Everything You're Embarrassed to Ask About Botox

Everything You're Embarrassed to Ask About Botox

By this point in time, Botox is widely known to be incredibly effective at reducing wrinkles and fine lines. But here's the thing: the injections aren't exactly cheap, and they aren't a one-and-done procedure, either.

So before you invest in Botox, you may be doing some light math, and asking yourself just how long the injections last so that you can ensure you get your money's worth. We talk about injectibles a lot in our line of work, and what we hear constantly is that people want to know how to extend the time between treatments as long as possible to save money.

For my own interest and yours, I asked around to find out how long Botox lasts and and just how long I can expect my results to linger before it's time for another jab.

What is Botox and How Long Does It Last?

Dr. Stacy Chimento, board certified Miami dermatologist of Riverchase Dermatology, explains that "Botox is a drug that is formulated from a type of bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum." Yes, like botulism; none of us is new here.

She adds that the injections work by stopping your muscles from receiving signals from nerves to inhibit movement, therefore eliminating wrinkles and fine lines that often form as a result of repetitive (think: squinting). After injection, Dr. Chimento says that it typically takes two weeks for the botox to set in. Once it's completely set, she says it can last anywhere from three to six months, though she says most patients can expect it to last around four months.

We previously reported that depending on the doctor, the area being injected, and how much is used, the cost of Botox can range between $280 for horizontal lines or crows feet to $480 for vertical lines, like frown lines.

It's also worth noting that while Botox isn't purely used for cosmetic purposes. Injections in a patient's underarm can decrease hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, and injections in the head and neck can help to relieve migraines, says Dr. Chimento. One InStyle writer got Botox to tackle massive migraine attacks — and it ended up reducing what she referred to as her "resting bitch face."

How Often Do I Have to Get Injections?

So your next question might be, do I have to receive my next treatment right at the four month mark? The answer is it totally depends on your face, your age, and the severity of the condition you're treating, says Dr. Chimento.

"I typically suggest that patients pay attention to where the Botox was administered and take note of when it begins to wear off," she suggests, before adding that she usually recommends that patients come back around the three to four month mark.

What Are Some Ways to Maintain My Botox and Make It Last Longer?

If there is any way to prolong the treatment and make it last longer, I'm more than willing to comply. Dr. Chimento says SPF is your best friend. Of course, you should always, always use sunscreen, Botox or no Botox. But applying SPF can actually make the treatment last longer, because according to Dr. Chimento, UVA and UVB rays from the sun can "penetrate the skin and damage the longevity of your Botox treatment."

She advises to apply an SPF every morning and avoid long periods of sun exposure. Also grab your shades on those sunny days because squinting excessively can cause the treatment to wear off more quickly or even create more lines.

Another thing that can damage the effects of Botox? Like, UVA and UVB rays, free radicals can also penetrate the skin and negatively impact the treatment. Dr. Chimento suggests using an antioxidant serum to "neutralize free radicals" and protect your skin from pollution.

If you're looking for more ways to maintain the treatments, Dr. Chimento recommends looking for products that contain collagen and peptides to "plump" the skin, as well as assist the Botox in working properly for longer periods of time. She likes the SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore ($130; dermstore.com) because it "contains different cellular lipids like ceramides and fatty acids to encourage natural cell reproduction."

Still not sure Botox is your answer? It doesn't have to be. And if you're curious, we have a glossary of all the anti-aging treatments and ingredients you need to know about now, as well as the ONE in-office treatment or take-home product that top dermatologists swear by.

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