Checklist: Botox Do's and Don'ts

Part 6 of 6: What to do before, during, and after Botox |

This is the last part of a 6 part series about Botox on The first five parts discussed what Botox can do for your skin, how much it costs, whether it's safe, what side effects to expect, and what mistakes inexperienced Botox injectors tend to make.

This section is a final checklist for the things you should and shouldn't do before you get Botox, during a Botox treatment, and after you get Botox injections so you can get the absolute best results.

What to do BEFORE Botox

Here are steps you should take to prepare for a Botox treatment so you ensure a good experience:

  1. Select a doctor who knows what he/she is doing - As I've repeatedly emphasized, choosing a board-certified and experienced doctor is very, very important. Good Botox depends on the skill and technique of the Botox injector, so do your research and find a doctor who specializes in facial anatomy and has been successfully administering Botox (with few patient complaints) for several years already. Ideally, get more than one Botox consultation.

  2. Be transparent with your doctor - For your safety, tell your doctor as much about your medical history as possible so he/she can determine whether you are a good candidate to receive cosmetic Botox. Tell your doctor:
    • What medication, supplements, herbs, etc. you are taking
    • What allergies you have
    • If you have any medical conditions, illnesses, or diseases
    • If you have or will have any medical procedures (i.e. recent Botox, surgery, other treatments, etc.)
    • If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to conceive
    • Anything else you can think of
    If this is your first time getting Botox, tell your doctor. Some doctors may be more conservative with first time Botox patients to gauge how the patient will react to the Botox and to give a better long-term result.

  3. Make sure Botox is the right treatment for you - A reputable and experienced Botox injector will know what Botox can do for your skin and what it can't. For instance, you may be better off getting fillers instead of Botox for certain wrinkles on your face, so make sure you and your doctor discuss the best therapy for your skin issues.

  4. Be on the same page as your doctor - Make sure both you and your physician are clear about what facial areas you want to treat, how you ideally want them to be fixed, and what the ideal final result may be. Different people have different aesthetics. For instance, if the "frozen face" look is your doctor's definition of successful Botox but you disagree, you better make sure both of you are aiming for the same target or you'll end up with a result your doctor thinks is beautiful but you think is horrific.

  5. Have realistic expectations about what Botox can do - Botox results can be drastically good, but your post-Botox results may not be as perfect as you expect them to be. Having realistic expectations about your results will save you from unnecessary disappointment.

  6. Stop taking medication that can thin the blood - A week before you get Botox injections, stop taking:
    • Aspirin
    • Ibuprofen, either generic or Advil, Aleve, or Motrin
    • Exedrin
    • St. John's Wart
    • Vitamin E
    • Fish oil or Omega-3s
    • Ginko Bilboa
    • Ginseng
    This will minimize any potential post-Botox bruising. If you have to take pain medication, Tylenol is okay. Also, avoid drinking alcohol a few days before you get Botox.

  7. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Make a list of questions you want to ask your physician and bring it with you to your Botox consultation. That way you won't forget what you want to ask. Ask how much the treatment will cost, how many units of Botox you will need, how long the he/she has been giving Botox injections, etc. Ask about side effects, risks, and how you should take care of your skin after Botox and how often someone with your skin condition should get Botox.

    While you can read about all of this online, it's best to hear it straight from your doctor's mouth. Also, ask about what your doctor will do on the off chance that something goes wrong with your Botox treatment. If you have significant bruising, will he give you a discounted v-beam laser treatment to minimize the bruising? If you end up with Spock brows, will he fix them free of charge? What if your Botox wears off in a week, will he give you an additional touch-up for free? Do not be afraid to ask questions! It's better to have answers before than after.

What to do DURING Botox

What you do during Botox is not as important as what you do before and after Botox, but here are some things you should keep in mind for a good treatment session:

  1. Go au naturel - Your skin will be cleaned with rubbing alcohol or an antiseptic before you get Botox, so feel free to show up to your appointment with nothing on your skin. If you wear makeup, they will take it off anyway.

  2. Stay still but pay attention - If you are afraid of needles, don't make yourself writhe with discomfort by thinking about them. Set your mind on something random, like monkeys juggling pineapples. The Botox will be over before you know it. Stay still but pay attention and follow your doctor's instructions. He/she will tell you to smile, relax, frown, etc. during the injection process.

  3. Use an ice pack - Ice before, during, and after Botox can help reduce any potential signs of bruising.

What to do AFTER Botox

What you do after Botox and how you take care of your skin is very important. Here are some things you should and shouldn't do after getting Botox injections:

  1. Don't touch your skin where the Botox was injected. Avoid rubbing and massaging the treated area for 24 hours because you don't want to make the Botox spread to other unintended muscles.

  2. Avoid strenuous physical activity.

  3. Avoid consuming large amounts of alcohol.

  4. Avoid getting facials, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, etc. for 24 hours.

  5. Avoid taking the blood thinning medications mentioned above.

  6. If you get a Botox bruise, topical vitamin K and arnica can help. Or you can get v-beam, pulsed-dye, or KTP laser treatments to make the bruising go away faster. Green or yellow concealers can also help cover up the bruises.

  7. Go back for touch-ups if you need it or are unsatisfied with your results.

  8. Call your doctor or seek medical attention if you experience any side effects or complications from the Botox treatment.

Taking these measure before, during, and after Botox will help you get both a better Botox experience and better Botox results.

We've reached the end of this section about Botox! Thanks for reading and I hope you learned a lot about Botox. If you choose to get this injectable for your skin, I hope it gives you great results! Feel free to ask questions or share your experience in the comments below.

Last updated: November 15, 2012

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