July 4, 2024 ·  6 min read

14 Things I Wish I Knew Before Botox

Botox is an incredibly popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment with a RealSelf Worth It Rating in the high 90s. It’s no wonder that millions of people in the United States get Botox every year to fight wrinkles as it is affordable and effective. 

Although it’s a well-known and fairly simple treatment, there are some things about Botox you may not know. We relied on the expertise of RealSelf doctors and members to compile this list of 14 things to know before your first Botox treatment.

1. Everyone offers Botox. How do you pick a provider?

When getting Botox, your first inclination might be to contact a plastic surgeon or dermatologist, but you may also see other providers, or even spas, offering the treatment. While Botox injections are relatively simple, the treatment still needs to be done by a trained and experienced medical professional. If the injections are too deep, too low, or in the wrong spot, you could have negative side effects, like a droopy eyelid.

“I once went to a doctor who did this on the side. She was an gynecologist who decided to offer this at her office,” RealSelf member paducahapss wrote in a RealSelf review. “The results there were poor. The dermatologist and plastic surgeon who did these on me were great.”

2. Do your homework.

So how do you find a highly qualified injector with proven results? Research. Start by reading reviews of doctors in your area. When you meet for a consultation, ask to see before and after pictures.

“The risks far outweigh the benefits when price shopping for discount Botox,” New York oculoplastic surgeon Dr. James Gordon said in a RealSelf Q&A. “You should have any procedures performed by a board certified physician who has experience, track record, and a good reputation.”

3. Know how your doctor charges.

The price of Botox can vary dramatically from practice to practice. Some providers charge per unit of Botox. Others charge per treatment area.

Most Botox providers who charge per unit charge between $10 and $20 per unit. The location and experience of your provider will also impact the cost. The average Botox treatment costs $550 based on more than 5,000 RealSelf reviews.

4. What’s it like to get Botox?

The process of getting Botox should be quick and simple. The practitioner will make a few injections in your treatment areas, and you will be on your way.

“I felt nothing more than a prick,” member Mr. Rick said in a RealSelf Review. “Went to work an hour later. Nobody noticed a thing.”

5. Pain, swelling, and bruising.

Many patients report minimal pain. There may be some initial mild redness, swelling, or bruising, which should resolve quickly. The reaction is similar to getting a shot at your general practitioner.

“I had swelling around the injection sites for five minutes, it was totally gone by the time I left the clinic,” member Krystalgem said in a RealSelf Review.

6. What results should you expect?

When done correctly, in injection amount and technique, Botox should give you a more youthful look. Typically, the results take a few days before they start to show.

“Most patients will see the results of their Botox injection begin to appear after three or four days and continue to improve until about two weeks, when the results are at their maximum,” Montreal plastic surgeon Dr. Arie Benchetrit said in a RealSelf Q&A. “The effect will gradually wear off over the next four months or so.”

7. What are the possible side effects?

If injected correctly, most patients don’t have issues beyond minor redness, bruising, or swelling. If injected incorrectly, the Botox can spread too far and impact muscles it wasn’t intended to. That can cause effects like a droopy eyelid.

8. Getting rid of Botox.

If you have a complication from Botox or aren’t happy with your results, you must wait it out. It will wear out, it just takes time. 

“Time and patience,” member Trippy65, wrote in a RealSelf Review. “That’s it in a nutshell. I’m five months post-op and only recently feeling better. No magic cure.”

9. How long does it last?

How long Botox lasts will be different for everyone. It also depends on the areas treated, and how many units were injected. On average, most Botox treatments last between two and six months.

“The average length of time that Botox remains effective is four months,” Dr. Dana Goldberg, a Jupiter, Fla., plastic surgeon said in a RealSelf Q&A. “I have a few patients who swear it wears off after two to three months, and others who see the effect for more like five to six months.”

10. Botox may change more than a few wrinkles.

Botox is known for battling wrinkles, but it could also have some impacts you didn’t expect or desire.

“You relax the muscle in one area and that affects another,” member Amaxy wrote in a RealSelf Review. “My crow’s feet are gone, but my under-eye [area] now has awful bags and wrinkles.”

11. Is it preventative?

Although you may not have wrinkles yet, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider Botox. Starting treatment before wrinkles start forming can limit their development and reduce the treatments needed later.

“Treating wrinkles now helps slow the development of deeper wrinkles in the future, and makes it easier to treat these creases as well,” Toronto plastic surgeon Dr. Jerome Edelstein said in a RealSelf Q&A. “That means you’ll look younger for a longer time.”

12. It’s not only for wrinkles.

Botox can be beneficial for many other issues, including treating muscle spasms, heavy sweating, and migraines.

“More and more uses of Botox are being discovered,” Austin dermatologic surgeon Dr. William Ramsdell said in a RealSelf Q&A. “Botox into back muscles can be quite effective.”

13. Does Botox train your muscles?

With continued and consistent Botox treatments, you could see an increase in longevity. That’s because repeated use can cause a gradual relaxing of the muscles. The less active they are, the less they work to create wrinkles.

“The duration of action for Botox will increase over a period of years after repeated treatment,” Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Young Cho said in a RealSelf Q&A. “This is because the muscles may decrease in caliber after extended periods of inactivity.”

14. Expert tips from long-time Botox fans.

Pick your Botox provider wisely, and make sure they use good quality product. Finding a board-certified plastic surgeon should help.

“I was often surprised to find that sometimes I had great results and other times not so great,” member octonc said in a RealSelf Review. “I have learned that some doctors are better injectors than others, and that fresh Botox is far better than day-old or week-old Botox.”

Disclaimer: This content is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare professional. Your reliance on any information or content provided in the guide is solely at your own risk. You should always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare professional for any questions you have about your own medical condition. RealSelf does not endorse or recommend any specific content, procedure, product, opinion, healthcare professional, or any other material or information in this guide or anywhere on this website.

Written by: Mark.S

This article was originally published on RealSelf