Despite Botox being a really safe drug and very unlikely to cause any problems, there can be times when something goes wrong. Even in the hands of a skilled practitioner with years of experience, the risks are minimised but never completely disappear. So let’s cover them one at a time.
Bruising or bleeding. It is an injection so there is a small risk of this. However the needles used nowadays are tiny, barely any bigger than the ones used for acupuncture. Most people have no problems and, if any bruising does take place, it can usually be covered with a little foundation or cover stick.
Infection. Again, because a needle is penetrating the skin there is a theoretical risk of this, however, the puncture really is minute and the skin should be cleaned before any treatment.
Headache. This is a bit of an odd one, but we have noticed that some of our patients describe a ‘headache’ or odd sensation when they have their first Botox treatment (or have a very large gap between treatments). This can happen when the forehead area or between the brows is treated. It isn’t really a headache as such, but your brain trying to figure out why the muscles are not moving as much as they were. The good news is this usually only happens first time round and usually disappears after a couple of days.
Too much Botox being used. Overtreatment can lead to that frozen look that none of us aspires to. There is a reduction in the ability of the facial muscles in the treated areas to act in their normal way to show our emotions. Thankfully, most people no longer aspire to this look and a skilled practitioner knows how to avoid it. If it does happen to you then the only cure is time. Gradually the effects will wear off starting after about 6 weeks.
Drooping eyelid or brow. The risks of this are very small if the practitioner knows their anatomy and knows how to assess the face properly prior to the Botox injections. Inexpert placement of the toxin can lead to an eyelid drooping down (also known as ptosis) that can last for many weeks. This can be partially reversed by an expert injector with tiny amounts of precisely placed botox or by using a prescription-only eyedrop that can help open the eyelids a bit more.
Whenever you get a Botox treatment your practitioner should tell you to keep upright for a few hours afterwards to reduce the risk of the toxin drifting away from where it was placed which can also cause asymmetry or lid/brow droop. The same goes for having a facial massage or rubbing the area too vigorously for the first few hours!
Despite all of the above possibilities, Botox remains one of the safest treatment that is offered in aesthetics. Side effects are rare and when they do happen they are temporary, as with everything in life, make sensible choices about who does your treatments and you further reduce the risks of anything untoward happening.