6 Common Questions About Botox, Answered by a Dermatologist

How long does it take for Botox to work
Credit: D. Schwarzburg / Wiki Commons

If you’ve considered getting Botox, have you ever wondered how long it takes for Botox to work? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to turn back the clock on your skin a little bit, and Botox has become an increasingly popular method of doing so. In fact, a study from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that Botox injections were the most popular non-invasive cosmetic procedure last year, with 4.4 million procedures performed in 2020. 

The injectable treatment is mostly used to address fine lines and wrinkles, with some commonly treated areas being the forehead, frown lines around the mouth, and crow’s feet around the eyes. In recent years, a lot of celebrities have opened up about using Botox; many of them have even come clean about why they stopped getting the treatment. “Fifty-five and smiling from the inside out…finally back to the original 1964,” Yolanda Hadid wrote in an Instagram caption in January of 2019.

“Living in a body free of breast implants, fillers, botox, extensions, and all the bullshit I thought I needed in order to keep up with what society conditioned me to believe what a sexy woman should look like until the toxicity of it all almost killed me,” she continued. Stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Kidman have also opened up about their decisions to stop undergoing Botox injections.

Despite the growing ubiquity of Botox, there are still a lot of gaps in our general knowledge about the procedure, what it does, and how it works. Some might not be able to distinguish between Botox and filler. Rather than plump up the skin with collagen, as fillers do, Botox actually blocks the nerve signals to the muscle in which it is injected so that the muscle isn’t able to contract. As a result, the look of fine lines and wrinkles is diminished. Some commonly known types of botulinum toxin type A injections include Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeuveau (via the American Society of Plastic Surgeons).

In addition to questions surrounding the procedure itself, those curious about Botox might also be wondering about the recovery process as well as its long-term effects. To address some of the most commonly asked questions about Botox, we spoke with New York City dermatologist Dr. Hadley King to clear some things up.

How long does it take for Botox to work? (And other Botox-related questions)

How long does Botox last after you receive it?

Dr. Hadley King: Neuromodulators (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, Jeuveau) last an average of three months.

How long does it take for Botox to work? 

Dr. King: You will notice some effect in five to seven days, but the full effect may take 10-14 days.

Does Botox make you look older after it wears off?

Dr. King: No. You will never be worse off for having tried neuromodulators, they are just buying you time.

Does Botox stop working after a while (AKA, can someone ever become immune to Botox?)?

Dr. King: Rarely, one can develop antibodies to neuromodulators, and this would make them less effective. This is a rare event.

Is Botox more effective the more you get it?

Dr. King: For some people, if they are getting neuromodulators regularly, the muscles atrophy over time, and also they may get out of the habit of using the muscles—these effects can then help the neuromodulator effects last longer.

What are some other uses for Botox, besides helping with wrinkles?

Dr. King: Neuromodulators can also be used for treating the masseter muscles for TMJ, and for decreasing hyperhidrosis in the armpits.

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