If you’re having Botox, your injector may tell you not to bend over after treatment – but why is this, how long do you have to stay upright – and what counts as bending? Can you tie a shoe, pick up a sock? And what happens if you forget? We asked all these questions to an expert…
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Why Shouldn’t You Bend Over After Botox?
Botox works by blocking the release of a chemical called acetylcholine, which causes your muscles to contract.
When acetylcholine can’t do its job the muscles stay relaxed and that, in turn, relaxes wrinkles caused by muscular tension like crow’s feet and the ’11’ lines between your brows.
For this to happen properly, the Botox needs to be in the right area. ‘but bending too far, too long, could potentially spread the toxin further than the intended area,’ says Dr Josh Wall from Contour Clinics in Five Dock, Sydney.
This could mean one of two things – less Botox goes into the nerve junctions which means you don’t get as an effective relaxation of the right muscle, or, rarely, that some sneaks into the wrong area which might lead to relaxing of the wrong muscle. Neither of these is going to create your desired result.
The other possibility, according to Dr Wall, is that, because bending forward (or backwards) can cause blood to rush to the face, you might also increase your risk of bruising.
As we explained in our in depth piece on Botox and bruising, you want to keep your circulation nice and steady in the 24 hours after Botox.
But What Do We Mean by Bending?
Can you tie a shoe, pick up something you dropped – pet your puppy? What actually classes as bending over after Botox?
‘Look, spending a few seconds to pick up an object or tie a shoelace isn’t going to be such an issue,’ says Dr Wall. ‘However, repeated or longer sessions of bending movements where blood rushes to the face, such as those in strength or cardio exercises, Pilates, yoga, stretches or other physical movement routines, can be a risk for causing the anti-wrinkle product to migrate.’
Ideally you should wait 24 hours to do any kind of workout after Botox anywa, but definitely off the menu during that time are moves like downward dog, headstands, crab pose, cartwheels or touching your toes.
How Long Does This Last For?
‘The biggest time for concern is the six hours after treatment, but generally, be sensible for around 24 hours,’ says Dr Wall
This doesn’t mean you need to leave everything on the floor for a day, just slightly adapt your posture when you do need to bend forward.
‘If you’re bending with your knees but keeping your shoulders and head still relatively forward-facing (as opposed to facing the floor) then you won’t have caused blood to flow to your face and therefore your anti-wrinkle product won’t have cause to move around. Name of the game: keep your head above your heart,’ says Dr Wall.
Can I Lean Back After Botox?
Admittedly you’ve got to be super bendy to tip your head below your heart when bending backwards, but, if you are flexible enough to get into a crab position – or are practising for championship limbo, then the answer is no.
The same risks apply when bending forward or backwards!
What About Bending After Dysport, Xeomin etc?
They all use variations of the botulinum toxin that’s the active ingredient in Botox and so work in the same way.
Because of that the same rules apply.
Too Late – I Bent After Botox – Now What?
‘There’s no cause for major concern; it just means that the effectiveness of your treatment may be compromised, as the anti-wrinkle product you’ve paid to be applied to a specific spot may have travelled and affected unnecessary areas,’ says Dr Wall.
Most of the time, you’re not going to notice too much of a difference after this happens – except you might find the effect is not as strong as you might have hoped because not as much went into the right nerve junctions to trigger optimum muscle relaxation.
Very occasionally misplaced Botox might cause a heavy brow or eyelid droop. If this happens, then go back to see your injector as they might be able to work on an opposing muscle to straighten things out.
If you find you’ve bruised more than normal, again, don’t worry – a Botox bruise will only last a few days and they’re easily disguised with a camouflage concealer like Dermablend.
The Thing It’s Even More Important to Avoid
Dr Wall, and most of the other aestheticians we’ve asked in our series on things to avoid after Botox are more worried about lying face down after Botox, or massaging the areas, than they are about a brief lean forward.
‘It’s recommended that you try not to sleep on the treated area, as this will cause pressure to the injection site. Avoid sleeping in general for at least four hours after the procedure,’ says Dr Wall. And never book a back massage straight after Botox.
If you have any more questions please let us know in the comments, or let us know if you’ve bent over after Botox and whether anything untoward happened if you did.
And if you want to know more about what you need to avoid after Botox, you’ll find our comprehensive cheat sheet here.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster, and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail, and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.