If you’re thinking about having Botox injections, what you do before and afterwards can make a difference to your botox results – particularly how long you wait to exercise after botox – so, what are the rules?
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Why Can’t You Exercise After Botox?
To be honest, some doctors aren’t sure that you can’t…
The Exercise After Botox Myth
‘Although we say to most people to avoid exercise for 24 hours after receiving botulinum toxin, there is very little evidence that exercise impacts botox injections – it’s more just a precaution,’ says Dr David Jack, an Aesthetic Doctor in London’s Harley Street and founder of Dr David Jack skincare.
‘It won’t affect whether or not Botox ‘takes’ and it should not ‘slip’ or ‘move’ from the injection site – when Botox is injected it will diffuse in the tissues within a matter of a few minutes so in reality the amount of time not to exercise is a largely arbitrary figure that isn’t based on any scientific findings.’
However… if you’re now asking ‘can you workout 12 hours after botox then?’ the answer is still no!
While exercise might not cause your botox to slip, to be completely safe, most experts do err on the side of caution after most cosmetic injectables and so suggest you avoid exercise for 24 hours, particularly strenuous activity, after Botox treatments.
‘It less of a concern than it is for those having dermal fillers, where exercise can cause prolonged swelling,’ says Dr Sophie Shotter from Illuminate Skin and Wellness Clinics in Kent. ‘But anything that pushes your body temperature up will also increase your risk of developing a bruise, as increased blood flow and blood pressure makes the blood vessels dilate, so that’s another reason why you should abstain briefly.’
Slow walking after Botox won’t hurt, but take the day off anything else.
What Happens If You Ran After Botox?
If you’re reading this and thinking ‘erm too late now,I just ran after botox!’
If it was more than 24 hours after your treatment, don’t worry about it.
If it was less than that, you might find that you bruise a little worse than before.
The bigger issue might be if you worked out within 4-5 hours and wiped sweat off your face too vigorously, or, scrubbed your face in the shower which might move things around a little.
This could see your botox shifting and might lead to slight change in the results.
If you do end up with one eyebrow noticeably higher, or lower than the other go back and see your cosmetic practitioner as they might be able to adjust things.
What About Yoga or Pilates After Botox?
‘I particularly ask my clients to avoid exercises that involve you lying on your front, or performing yoga inversions like downward dog in the first 24 hours,’ says Dr Shotter.
These could cause the product to migrate and cause unwanted side effects like droopy eyelids.
So wait a day to do yoga or Pilates after botox.
What About Swimming After Botox Injections?
While it might not cause the same rise in body temperature as strenuous exercise out of the water, there’s still a reason why you should wait to swim after botox
And that’s that you should avoid applying pressure to the face for at least four hours after Botox and goggles and tight swimming hats might put pressure in places it doesn’t belong.
Stay out of the pool for 24 hours just in case.
Can You Exercise Before Botox?
‘I would rather my patients did any physical activity before having botox work than afterwards,’ says Dr Shotter. ‘However, exercise does raise blood flow and causes facial redness which can increase your bruising risk.
Still, it shouldn’t be a problem provided you don’t go straight from intense sweaty workout to the aesthetic clinic.
Leave at least one hour before arriving at your appointment.’
But Watch Your Bike Helmet
You might not want to cycle to the appointment though.
Like googles, pressure from a tight bike helmet puts pressure on the face which could possibly see the Botox moving around on the way home.
Facial Exercises After Botox
While it’s not suggested that you move your body or press your face after Botox, moving your facial muscles is sometimes recommended as it seems, facial exercises after botox might help it work a bit faster.
Botox doesn’t show up immediately. It takes a week or so to build up to its full effects which is why you should, ideally, have it done 2-3 weeks before any event you want to look line free for.
If however you are super impatient, a study from Northwestern University in the US found that gently moving the face in the hours after the treatment caused the Botox to kick in about a day earlier.
The moves were fairly simple – the doctors asked people to raise their eyebrows and knit their brows forty times. They repeated this three times in the four hours after treatment.
Ask your doctor what movements might work best for where they place your jabs.
Does Exercise Make Botox Wear Off Sooner?
I first heard about this when I wrote an earlier post on the rules on exercise after fillers.
In this, London aesthetic specialist Dr Ifejome Ejikeme told me that because the body treats the ingredients in fillers the same as it does fat, excessive exercise can cause them to break down a bit faster.
Anecdotally some doctors report the same thing happening to heavy exercisers who have Botox.
While in general, the freezing effects of Botox should last 3-6 months, it might err towards the lower end of that range in the super fit.
So, is there anything you do to prevent this?
How to Make Botox Last Longer
A supplement called Zytaze seems to make Botox last longer.
It’s a mix of zinc and phytase and in a small study by Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, it prolonged the life of Botox by about 30 per cent in 92 per cent of the patients studied.
It works because Botox needs zinc to work and phytase helps stop zinc breaking down in the body. The combination seems to help Botox last longer.
In this study, zinc supplements alone didn’t seem to have the same effect – although I have seen some surgeons suggesting patients try them.
If you’d prefer to just give zinc a go, the dose in Zytaze is 50mg of zinc citrate
I’m a big fan of Solgar products which pride themselves on good bioavailability so you’re not just flushing your money down the drain.
Check Out Dr Talib
Good skincare will always enhance the work of injectables – and I’m a big fan of the work of Dr Nigma Talib who works with celebrities like Sienna Miller (and have you seen her skin lately – it’s incredible).
Ditch the Drink
You might also want to cut back on alcohol. Not only does drinking create free radicals that age skin, according to the theory of Chinese medicine, overloading the liver causes the lines between your brows to be more pronounced.
I know when I take a break from alcohol for a month, I really notice a different here.
If that sounds like some form of torture, check out my Dry January Survival Guide that covers a whole load of tips on how to give up booze for a month without descending into misery.
Or, you could go straight to the book I wrote on that very subject.
Anything Else To Avoid After Botox
‘Saunas,’ says Dr Shotter. ‘They cause increased blood flow and raise body temperature increasing your bruising risk.
People used to worry about the heat denaturing the Botox, but in reality once it has been injected it very quickly binds and therefore shouldn’t be a problem.
Massages, where you lie face down, can also be an issue due to the risk of the product migrating from its injection site if you have it too soon after your Botox treatment.
More of a concern for me is facial massage – professional or at home; these could cause more complications as they can spread the product. I ask patients to wait a week before resuming facial massage.
I also ask them to be gentle massaging in their cleanser and moisturiser for about a week after treatment.’
And, don’t rub your eyebrows before your doctor has even got their next patient comfy yet either! I learned that one the hard way!
Anything Else To Avoid Before Botox?
‘Fish oils, Vitamin E, garlic and gingko can all increase your risk of bruising. Ideally stop these a week beforehand,’ says Dr Shotter.
Dr Jack agrees and adds that if it’s safe for you to do so, you should also avoid too much aspirin or NSAID medications, like ibuprofen for a week before your treatment.
So, there you have it. All the rules about exercising after Botox. Hope it helped clear everything up for you.
If you’re also a fan of other cosmetic procedure, you might want to take a look at our ‘When Can I’ category, which looks at the rules of exercising for procedures like microblading, microdermabrasion and microneedling. You’ll find all the posts 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.