As far as aesthetic medicine treatments go, Botox, along with hyaluronic acid facial fillers, continues to rank among the least invasive. Application techniques are improving, and these procedures are becoming less cumbersome to undergo. So, perhaps you’ve decided the time has come. But what about preparing for these procedures? And what can you expect post-treatment? To optimize both the safety and the results of the treatment, follow these recommendations for what to do before and after receiving dermal fillers or Botox.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR BOTOX TREATMENT
Botox is the commercial name with which botulinum toxin type A became popular. It’s a safe and effective way to correct wrinkles that occur when exercising the facial muscles, for example, the wrinkles that form on the forehead, between the eyebrows, or around the lips from repeatedly making the same facial expressions.
The pre-procedure instructions from dermatologists typically say to:
- Avoid certain drugs — it’s important that in the days prior to your appointment, you don’t take medications that affect coagulation. Examples would be aspirin, antiplatelet drugs, also known as blood thinners, and NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Ibuprofen. Having these in your system increases the likelihood of bruising at the injection site. If it’s absolutely necessary that you take one of these drugs, be sure to inform your doctor that you’re doing so.
- Avoid some supplements and vitamins in large doses — things like vitamin E, ginkgo biloba, omega-3, and, believe it or not, garlic, consumed in large amounts, can have a blood-thinning effect and also lead to bruising.
- Avoid alcohol — consuming alcohol right before receiving the injections can also make bruising more likely, so avoid it for a week before getting Botox.
- Avoid anything that will make your skin more sensitive — avoid getting too much sun or a beauty treatment right before your appointment as the doctor may find it more difficult to inject sunburned, peeling, or freshly waxed skin.
WHAT TO DO AFTER HAVING A BOTOX TREATMENT
After your treatment, follow these simple guidelines:
- Avoid massaging the treated area for 24 hours — your instinct when you have something new on your face is to touch it, but don’t. Anything that alters Botox’s placement can cause it to spread and lead to effects like drooping eyebrows. And be careful how you position Ray-ban sunglasses and safety helmets so you don’t squeeze the treated area.
- Don’t lie down until after four hours have passed — the first day, if possible, sleep on your back with your head elevated.
- Avoid postures in which your head might be upside down — this includes washing your hair if you will have to flip your head over to do it or practicing certain yoga positions.
- Skip intense exercise — take a day or two off from the gym.
- Avoid direct sources of heat — wait to use saunas and heated pools.
- Skip makeup and other parts of your skincare routine like facials until two days after getting the injections — for facial cleaning, choose the gentlest product you can find.
- Refrain from drinking alcohol for the first 24 to 48 hours.
- Use a sunscreen with a high SPF, for example Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen With Broad Spectrum SPF 70.
- Take acetaminophen rather than anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen for any discomfort.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR DERMAL FILLER TREATMENT
There are different types of facial fillers that can restore volume, improve contours, and make your face look rejuvenated. The most common kind is based on hyaluronic acid, but your doctor will decide which is the most appropriate for your anatomy and needs. But for all fillers regardless of the substance they’re made from, follow these recommendations:
- Do not drink alcohol the day of the procedure or the day before.
- To prevent bruising, for three days before the injections, don’t take aspirin or NSAIDs. Avoid anticoagulant drugs, if you can.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure in the days leading up to the appointment.
- Fillers around the lips might trigger an outbreak of herpes simplex in those with a history of recurrent cold sores. Inform the practitioner and she can prescribe a preventative antiviral.
- Creams and topical skincare products with retinol and glycolic acid should be skipped in favor of gentle moisturizers.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A DERMAL FILLER TREATMENT
Aftercare when receiving facial fillers can consist of:
- Not pressing or touching the treated area for at least six hours after treatment.
- Using ice to reduce any swelling.
- Keeping the treated area clean.
- Avoiding direct sunlight for the rest of the day.
- Skipping alcohol for a day or two.
- Avoiding intense physical exercise for 24 hours.
- Sleeping on your back as opposed to your stomach for the next few days, and doing so with your head slightly elevated to help the swelling go down.
- Avoiding steam baths and saunas for one week.
- Not using creams or cosmetic products with retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids until the next day.
- Not applying makeup to the treated zone for at least a few hours, and it’s best not to schedule big events for that evening, or preferably for that week.
Specific tips for filler injected in or near the lips include:
- Not scheduling dental procedures for two weeks following the injections to avoid the possibility of moving the filler.
- Not making exaggerated facial expressions or eating solid foods that require excessive movement of the lips and jaw until the following day.
- Not smoking for a few days after the procedure (or forever, if possible!).
Along with these indications, there are habits that, ideally, we could incorporate into our daily routines and not just follow after dermal filler injections:
- Use sun protection — a high percentage of skin problems, including aging, derive from lack of sunscreen use. UVA and UVB rays also cause pigmentation issues like spots and even serious problems like melanomas.
- Get enough sleep — it’s rejuvenating and will help with any discomfort you may feel post-treatment.
CHECK THE FOLLOWING BEFORE GETTING BOTOX AND DERMAL FILLERS
Although in the hands of trained professionals these are safe treatments, they are not good options for anyone who:
- Is pregnant or breastfeeding
- Is allergic to botulinum toxin or any of the ingredients in any of the various facial fillers
- Suffers from a neuromuscular disease or lacks tone in the muscles to be injected
- Has an autoimmune disease or is otherwise immunosuppressed
These are general pre- and post-procedure guidelines, but with her expertise and knowledge of your specific case, your doctor will have the final say on the best instructions for your comfort and success.