Lately you’ve been feeling insecure and anxious about your appearance.
It’s beginning to feel like life has beaten you down in more ways than one.
When you look in the mirror, you feel like there’s a stranger staring back at you.
You’re finally ready to take action. You’re thinking it’s time to give Botox a try.
You’ve seen the results on your next-door neighbor and your best friend.
You agree that they both look amazing, and you are on pins and needles, no pun intended, about scheduling your consultation.
There’s just one thing holding you back:
You haven’t convinced yourself the results will last as long as you’d like them to.
This guide will cover exactly what science and current Botox patients have to say about its lasting effects.
What Is Botox?
Botox is the clinical name for a toxin produced by the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum.
It is FDA approved, and doctors use it in very small doses to treat a variety of health issues to include:
- Smoothing of facial wrinkles
- Severe underarm sweating
- Chronic migraines
- Overactive bladder
Botox has also been used safely and effectively for over 20 years, to treat ophthalmologic and neurologic disorders.
Botox injections provide an advantage of having a more youthful and pleasant appearance while avoiding surgery and the extensive downtime that follows.
There are also options for the type of injectable that you receive and both provide you with very similar if not identical results.
How Does Botox Work?
Now that you know what it is, let’s talk about what it does.
Botox injections work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by blocking certain nerves.
Think about this:
Every time you smile, laugh or frown you are causing your underlying facial muscles to contract, which therefore results in unwanted wrinkles.
Botox injections into specific areas of your face relax those muscles so that no matter how much you fake smile during visits with your in-laws, your overlying skin will remain just as smooth as you are.
Below are two science based articles that explain more about how Botox works:
Scientific Article 1: Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology
This article states that once Botox is administered into the muscle, it begins to bind the nerve, essentially paralyzing the muscle underneath the skin.
This procedure is reversible and results in reduced facial wrinkles/lines, which are caused by facial muscle contractions, like smiling, laughing or frowning.
“Following the injection, the toxin diffuses into the tissue until it binds selectively and reversibly in the pre- synaptic terminal of the neuromuscular junction and then attaches to the specific protein-membrane responsible for acetylcholine excretion.
The toxin immediately inhibits the release of acetylcholine in the neuromuscular junction causing relaxation of local muscles that is reversible, resulting in reduced facial wrinkles/lines, of which some are due to constant facial muscle contractions.”
Scientific Article 2: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL DERMATOLOGY
This article provides similar information as it explains that your facial muscles become paralyzed and flaccid from the effect the Botox treatment has on the nerves of the muscle fibers.
“Flaccid paralysis results from the denervation of muscle fibers at the neuromuscular junction after botulinum toxin A administration.”
How Long Will Botox Last Vs. How Long Should Botox Last
As with anything in life, nothing lasts forever. As the effect of the injection wears off and muscle action returns, your lines and wrinkles will begin to appear again.
You’re now wondering; how long does Botox take to wear off?
You can expect around month three or four to see a reduced effect of your Botox treatment.
The effects of Botox injections for facial esthetics should typically last four to six months.
When used for things other than facial esthetics, it usually lasts two to three months.
You should keep in mind that many variables could cause your Botox injections to last for a shorter period.
Not only does the efficacy of Botox treatment vary based on the area where it’s injected, but it also depends on the following:
- Your age
- The elasticity of your skin
- Your wrinkle depth & intensity
- Your metabolism
However, with each injection, the efficacy of your Botox treatment is extended.
As stated above, when Botox is injected into the muscle it causes the muscle to relax. When muscles are not in use they become smaller and shorter with time.
Over time you will need fewer Botox treatments to get the same long-lasting results.
One Reddit user states, “Hi! I’ve had two rounds of Botox primarily for the horizontal forehead lines. It’s been wonderful. It usually lasts about five months for me. I’m at the 5-month mark and have a lot of movement but not quite full movement back.”
How Long Does Botox Last First Time Vs. Continuous Usage?
You can expect that your Botox treatment to last up to six months after your first treatment.
Around month three or four, you can expect to have some movement back.
You are likely to see the maximum results of your first treatment from seven days to three to four months after.
It can take this long in first-time users because it takes time for the toxins to block off nerve impulses to the muscle.
It’s not uncommon to not have the desired result that you’d like after your very first treatment. This again depends on the factors we listed above.
The majority of first-time users will return to the medical center where treatment was provided within one to two weeks for a follow-up.
At this point, the doctor can determine if additional treatment is needed.
Here’s some exciting news:
With continuous Botox usage, you can expect to see the maximum results of your treatment extended from three to four months to the full six months.
How Long Does Botox Last In Forehead Compared To Other Parts of the Face?
Forehead Botox treatment is very similar to other parts of the face treated with Botox.
It can last up to six months.
Remember that Botox paralyzes the muscle underneath the skin and restricts its movement; as movement returns to the muscle you will begin to see lines and wrinkles form yet again.
Your forehead typically will have some of the deepest lines and wrinkles on your face and may require a higher number of units of Botox for treatment. However, this does not necessarily increase the length of its effectiveness.
You will notice that with continuous treatments those lines and wrinkles will become less prominent, and you will likely see maximum results of your treatment for about six months.
What Science Says About How Long Botox Lasts
Scientific Article 1: AESTHETIC SURGERY JOURNAL
This article states that the duration of Botox effectiveness varies from patient to patient. There are many factors that come into play:
- Muscle mass
- Type of Botox used
- The volume of the injection
- Positioning of the injection
“Duration of effect is more variable, and is influenced by parameters such as muscle mass (including the effects of age and sex) and type of product used. Even when larger muscles are treated with higher doses of BoNT-A, the duration of effect is still shorter than that for smaller muscles. Muscle injection technique, including dilution of the toxin, the volume of solution injected, and the positioning of the injections, can also have an important influence on onset and duration of activity.”
“In general, some patients are aware of an improvement in wrinkles within 1 day of treatment, and return of muscle function generally seems to occur 3 to 6 months after treatment.Patients who have had multiple treatment sessions may find that the duration of effect becomes longer, thus lengthening the interval between injections.This effect may be related or secondary to muscle atrophy, reducing the number of BoNT-A targets available and so reducing the dose requirements”
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CLINICAL DERMATOLOGY
In this article we find that the lasting effects of Botox injections ranges from three to five months in female in patients and four to six months in males patients.
We also find that some patients had longer durations of effectiveness, and that most patients needed more treatment after six months.
“In these studies, duration of effect ranged from 3 to 5 months in female patients and from 4 to 6 months in male patients. Individual patients had longer durations of response. Across all studies providing relapse rates, most patients relapsed by 6 months. In studies assessing patient satisfaction, satisfaction remained high throughout the duration of the studies ( approximately 4 months). With the Dysport formulation (abobotulinumtoxinA, clostridium botulinum type A toxin-hemagglutinin complex; Ipsen Biopharm Ltd, Wrexham, England), retreatment intervals were estimated at a mean of 3.9 months (median = 3.3 months).”