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How Long Does It Take Botox to Work?

Botulinum toxintreatment is a popular anti-wrinkle treatment. This article discusses how botulinum toxin injections work, the duration of time it takes to work, and the pros and cons of using it.

Nonsurgical cosmetic procedures are becoming popular, with over 10 million clients receiving them for different reasons. Botulinum toxin injection is the most common anti-wrinkle treatment used by clients. It is used for cosmetic purposes to help smooth out facial wrinkles and achieve a refreshed look. However, botulinum toxin injection used in smaller doses is safe and effective. Unlike dermal filler treatments, botulinum toxininjection results do not show immediately. It may take a few days after the procedure to show the effects. However, patients should adhere to aftercare instructions for smooth progress and optimal results.

What Is Botulinum Toxin Injection?        

Botulinum toxin is a drug used to temporarily relax muscle cells and help minimize the appearance of wrinkles such as smile lines, forehead wrinkles, and other types of facial creases. Botulinum toxin is a highly toxic substance. According to Dutta et al. (2016),a single gram of botulinum toxin kills over one million people if evenly dispersed and inhaled. However, botulinum toxin treatment is safe and effective in smaller doses. Botulinum toxin injection is used as an anti-wrinkle treatment. It can also treat various medical conditions, especially those linked to the neuromuscular system.

How Does Botulinum Toxin Injection Work?    

Botulinum toxin  is a neurotoxin. A neurotoxin substance primarily acts on the nervous system. Luvisetto (2020) suggested that botulinum toxin treatment disrupts the function of the neuromuscular system by blocking nerve signals and stimulating muscle contraction. The study above also showed that botulinum toxin treatmentcauses temporal muscle cell relaxation, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. The treatment stops the release of acetylcholine, a chemical substance responsible for muscle contraction. As a result, the muscle becomes less stiff and more relaxed until the botulinum toxininjection starts to wear off.

How Long Does It Take Botulinum Toxin Injectionto Work?

Song et al. (2019) stated that the effects of botulinum toxin treatmenttake 3 to 5 days, although it varies in patients. This may be due to factors such as the severity of wrinkles, metabolism, and age. Besides, botulinum toxin injections take time before being fully absorbed in the nerve terminals to inhibit the release of acetylcholine.

Uses of Botulinum Toxin Treatment

Botulinum toxin treatment is commonly used for cosmetic purposes. According to Kroumpouzos et al. (2021), botulinum toxin treatment helps reduces smile lines, glabellar wrinkles, deep horizontal lines (forehead wrinkles), and wrinkles around your eyes and mouth. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Botulinum toxininjection as a temporary cosmetic treatment for severe frown lines, crow’s feet, glabellar lines, and deep forehead lines in adults.

Botulinum toxin injection is also used in healthcare facilities to treat various health conditions. Padda &Taddi (2021) outlined some FDA-approved medical uses of botulinum toxin treatments. They include:

  • Overactive bladder symptoms
  • Chronic migraine
  • Cervical dystonia
  • Eyelid spasms
  • Extreme underarm sweating
  • Crossed eyes and others.

Some patients also receive botulinum toxin injections for unapproved medical uses. Lewandowski et al. (2022) listed some off-label uses of botulinum toxin treatments. They include:

  • Annal fissure
  • Rosacea
  • Plaque psoriasis
  • Hailey-Hailey disease
  • Androgenetic alopecia and others.

Pros and Cons of Botox


  • Botulinum toxin treatment is FDA-approved.
  • The procedure is quick and minimally invasive.
  • There is no downtime needed after the procedure.
  • The treatment is not permanent;Clients can decide whether or not to continue with it.
  • Botulinum toxin treatment can be used for other medical conditions.


  • Patients may need more touch-up treatments to achieve the desired effects.
  • Clients can lose facial expressions if botulinum toxin treatment is poorly done.
  • Botulinum toxin injections are temporary. Patientsshould schedule more treatment sessions to maintain their appearance for a long time. Besides, the treatment may be costly because patients pay for every session.

Aftercare Tips for Botulinum Toxin Treatment 

Avoid Intense Workouts and Strenuous Activities

Patients should avoid strenuous physical activity or high-intensity exercise, increasing blood pressure and heart rate. This could spread the injectable to unwanted areas and lower its effectiveness. Escuder& Hunter (2019) suggested that patients wait at least 24 hours after receiving botulinum toxin injection before doing heavy duties.

Avoid Excessive Sunlight Exposure and Other Forms of Heat

According to Martin et al. (2021), patients should not expose themselves to sunlight for at least 4 to 5 hours after receiving botulinum toxin injections. UV radiations are detrimental and may increase bruising on the injected area. Patients should wear high-SPF sunscreen whenever they go outside to protecttheir skin against harmful sun rays. Patients should avoid the intense heat, such as saunas, tanning beds, hot tubs, and hot showers. They may reduce the effectiveness of botulinum toxin treatment and minimize its longevity.

Minimize Pressure on the Injected Site

Nestor et al. (2021) suggested that patients avoid touching or massaging the injected area for at least 3 to 5 days to allow the anti-wrinkle treatment to set in. Patients should avoid massaging for a few weeks until the injectable settles completely.

Other Things to Do/Not Do After Botulinum Toxin Treatment

  • Patients should sleep on their backs for the first night after botulinum toxin injections.
  • Patients should apply topical arnica cream before and after the procedure to reduce the risks of bruising and swelling.
  • Clients should avoid other aesthetic treatments for at least a week.
  • Clients should avoid alcohol and other blood-thinning substances such as ibuprofen and aspirin.

Frequently Asked Questions about Botox

How Long Do Botulinum Toxin Injections Last?

Sayed et al. (2021) claimed that the results of botulinum toxin treatments last up to 3 to 4 months. Patients should follow a cosmetic doctor’s aftercare instructions to maximize the longevity of a botulinum toxin treatment.

Can I Get Botulinum Toxin Treatment  While Pregnant?

There are still no formal studies indicating the efficacy of botulinum toxin injections on pregnant clients. Its safety and dangers during pregnancy are still unknown. It is better to assume botulinum toxin treatments until pregnancy and breastfeeding are over to avoid possible detrimental effects on the fetus.

Where Can I Get Botox?

Clients can get botulinum toxin injections from any aesthetic clinic near them. The procedure is performed by a board-certified aesthetician practitioner orcosmetic doctor to minimize the severity of possible side effects.


Botulinum toxin treatment takes time before it starts showing effects on the skin. The injectable takes 3 to 5 days to work and show its effects. Botulinum toxin treatments may begin working for some patients after 7 to 14 days, depending on factors such as metabolism, age, and the intensity of wrinkles. Although no downtime is needed after the injection, patients should follow a cosmetic doctor’s aftercare instructions to minimize the severity of possible side effects. Before getting botulinum toxin treatment, patients should know the cost, potential risks, and other considerations.Clients should schedule more sessions with their cosmetic doctors to maintain the effects for a long time.


Comella, C., Ferreira, J. J., Pain, E., Azoulai, M., & Om, S. (2021). Patient Perspectives: The Therapeutic Profile Of Botulinum Neurotoxin Type A In Cervical Dystonia. Journal Of Neurology, 268(3), 903-912.

Dutta, S. R., Passi, D., Singh, M., Singh, P., Sharma, S., & Sharma, A. (2016). Botulinum Toxin The Poison That Heals: A Brief Review. National Journal Of Maxillofacial Surgery, 7(1), 10.

Kwon, K. H., Shin, K. S., Yeon, S. H., & Kwon, D. G. (2019). Application Of Botulinum Toxin In Maxillofacial Field: Part II. Wrinkles, Intraoral Ulcer, And Cranio-Maxillofacial Pain. Maxillofacial Plastic And Reconstructive Surgery, 41(1), 1-15.

Lewandowski, M., Świerczewska, Z., &Amp; Barańska-Rybak, W. (2022). Off-Label Use Of Botulinum Toxin In Dermatology—Current State Of The Art. Molecules, 27(10).

Nestor, M. S., Han, H., Gade, A., Fischer, D., Saban, Y., &Polselli, R. (2021). Botulinum Toxin–Induced Blepharoptosis: Anatomy, Etiology, Prevention, And Therapeutic Options. Journal Of Cosmetic Dermatology, 20(10), 3133-3146.

Padda, I. S., &Amp; Tadi, P. (2021). Botulinum Toxin. In Statpearls [Internet]. Statpearls Publishing.

Park, M. Y., &Amp; Ahn, K. Y. (2021). Scientific Review Of The Aesthetic Uses Of Botulinum Toxin Type A. Archives Of Craniofacial Surgery, 22(1), 1.

Sayed, K. S., Hegazy, R., Gawdat, H. I., Abdel Hay, R. M., Ahmed, M. M., Mohammed, F. N., … & Fahim, A. (2021). The Efficacy Of Intradermal Injections Of Botulinum Toxin In The Management Of Enlarged Facial Pores And Seborrhea: A Split Face-Controlled Study. Journal Of Dermatological Treatment, 32(7), 771-777.

Song, S., Lee, Y. H., Hong, J. P., & Oh, T. S. (2018). Safety, Efficacy, And Onset Of A Novel Botulinum Toxin Type A (Nabota) For The Treatment Of Glabellar Frown Lines: A Single-Arm, Prospective, Phase 4 Clinical Study. Archives Of Craniofacial Surgery, 19(3), 168.

Nataly Komova