How to Prepare for Botox: Expert Tips and Guidelines for a Safe and Effective Treatment

November 22, 2022
Reading Time: 8 mins
a collage showing how to prepare for botox at the Cleveland Bodytonic medspa

Everything you need to know to guarantee the best results from your Botox treatment

Even if you’ve not yet had Botox yourself, chances are you already know a lot about what this famous treatment is capable of.

In case you don’t, here’s the short version: 

Not only does Botox eliminate wrinkles, prevent new ones from forming, and generally keep us looking younger and fresher-faced for longer… it’s also a fast, pain-free, non-invasive procedure that you can literally do on your lunch break. 

Plus, it’s safe, inexpensive, has minimal side effects (if done properly), and a whole lot more... 

If you want to know everything there is to know about the many benefits of Botox, check out this blog post. 

However, we know that the end result is only the half of it. 

No matter how safe it is, we know that getting any kind of cosmetic treatment for the first time can be nerve-wracking. So even if you’re already sold on the “why”, you probably still have a number of questions about the “how” – in particular, if there’s any important advice you need to know before you go for your first Botox treatment. 

The good news is that side effects from Botox are very rare. Bruising is a common point of concern, and even this side effect is rare – however, it is possible, so if you understand what’s likely to cause it, you’ll be better prepared to avoid it. 

So, here’s everything you need to know about how to prepare for Botox – to make sure it’s right for you, guarantee the best results, minimize any risk of bruising or other side effects, and calm any wracked nerves. 

Preparing for Botox – Tips for the week before your treatment

Knowing what to do and what “not” to do before your Botox treatment will not only help ensure you’ll enjoy the best results – it will also help you to avoid any annoying or unsightly side effects such as bruising or swelling. 

And the good news is, it’s all easy stuff. 

Here are the top things to consider when you’re getting ready for your Botox treatment.

Have an in-depth and honest consultation

Prior to your first Botox treatment (and any other cosmetic treatment) you should always have an in-depth consultation. This is so you can check it’s the right treatment for you, as well as ensure you’re a suitable candidate. Botox is suited to most people, but not all – or not 100% of the time – so it’s important to tell your practitioner everything.

To make sure you’re a good candidate for Botox, be completely open and honest about your medical status and lifestyle, including:

  • medical history and any current illnesses
  • medications you’re taking (including natural supplements)
  • any allergies
  • any previous skin concerns, infections, or irritations
  • if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive
  • if you’ve had or are planning any other skin treatments
  • if you’re a smoker or have respiratory conditions
  • anything else you might be asked...

And to make sure Botox is the right treatment for you, be completely open and honest about your skin concerns, goals, and expectations.

Use this consultation as an opportunity to ask all the questions you have – and remember, there are no wrong questions when it comes to ensuring a treatment is right for you!

If there’s one core piece of advice on how to prepare for Botox, a full and frank consultation would be it.

Stay hydrated

Water is ALWAYS a good thing – it plumpens and hydrates the skin, flushes out toxins, and is generally just good news for your skin and body. Hydrated skin also naturally looks more radiant and youthful.

However, if you need another reason to drink more water, then here it is: if your skin is fully hydrated, the results of your Botox treatment will be even better. So, get drinking! 

And remember, Botox is non-surgical, so you can drink water right up until the moment of your treatment. 

On that same “hydrated” note – also try to avoid caffeine and other foods or drinks that have a tendency to dehydrate, ideally for at least 24 hours before your Botox treatment. Basically – the more hydrated your skin, the better.

Cut out alcohol (and cigarettes)

Alcohol is a blood thinner and a dehydrator, which means you’ll be more likely to experience bruising and swelling around the injection site if you’ve been drinking in the run-up to your appointment. 

Ideally, try and avoid alcohol for a full week before your Botox injections, but at the very least for 24–48 hours. 

Smoking also increases the risk of bruising and slows down healing due to the reduced blood flow it causes, so limiting cigarettes is also a good idea.

Stop taking certain medications and supplements

Anti-inflammatories, blood thinners, and antioxidants can all cause the blood to thin and increase the fragility of blood vessels, which means that there’s a greater chance of experiencing bruising and swelling after a Botox injection.

Even though Botox is minimally invasive, any time a needle is administered into skin there is a chance that it will cause bruising. Bruising happens when a needle catches a blood vessel, and more-fragile vessels with thinner blood are far more likely to leak below the skin’s surface, causing a reddish/purple bruise. 
For a week before your Botox treatment it’s therefore best to avoid (or stop taking) certain medicines and supplements, in particular:

  • Aspirin 
  • Ibuprofin
  • Blood thinners
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Allergy meds
  • Sleeping aids
  • Ginseng
  • Fish or Omega-3 oils
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Vitamin E
  • Ginkgo Biloba

But remember – if you’re taking any doctor-prescribed medications, make sure you discuss it with your doctor before you stop taking them for any length of time at all.

Avoid certain foods, and eat more of others

Just as with medications, there are certain foods that will make bruising more likely… and others that will help your system to prevent it! 

Try to avoid: garlic, green tea, cinnamon, ginger, multivitamins, and fish oil.

And try to eat more: Vitamin K (kale, swiss chard, broccoli, spinach, leafy greens, etc), and pineapple.

Cleanse and look after your skin

Your skin needs to be completely free of any dirt, cosmetics, or moisturizers before your treatment, to avoid any risk of infection. Your practitioner will clean and disinfect your skin with medical alcohol before the treatment, but you should arrive with as clean a face as possible. 

You should also avoid anything that could irritate your skin in the days before your appointment — such as harsh exfoliating treatments, facial waxing, chemical peels, excessive sun, or anything else that might irritate or imbalance your skin’s natural pH level.

Use Arnica cream

Arnica is a natural herb that is known for its ability to reduce bruising and swelling, and is frequently recommended as means of preventing potential bruising from Botox. 

So in preparation for your Botox injections, it’s a good idea to apply Arnica cream to your face in the days leading up to your appointment. 

Plan your Botox treatment around your schedule

You can normally carry on your normal daily activities straight after your Botox treatment, but for your first time especially you might want to plan it for a time when you can go straight home to rest and pamper yourself afterwards.

There are also usually minimal (or zero) side-effects, especially if you follow all the advice above, but bruising and swelling can still sometimes occur so it’s worth having your appointment at least a couple of weeks before any big event such as a wedding, birthday, or important meeting. Considering it takes a few weeks for the best results to show, it’s also worth planning your appointments with that in mind, too.

Post-Botox Preparations – What to do “after” your treatment

Preparing for your Botox treatment in the week or days before is important, but you need to know what you can and can’t do after your treatment as well, so you can also plan for that. 

Here’s what you need to know:

No exercise, bending over, or lying down

You need to give the Botox time to settle into place and take effect properly, which means you need to be careful about exercise and movement after your treatment if you want the best results.

Both the physical movement of your body, plus the increased blood flow, blood pressure, and sweating that comes with exercise, can either cause the Botox to move before it’s properly settled, or increase swelling or bruising. 

You should wait at least 24 hours before doing any kind of exercise, and at least 4 hours before anything even moderate – including bending over or lying down.

No rubbing or massaging the face for at least 24 hours

Just as you need to be mindful of exercise and movement, you also shouldn’t touch, massage, or rub your face for a least a day – which means it’s also recommended to avoid wearing make-up during this period. 

Touching your face can cause the Botox to move from its intended site, moving to other muscles and potentially numbing them too. So for optimal results, try to keep your hands and make-up brushes away from your face for a full 24 hours.

- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heat

To prevent bruising and swelling – just as in the run-up to your Botox treatment, and for the exact same reasons – you should avoid alcohol and cigarettes for at least a few days after your appointment, or until any bruising or swelling has gone down. 

Staying out of the sun and avoiding exposure to extreme heat, such as in saunas, is also recommended as UV rays and sweat can both lead to increased bruising. 

What results to expect after your Botox treatment

Immediately after the treatment, it’s normal to experience a little tenderness and swelling, and some small red dots or bumps at the injection site, but these normally go away within a couple of hours. 

You’ll then normally start to notice the results of your Botox treatment – i.e. diminshing fine lines, wrinkles, and crows feet – a few days after your treatment, with the optimal results coming after about 10 days to 2 weeks and lasting for around 4 months. 
And that’s about it! There’s next to no risk from Botox, so long as it’s done by a qualified practitioner, and if you follow all of our advice on how to prepare for your Botox treatment, you should be able to avoid the most common yet non-serious side effect: bruising.

how to prepare for botox treatment

Book a Botox consultation today

Our first piece of advice on preparing for Botox was to have an in-depth, honest consultation. And that really is the best advice we can give.
Taking the time to talk through your skin concerns and goals with a talented practitioner means you’ll receive the best advice, the best treatment plan tailored to your needs, and the opportunity to ask every question you might have.

If you’re in the Cleveland area, we’d love to see you at BodyTonic Med Spas for an in-depth, completely free and no-obligation consultation. Let’s get you ready and prepared for your first Botox treatment!

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