Having Botox injections is a quick, relatively painless process – but, if you want to ensure you get the best results from your procedure, there’s a few things you shouldn’t do in the hours that follow if you want to avoid bruising or, ending up with one brow higher (or one eyelid lower) than the other.
The problem is, you might not have thought to ask your injector about the rules for Botox aftercare during your appointment – and now you’re at home wondering whether you can have a shower after Botox, when you can have a drink after Botox – and what time you have to stay up until to make sure it’s safe for you to sleep after Botox.
So, we’ve rounded up all your questions and asked the experts to create the definitive guide to FAQS of what not to do after Botox.
Why Do You Need to Be Careful After Botox
There’s two main reasons. ‘Bruising is the main potential side effect of having Botox and if you do something that increases circulation to the area then this could increase the amount of bruising or swelling at the injection site,’ explains registered cosmetic nurse Katherine Russo, who works at Cosmetic Avenue, an award-winning aesthetic clinic in Melbourne.
Oh, and if you do bruise easily you’re going to want to read our post on how to deal with bruising after Botox once you’ve finished this one.
The other thing you don’t want to happen is for the Botox to move. Botox works by blocking signals send by nerves that tell muscles to contract. This causes those muscles – and the wrinkles associated ith them to relax.
Your injector will therefore place Botox carefully so it only affects the muscles causing your wrinkles. If something causes it to spread outside this area you could end up with one brow higher than the other, or a droopy eyelid.
What Not to Do After Botox – and What’s Okay
These are the most common questions asked about Botox aftercare.
When Can I Lie Down After Botox?
You shouldn’t lie down in the first 4-6 hours after having Botox as this can cause the Botox to shift. Particularly concerning is lying face down – so, definitely do not book a massage straight after your Botox appointment!
How Should I Sleep After Botox?
If at least four – but ideally six – hours have passed between your jabs and your bedtime you shouldn’t have any problems sleeping normally after Botox.
‘It’s a myth that you have to sleep upright in the nights after having Botox,’ says Dr David Jack who practices in London’s Harley Street.
Can I Bend Forward After Botox?
‘You shouldn’t bend forward in a way that might cause blood to rush to the face within six hours of having Botox,’ says Dr Josh Wall, cosmetic doctor and Medical Director at Contour Clinics in Five Dock Sydney.
This means no headstands or downward dogs in yoga – and best avoid the Bend and Snap for a bit too.
See more on the rules on post-Botox bending here.
Can I Wash My Face After Botox?
Ideally you shouldn’t touch your face at all for 4-6 hours after Botox and that includes washing it.
‘When you do wash your face you might want to avoid submerging it in very hot water which can increase circulation and may encourage bruising,’ says Katherine Russo.
That night, either skip your cleanse, tone and moisturise routine or or apply it very, very lightly.
Can You Get a Facial After Botox?
Not for a while is the short answer!
Most facials will either include a direct facial massage, or will use circulation boosting techniques like exfoliation or massaging in serums and creams – and London-based aesthetic doctor Dr Sophie Shotter suggests that her patients avoid any kind of facial massage for a week after treatment as the deeper movements that come with massage can move the Botox around. ‘I’d also suggest being careful with how you apply skincare yourself for a week as well,’ she advises.
The ban on facial massage after Botox also means no jade rollers, no dermarollers and no gua sha for at least a week either.
When Can I Drink Wine After Botox?
‘Alcohol can thin the blood and also increase the circulation both of which can increase your risk of bruising – not to mention if you drink too much you might break some of the other rules,’ says Katherine Russo. ‘Avoid it for 24 hours after your appointment.’
See more about alcohol and Botox here.
When Can I Exercise After Botox?
The quick answer is wait a day.
You shouldn’t do any strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours after Botox. ‘It’s not likely that this will move the Botox, but it can increase bruising,’ says Dr David Jack.
For more advice on exercise after Botox including specific tips on swimming, yoga and weights – and whether working out causes your Botox to wear off faster, have a look at our longer post on exercise after Botox.
Can You Smoke After Botox?
‘You can smoke after Botox, my patients have never had an issue with smoking or vaping,’ says Katherine Russo. ‘If we have injected the lip area there may be a small risk of infection.’
Of course there’s a whole longer-term argument for not smoking after Botox considering that smoking rapidly ages the skin and that it particularly causes the development of feathery lines around the mouth which you can’t easily Botox away. But we’re guessing you already know that.
Can I Go In a Steam Room or Sauna?
‘They increase circulation and raise your blood pressure – and that can increase the chance of bruising,’ says Dr Sophie Shotter.
Stay away from intense sources of heat – including direct sunlight – for at least 24 hours after Botox.
The same rules apply for going in a hot tub after Botox – wait at least 24 hours before getting in.
Can You Wear Make Up After Botox?
It’s best avoided for the 4-6 hours after treatment. If you need to dab on a little concealer to hide any red marks, do it very, very gently.
For more advice on covering up any bruises after botox, have a look at our guide here.
If you do apply other make-up be careful. I’ve fallen foul of this one. I had my Botox done, went to the bathroom, brushed my brows back on – and then wiped off a stray bit.
Three months I walked around with one brow higher than the other!!
It’s also a good idea to wash all your brushes and sponges before you use them post Botox. The injection holes for Botox are tiny, but you still don’t want any bugs getting into them.
Can You Take Ibuprofen After Botox?
Ibuprofen can thin the blood and so it’s possible that it might make bruising after Botox a bit worse. The same rules apply to aspirin.
Obviously if you’ve got a terrible headache, or you need to take aspirin for any kind of medical reason, then a little bit of bruising is a small price to pay to keep taking your medication.
Oh and if you do get a headache DO NOT massage your temples to try and get rid of it.
If you do take a tablet and are a bit concerned about bruising, you’ll also find a few tips on ways to avoid bruising after Botox in this piece.
Can You Shower After Botox?
‘Yes, but ideally keep the water lukewarm and don’t get your face hot. ‘Heat will cause vasodilation and you might end up with bruising. Heat can also cause Botox to migrate and this may become a problem if it moves to another muscle and causes droop,’ says Katherine Russo.
Can I Fly After Botox?
Flying does some strange things to the body – but, it’s not been proven that it directly affects Botox.
Just watch the timing of things like falling asleep on the plane, or rubbing in moisturiser to stop your face feeling dry – or that glass of fizz on take off, if you’ve had your jabs done very close to your trip.
However, because Botox takes at least a week to show effects if you’re getting jabbed ready for your holiday it’s best to have your jabs at least two weeks before you fly to make sure you have best results.
Which brings us nicely to…
Can I Go In the Sun After Botox?
Direct sunlight is best avoided for at least 24 hours after your jabs because of all the risks associated with heat that we’ve already spoken about.
Also, because you shouldn’t rub your face it’s going to be difficult to apply sunscreen properly for a few days so, you’re better off trying to keep your skin the shade.
Get your hat with the biggest brim out!
Just as with smoking, I’m sure we don’t need to remind you that sun exposure ages skin, which kind of defeats the point of having the Botox jabs.
Can You Drink Coffee After Botox?
‘Have a coffee before, during or after your Botox appointment it won’t be an issue,’ says Katherine Russo. ‘Some say coffee in high doses can make bruising worse but I have not had a problem with it.’
Can You Smile or Frown After Botox?
Moving your face normally won’t cause the Botox to migrate.
In fact, you should move your face as normally as possible in the hours after treatment as it actually helps get the Botox into the muscles where it needs to work.
What to Expect After Botox
So there you have it – all the questions, we think about what not to do after Botox, but if we have forgotten something drop a note in the comments and we’ll ask one of the experts for their advice.
But before we go, we’ll also just talk a little bit about what to expect after Botox because again, you might be wondering if things are normal or not.
You might see red dots on your skin – that’s just where the needle went in. There might also be a little bit of blood, if it bothers you gently remove it with a bit of damp cotton wool remembering not to scrub at it – but ideally, just leave it until at least six hours after the jabs went in.
If bruising is going to happen, it’ll probably be noticeable soon after your treatment. Personally I’ve never had a bruise from Botox – although I’ve had some fabulous ones from fillers (see a picture in this piece on bruising after fillers)!!
Some of the common side effects that can happen after a Botox treatment include tiredness and a bit of a headache. A few hours after your treatment, or the day after, you might also notice your forehead feels a bit heavy – that’s just things getting to work (I actually find the feeling kind of relaxing).
Remember, do not massage your temples to get rid of any headache or that heavy feeling.
Most side effects associated with Botox are mild, and complications are rare, but the Mayo Clinic say to speak to a doctor if you notice problems swallowing, breathlessness, problems with your bladder or muscle weakness in the hours or days after Botox.
As to when will you start to notice your lines disappear. It’s not immediate. You’ll see things start to soften within 2-3 days and things reach full strength within 14 days.
If at this point you’re not happy with anything, go back to your injector and have a chat as they might be able to modify things.
The effects of the Botox will last 3-6 months – different people metabolise it at different rates. Personally I always wait for mine to wear off fully before I go for any more, otherwise you start to lose a little bit of perspective on what you actually look like and that’s when you can start to look overdone and a bit fake.
What To Read Next
There’s also a few things you might not want to do before Botox like drinking alcohol or taking aspirin you might want to look into for next time – and in this post, we cover a few questions you might want to ask your injector that can help you get better results.
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.