • bruising and swelling around the injections
  • drooping eyelids or eyebrows
  • a crooked, lopsided smile
  • drooling
  • dry eyes or overactive tear ducts

Keep in mind that you won’t see your desired results immediately after your Botox treatment. It can take a few days for the benefits to start showing up. Within 2 or 3 weeks after the procedure, you should be experiencing the full effects.

But these benefits won’t be permanent. These effects typically last 3 to 4 months, and you should wait a few months longer before getting it done again. Using Botox injections too often can lessen or stop their effects altogether.

Botox is a minimally invasive procedure, so you won’t have to deal with much downtime. However, there are some aftercare tips you can follow that may help the injections work at peak effectiveness.

1. Don’t strain yourself

Give your new injections enough time to work. Strenuous activity, including exercise, can cause the Botox to spread to unintended areas, which reduces the benefits you’ll get in the intended area.

Wait 4 hours before you engage in light activities like jogging or gentle yoga. Give it a full 24 hours before you go back to your normal exercise routine.

2. Keep the pressure off

Leave the affected area alone as much as possible for 1 to 3 days after your treatment. Avoid massages, as well as tight clothing or headwear, which might risk dislodging the injections. If you can manage it, try not to sleep on the affected areas, either.

3. Ease up on the booze

You’ll be asked to avoid alcohol before your treatment, but you’ll also want to give it 24 hours after Botox before you drink alcohol again. Alcohol has an anti-inflammatory effect, which thins your blood and can lead to bruising around the affected areas. The same goes for over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen.

4. Give your skin a break

Skin treatments that target the same areas as your Botox can dislodge the injections before they set into your muscles. You should try to avoid facials, exfoliating scrubs, dermal fillers, and similar procedures for at least 24 hours. Don’t worry, it’ll give people more of a chance to notice and appreciate your Botox.

5. Stay out of the sun

Vampires know a thing or two about staying eternally youthful. Direct sunlight raises your blood pressure and flushes your skin. This can cause bruising around your injected area.

Shun the light of day for 48 hours after your procedure. The same goes for tanning beds, saunas, hot tubs, and overly hot baths.

6. Listen to your doctor

Finally, check with your doctor to find out if there are any other guidelines you should be following. For example, if you’re currently taking any meds for unrelated conditions, ask your clinician if they might affect your Botox aftercare. Do this even if the meds don’t affect the areas which you’ve had injected. It’s better to be safe.

In rare cases, the toxins in your Botox injection could spread to unintended areas of your body. Some side effects could indicate a medical emergency. Talk with a medical professional immediately if you notice any of these symptoms during the first few weeks after having your procedure done:

  • slurred speech
  • difficulty swallowing
  • trouble breathing
  • inability to control your bladder
  • weak muscles
  • blurred or unclear vision

Botox is a popular medical and cosmetic treatment thanks to its fast and effective results. Be sure to give it time to work and follow any of your doctor’s instructions. With the right aftercare, you could enjoy all of its benefits with no bruising.