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Botox Recovery

Botox® is a classic for a reason. It’s cost effective, produces excellent results, and is minimally invasive. So, just how minimal is the recovery? We’ve got the details.

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The Skinny


The ubiquity of Botox® means we all probably know someone who has had an experience with this incredibly popular cosmetic treatment. Botox® is a neurotoxin. When injected, it impairs muscles ability to interpret nerve signals. This interruption in cell signaling creates temporary muscle paralysis that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (like crow’s feet), subtly lifts the brow, alters nose shape, slims the jaw, reduces calf musculature, and combats hyperhidrosis (a.k.a. excessive sweating).

The Specifics


What to Expect During Botox Recovery

Now that we know what Botox® can do, what does it look like to actually have this cosmetic procedure? Botox® is truly the definition of a minimally invasive procedure. Twenty-four hours after your injections, you can expect to be back to pretty much all of your regular activities.

In the minutes and first hour or two following the injections you can expect some mild redness, swelling, and maybe a little bit of achiness or tenderness at the treatment area. These side effects are typically very mild, so, if you’d like to squeeze in your Botox® session during your lunch hour, there’s a high probability no one will notice.

The Ultimate Botox Recovery Timeline

Ok, let’s get into the nitty gritty of Botox® recovery. Below, we’ll look at all the details from before your procedure through when it’s time to schedule your maintenance injections.

  • Pre-Injection

    • In the few days leading up to your treatment, you may want to skip certain supplements (like fish oil, ginseng, garlic, and ginkgo biloba) that are known to increase your chance of bruising.
    • Get your workout in before your Botox® appointment. You’ll want to keep your heart rate and blood pressure down after your injections.
    • Depending on your provider, the treatment area may be numbed with a topical anesthetic to ease discomfort. Other times, a vibrator (yes, you read that correctly) may be employed to minimize pain.

  • Immediately After Your Injection

    • Depending on the location of your Botox® treatment, you will most likely see some tiny pin pricks (akin to bug bite-looking bumps) that may bleed a little bit.
    • You’ll also have some mild redness and a little bit of swelling. Your injector can give you an ice pack that will significantly reduce these side effects within a few minutes. Mild bruising is also possible.
    • You may feel a little bit of tenderness (similar to how your arm feels after a vaccine) for the first few hours.

  • First 24 Hours

    • You can immediately return to work, drive, and go about your day following Botox® injections.
    • Patients are encouraged to keep their head elevated (read: don’t lay down) for the first few hours after treatment to avoid any migration of the product.
    • Exercise, smoking, and NSAIDs (like Tylenol, Advil, or Aspirin) should be avoided for the first 24 hours.
    • Remember not to excessively touch the treated area or apply too much pressure. If you had injections in your facial muscles, try to avoid excessive facial expressions and muscle movement — basically don’t go to your acting class that day.

  • Day 5 to Day 7

    • All bruising and swelling should be resolved.
    • You’ll start to see the results of treatment in the first five to seven days.

  • Day 14

    • Two weeks after going under the needle, you will be enjoying the full effects of your Botox® treatment.

  • 3 Months to 4 Months

    • Generally speaking, Botox® results last 12 to 16 weeks.
    • Maintenance injections are usually performed every three to four months.

Tips to Improve Your Botox Recovery

Now that you know what to expect, let’s look at some ways you can improve your Botox® experience and further minimize your, well, minimal recovery time.

1. Cold Compresses

Icing immediately following your injection will reduce swelling and redness, meaning you can comfortably get back to your daily activities more quickly.

2. Elevate!

Keeping the injected area elevated — whether that means avoiding lying down flat or putting your legs up — keeps blood moving and lessens fluid accumulation that would lead to swelling. It also helps to ensure the product doesn’t migrate out of its intended location. While there is very little risk of this when Botox® is properly prepared and administered, there is no harm in being cautious.

3. Keep Your Heart Rate Down

The first 24 hours after your injections are a time for some self care and R&R. Skipping exercise and avoiding stress will have you looking and feeling as good as new as soon as possible.

Botox Side Effects & Complications

Botox® side effects include swelling, redness, bruising, and some mild tenderness at the injection site. Headaches are also possible. All will resolve within a day or two. Using the tips above will keep these side effects even more mild.

More serious, and less common, complications of Botox® include anaphylactic allergic reaction, muscle paralysis, and difficulty breathing. These complications can be life threatening and require immediate medical attention.

The Takeaway


Whether you're getting Botox® for your facial lines (i.e. crow's feet and frown lines) or on another part of the body, these cosmetic treatments performed by a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist can yield great results with little downtime. Unlike more invasive plastic surgery procedures with weeks or months of recovery time, Botox® treatments have little pain and allow for the resumption of normal activities soon after your treatment session. The only caveat? Factor in 10 to 14 days to see full results.
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AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Luthra, A. “Shaping Lips with Fillers.” J Cutan Aesthet Surg. v.8(3); Jul-Sep 2015.; 2015-07-01
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‘Try on’ aesthetic procedures and instantly visualize possible results with AEDIT and our patented 3D aesthetic simulator.