The Risks and Side Effects of Botox



Botox (Photo credit: AJC1)

There’s a lot of hype about the many benefits of Botox. Despite being one of the safest non-surgical cosmetic treatments, Botox still has a few side effects and risks. As with any cosmetic procedure, whether it is hair transplant surgery to stop hair loss, a breast augmentation, rhinoplasty or Botox, it is essential to do your research before making the decision to go ahead. Here are some of the risks and side effects associated with Botox. It is important to be aware that the side effects of Botox can vary depending on the site of the injection.

Wrinkle Treatments

Botox is most commonly used a wrinkle treatment these days. When injected around the eyes and the mouth, the possible side effects include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Headaches
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding

These are minor and normal side effects that come with most injections and subside in a few hours to a few days.

More serious side effects include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Respiratory infection
  • Temporary drooping of the treated muscles

These symptoms are rarer but they do happen to some patients. The drooping of the muscles is to be expected if your skin and muscle tone isn’t at its best. It will go back to normal in a few days in most cases.

Other Treatments

If you are getting a Botox treatment for migraine, excessive sweating or muscle spasms, the following side effects may potentially appear:

  • Skin infection
  • Allergic reaction
  • Back or neck pain
  • Fever
  • Pharyngitis

Not everyone gets those side effects, but they still can appear. As with the wrinkle treatments, those side effects usually disappear within a day or two of the injection.

What to Do in Case of a Serious Side Effect

If the side effects do not disappear within a day or two or if you feel like you have an adverse reaction to the injection, contact your provider immediately. He or she will evaluate your situation and advise you on the best way to deal with the problem.

How to Reduce the Risk of Side Effects

There are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of Botox side effects. First, make sure your provider is a trained, trusted and reliable practitioner; plastic surgeons usually receive the best training and are the most specialized doctors for Botox.

Avoid “Botox parties” where no health professional is present; be wary of “specials” by chains of clinics who only want to have a high patient turnover. Make sure to discuss your health history with your doctor freely and openly, as some medication can counteract or react negatively with Botox.

Be aware that the toxin involved in a Botox treatment builds up antibodies in your system. The more treatments you have, the less effective they will be. There are also no studies about the neurological and physical long-term effects of Botox injections, and some neurologists have expressed concern about its effects on the brain, muscles and nervous system.

Just like with any cosmetic procedure, whether it is non-surgical or surgical, getting Botox injections implies knowledge and acceptance of the different risks and side effects. No medical intervention is without risk and the best candidates are those who maintain a realistic outlook on the treatment.