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Can You Work Out After Getting Botox

People all over the world get Botox done for a variety of reasons. For one, it is the most popular minimally invasive cosmetic procedure; people get Botox to achieve a look of flawless, lineless, wrinkle-free skin, mainly around the eyes, forehead, and mouth. Others are more interested in botulinum toxin for therapeutic reasons; it can help relax certain muscles, leading to pain relief for those with particular conditions. With neurotoxin being so attractive to so many, you would think that the aftercare would be common knowledge. However, many patients are still unsure about what exactly they can and cannot do after getting botulinum toxin injections. One huge question is: can I work out after Botox?

Whether you pump iron at the gym or jog down your block, exercise is a major part of many peoples’ routines, and they are hesitant to skip out on it. Others are just worried about doing the wrong thing after their procedures and want to make sure they have all the information they need. In either case, look no further: we are here to tell you what to avoid after getting your wrinkle relaxer injections, and what you are free to do (here’s a spoiler: you can still do most things right away!) We will also be going over how getting this medication will affect your exercise routine, and why it’s important to be cautious for a bit following a Botox session.

before and after results following completion of Botox treatment for forehead wrinkles
32 year old female 2 weeks after getting 20 units of Botox to eliminate horizontal forehead lines

Do Certain Exercises Improve the Effects of Botox?

The answer to this is: yes and no. A lot of doctors actually recommend that you do some facial exercises after your treatment. Some claim it can help the botulinum toxin work better. When doing facial exercises, you shouldn’t touch or put pressure on your face – however, altering your expression is thought by many to be a great way to improve the results of muscle numbing injections. Such exercises include frowning, smiling, scowling, raising and lowering your eyebrows, squinting, and generally making silly facial expressions (all while avoiding overly straining your facial muscles, that is).

A 2018 study actually found that there could be evidence-based benefits to facial exercise following Botox that go beyond just conventional wisdom. In the study, women who did three sets of 40 facial exercise repetitions with 10 minute rests in between after their treatment found that their wrinkles improved quicker than those who did not by about a day or two. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that it will make your face look better or be more effective in the long term, it’s good news for those who are hoping to see results faster after their treatment.

That being said, such facial exercises aren’t exactly necessary. Whether they are actually beneficial to the longterm results is still up for debate. Some people swear by facial yoga and want to continue it to boost the results of their cosmetic treatments. While this is generally harmless, it’s also important that you don’t overdo it. You should also remember that there is still evidence needed to back up such practices, and they may not actually produce the results you want. It is more important to note that you should avoid massaging or anything else that involves a lot of contact right after getting your neurotoxin injections.

results showing complete elimination of periorbital Crows feet after injecting 20 units of Botox
29 year old patient demonstrating complete resolution of periorbital Crow’s feet wrinkles after administration of 20 units of Botox

What Kind of Side Effects May I Deal With After A Botox Treatment?

If you’ve got your appointment coming up, you probably want to know what your life will look like after. Returning back to your regular schedule has more to do with just what the doctor orders; if you feel in any way uncomfortable or in pain, it can drive you away from wanting to do things, despite them technically being approved. Fortunately, neuromodulator treatment mostly comes with few risks and temporary side effects. But it’s important to educate yourself about the possible side effects of any treatment so that you can be prepared for the possible aftermath – and so that you can ease your mind in case you are nervous.

When it comes to neurotoxin injections, most patients find it to be a fairly tolerable procedure, to the point where it is even used for non-aesthetic, therapeutic purposes in order to relieve strain and pain for people. Chronic migraines, overactive bladders, and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) can all be soothed using this drug. Because of this, it is considered a fairly safe course of action.

There are some transient, or benign side effects. These are fairly minimal, short-lived, and resolve on their own. These include edema (swelling), ecchymosis (bruising), erythema (redness), hypesthesia (numbness), and pain at the site of injection. Even these temporary risks are low. To give you an idea of their prevalence: mild bruising is experienced by around 11% to 25% of patients. All of these side effects are a result of the insertion of the needle, not the botulinum toxin itself. They are similar to the kind of reaction you might expect after getting a shot at the doctor’s office. After a couple days, you can expect these side effects to disappear on their own. Another seemingly random side effect can be skin dryness – this is likely due to the inhibition of sweat glands in the treated area.

Headaches can also occur in some patients who have had a facial injection. Usually this is a short-lived effect resulting from an initial muscle spasm upon injection, the needle hitting the periosteum, or stress about the procedure. In 1% of patients, headaches can be severe..

There are some other adverse effects that can arise mainly from improper placement of the muscle inactivating medication, that occur mainly because of botulinum toxin diffusion. These can be functional or aesthetic in nature. For example, blepharoptosis (or the ptosis of the upper eyelid) affects between 1% and 5% of patients. This occurs when the eyelid droops after a forehead injection; fortunately, it is usually temporary. Some people who get neurotoxin in the zygomaticus major (around the area of nasolabial folds) can also experience lip ptosis; this leads to an awkward, asymmetrical smile when the procedure didn’t go properly.

Dysphagia, allergic reactions, and muscle weakness are some of the more prominent of these. In case you don’t know, dysphagia is difficulty in swallowing; this can happen when it is injected around the neck and diffuses to affect the wrong muscles. This can last a few weeks and can not only be disruptive, but dangerous to your everyday life, as it makes eating and drinking difficult. Another serious side effect is botulism, meaning muscle weakness or nerve injury. This can be accompanied with dizziness, fatigue, headaches, or other disorienting symptoms.

While most side effects are temporary, there are certain signs that may warrant a call or even visit to your doctor. If you begin feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheaded, notice a rash, hives, or blistering at the injection sight, or experience difficulty breathing, these are all reasons to seek medical attention. Increasing swelling that doesn’t subside, as well as droopy eyes, double vision, or weakness in the muscles can also be a cause for concern.

31 year old patient demonstrating complete resolution of frown lines between the eyebrows after administration of 20 units of botox
31 year old patient post 20 units of Botox treatment to relax frown lines between eyebrows
results after botox treatment for frown lines between eyebrows
38 year old woman 3 weeks after getting Botox procedure to treat vertical wrinkles between eyebrows

What Aftercare Is Recommended Post-Treatment for Botox?

While we’re settling the question over post-Botox workouts, this is a perfect time to go over some of the things you can personally do to ensure your best treatment results. In terms of the treatment itself, it is usually as simple as getting the injection and going home. That’s part of the reason so many people swear by this procedure and get it done so regularly: it is largely undisruptive to their daily lives. However, apart from keeping the area sanitized, there are some small things that can help properly maintain the positive effects and prevent any unwanted effects.

If you’re the kind of person who wants to jet to the gym after getting your wrinkle relaxer, maybe think twice. This is the perfect time to be especially gentle with yourself. You can take some time to relax; if you’re an avid exerciser but you have a rest day or two each week, consider taking that rest on the day of your neuromodulator treatment. This will give you time to recover and avoid any physical stress in the area. By staying calm and avoiding stress, you will allow the injection site to heal and help the botulinum toxin to stay in place.

It is generally recommended to leave your treated area alone. That means no excessive rubbing, touching, or pressing against the targeted region. Putting pressure on certain areas can cause the drug to migrate, decreasing its efficacy and increasing the risk of ptosis in other locations. The area may also be especially sensitive after the procedure, so you will probably be more comfortable leaving it alone, anyway. If you are experiencing pain, you can gently place a cool compress on the area – don’t push or press against it, though, and be sure to be careful and never make direct contact between ice and skin.

Being gentle to your skin also includes being mindful of any beauty treatments you do after your treatment. Carefully and lightly washing your face in the evening is fine; you can also delicately apply moisturizer and sunscreen as usual. However, don’t be quick to hop back to the spa or cosmetic studio. Anything from exfoliating scrubs to facials, as well as other cosmetic treatments like fillers or facial massage, should be avoided for at least 48 hours. If you’re planning on getting different treatments done in preparation for a big event, take all of this rest time into account. In that sort of case, you also want to remember that some visual side effects, like bruising or redness, can take a few days to fade after your botulinum toxin appointment.

Finally, if you received facial injections, you can do slow and gentle facial exercises – as long they don’t include touching your face. Some light changes in facial expression may actually help the results settle faster. Don’t overdo, though – the rule of thumb is always to be extra cautious and gentle. Keep in mind, all of these are pointers to get you the best result and minimize any unwanted side effects. In general, Botox is a quick and easy procedure after which you can return to your life without an extensive recovery time or complicated aftercare procedure.

How Long After Getting Botox Should I Wait Before Going to the Gym?

Maintaining an active lifestyle can be difficult. It can take a while to get into the habit of regularly going to the gym, yoga studio, or out for a run – whatever workout you usually do, it’s probably something that has become a huge part of your normal routine. For those of us who are athletically inclined, we might not want to take extensive breaks from that active habit. For others, you may be in the process of completely turning your life around. Along with boosting your confidence through certain procedures, you may also be planning on getting a new gym membership. Maybe you are getting the neurotoxin for a medical reason to relieve chronic pain that you also receive specialized physical therapy for. In that case, there’s no need to worry – there is in fact a short period of time in which you should avoid exercise after getting Botox, but it does not interfere with your life the same way that, say, plastic surgery would. While a single injection session does not stop you from immediately returning to most of your regular schedule, you will want to wait between 48 hours to a week after your treatment before hitting the treadmill (or any other exercise equipment). And here’s why.

When you get moving, your heart pumps faster, and your blood circulation is increased. This blood flow may cause the unintended consequence of spreading the botulinum toxin to areas it wasn’t meant to be. For one thing, this can mean that you won’t actually see the effects you want. The effectiveness of the drug in the actual intended area will not be as significant or concentrated. On the other hand, toxin diffusion can also lead to ptosis in certain areas; that means a drooping eyebrow or asymmetrical smile as certain muscles are affected.

In general, it is recommended to avoid too much movement after the procedure. You want to try to move your head as little as possible for the rest of the day – once again, to prevent the migration of botulinum toxin. That means that even easy, seemingly harmless exercises, like stretching, yoga, or pilates, can be a bad idea. Even bending over is a bit risky. Going upside down in any way is something to steer clear of. Movements that make you strain your face – like frowning from concentration, or gritting your teeth while lifting heavy weights – are also best put on the backburner for now.

Exercise also usually comes with a lot of physical contact that is frequently automatic or unavoidable. For example, think about how often you have the urge to wipe away sweat while exercising. You might end up grazing your palm over your cheek, forehead, upper lip, or any other treated area unintentionally. Some sports, like bike riding or football, require headgear. This restrictive headwear is crucial for protecting you from injury when you’re doing these activities – but bad when it comes to recent toxin procedure. Keeping the treated area free from excess pressure or touching is key.

In addition, any kind of exercise opens the door to possible injury. Of course, you can’t avoid any kind of activity for the rest of your life out of worry that you could slip and fall or hit something. But when you’ve just had a neurotoxin treatment, you want to go extra easy on yourself. Colliding a recently treated area with something through force can not only result in worse bruising, but can actually cause botulinum toxin dissolution and give you unsatisfactory results. It’s important to take care of yourself to ensure the most desirable outcome.

What Else Should You Wait to Do After Botox?

Your life can pretty much return to normal after your appointment. There is no prolonged downtime. In most cases, you don’t have to take time off work, cancel plans, or worry about being stuck at home. However, there are some pointers to keep in mind, and some key things to stay away from, at least for a few hours, if you want to be on the safe side.

Be Careful Around Sun and Heat Exposure

You can still go outside after your injection session; a leisurely walk on a cool, cloudy day, for example, is fine. However, heat from the sun can actually make bruising worse. Especially if it’s very hot out and you got your neuromodulator injections, those steamy UV rays can flush your cheeks and elevate your blood pressure. Rigorous outdoor exercise on a hot day is a no-no, given the kind of blood flow increase and stress it would put your skin under. It’s best to keep mostly indoors for a day or two, just in case. Other sources of heat are also best kept at a minimum for the time being; that includes your hotel hot dub, your gym’s sauna, the local tanning bed, or even an extra toasty shower.

Briefly Hold Off On Make-Up

If you have just had treatment done, you are probably excited to immediately show it off. Maybe you have a party planned, a wedding, a date, or just a special dinner with friends. While you are technically free to do all these things, you may want to hold off a day or two if you like to go through a whole beauty routine. The reason? Applying make-up, and other extensive self-grooming or beauty routines, involve a lot of touching and even rubbing of the face. You want to avoid this for 24-48 hours after getting botulinum toxin. You also want to wait a few hours after getting any kind of facial injection before applying make-up, merely to keep the skin sanitized and avoid infection.

Take a Break from Alcohol and Caffeine

Speaking of special events – what about drinking booze? Before and after getting Botox, you should not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours. This is simply because alcohol is a vasodilator; that means it relaxes the blood vessels, which causes bruising to look worse. In general, alcohol can also make your skin look lifeless, dehydrated, and encourage premature aging; if the goal is flawless skin, it’s always a good idea to keep the drinking to a minimum, anyway. Caffeine also has this blood vessel dilating effect. If you have a daily coffee habit, try to put it off for a few days to prevent extra bruising or swelling. Other things to avoid for a few days are any foods that are high in sugar or sodium, as well as cigarettes and spicy foods. 

Wait To Do Any Excessive Movements

In general, a period of around 24-48 hours should be taken to rest and allow the Botox to settle. Some doctors even advise up to a week of being extra gentle. You can still go to work, run errands, or attend social events during this time. You just want to be mindful about moving the affected area – usually the head – around too much. So, aside from going to the gym, other activities that involve a lot of movement and migration are best set aside for the time being. That includes things like rollercoasters, jetskis, horseback riding, snowboarding, even yoga – any activity in which it is difficult to keep your head steady. Luckily, after this period, you can do these things freely again without concern.

Go Easy On the Beauty Treatments

After getting the neurotoxin treatment, it’s best to forgo any other kind of facial beauty treatments at first, although only for a short period. This includes things that you do at home, such as applying tretinoin on the skin; such products tend to cause hypersensitivity in skin and can also often be applied harshly. While some people say that such products don’t interfere with Botox and are safe to be used in conjunction, it’s recommended that you discontinue their use for at least 24 hours to give your skin time to settle and heal. When it comes to other facial aesthetic practices, like waxing, tweezing, threading, getting a facial or receiving a spray tan, you should also wait a few days. You want to avoid anything that will tug, pull, push, or press against the skin for a bit after getting your treatment. Some even caution against wearing shower caps or tying your hair back to tightly – remember that you can never be too gentle!

Does Exercising Help Prevent Wrinkles?

When it comes to its cosmetic applications, most people turn to Botox to get rid of wrinkles. For those who are concerned about their skin texture, they may be taking other extra steps to ensure a youthful look, incorporating different things into their diet, lifestyle, and beauty regime. For you, working out might be a part of this – which may be why you’re eager to jump back into it even right after your session. We’ve gone over how a brief break from the gym will do your skin good when it comes to your post-Botox plan, but how does exercise affect your skin overall? Let’s take a step away for a minute and think about whether or not it can treat wrinkles.

A regular and healthy exercise regime certainly has overall positive effects on your health and can even be anti-aging. Cardio is mainly known for keeping your body – particularly your heart – young and pumping. A study by Brigham Young University revealed that high-intensity runner were biologically younger than people who barely worked out at all. Other aerobic workouts that can have a similar effect include swimming, riding a bicycle, or other kinds of cardio. For something more fun, dance workouts like Zumba can be a great alternative for keeping up your heart rate. When you pick a workout that you enjoy doing, you are more likely to return to it and make it a regular part of your life. You don’t have to become a dedicated runner – even more light exercises done a few times a week are a great way to stay in shape, help your immunity, and put you at lower risk for stroke and heart disease.

But what about your skin specifically? Another fascinating study found that exercise really can help your skin look glowy and youthful for longer. This study showed that people over 40 (both men and women) who made exercise a part of their daily lifestyle had skin that was more similar to people in their 20s and 30s. When you get older, the outer layer of your skin, the stratum corneum, becomes thicker and dryer; meanwhile, the inner layer, or dermis, becomes thinner and more frail. In individuals who frequently exercise, the dermis appears thicker and the stratum corneum is thinner and healthier than in those who don’t. That means stronger and smoother skin.

This same study suggested that working out may even be able to somewhat reverse signs of aging in the skin. Subjects who began exercising only during the study showed younger skin in a matter of months. This may be due to increased levels of certain myokines and substances in the bloodstream that result from exercise. Are a few weeks of exercise enough to completely change the look of your skin and get rid of existing wrinkles? Probably not, at least not in a hugely significant or immediate way – but slightly improved skin can be an added benefit of an overall healthier lifestyle. And it’s never too late to start!

Doing physical exercises, particularly ones you enjoy, can also lower stress levels. Aerobic exercise helps manage the release of adrenaline and cortisol – also known as the stress hormone. It’s no surprise to most that stress is a factor in premature aging; if you have ever seen those pictures of past presidents before-and-after their time in office, you can tell the noticeable toll that just a few years in a high-pressure job can take on the way you look. Stress can increase skin inflammation and quicken the breakdown of vital skin components, like collagen and elastin, over time. It also interferes with the skin’s ability to heal itself. By reducing stress, you can prevent it from having a negative effect on your mood and appearance.

In addition, mood boosters like endorphins are released when you exercise, putting you in a better mood and contributing to a calmer, more positive outlook. Even if you don’t have a ton of time to devote to exercise, an easy stroll for about a half hour each day can do much more than you think. A nice gentle walk in the park is also something you can do for a few days after getting your wrinkle eraser treatment to replace a more rigorous exercise regimen. While working out alone won’t totally transform your skin, it can certainly help slow down the aging process that causes fine lines, creases, and wrinkles in the first place.

What Activities Can I Do After Botox?

While plastic surgery has a reputation for lengthy recovery times and awkward periods of hiding from the social scene, minimally invasive procedures like Botox allow you to skip all that inconvenience. We have covered pretty much everything that you should avoid doing right after getting Botox – when it comes to what you can do, the list goes on and on. Once you have surpassed the short period of being extra gentle on your skin, you can engage with the world around you as you usually would.

Even before that, you are completely free to do most of the things you would usually do; that includes social and professional activities, like heading to the office or going out to dinner. The only thing you want to be mindful of is the slightly swelling or bruising that can occur for a few days post-procedure; if you have a big event coming up that you can’t miss, like a wedding, make sure to get your procedure around two weeks in advance to give these aesthetic side effects time to subside. This will also allow you to get other beauty routines, like facials or make-up applications, done without concern. After you get Botox, you can hop back into life with newfound confidence.

So In Summary – Can I Work Out After Getting Botox?

The simple answer to this question is: not at first. It is recommended that you wait at least 24 hours before exercising after Botox; if you are planning on doing something especially rigorous that involves a lot of movement, you may want to wait up to a week before hitting the gym again. This is to prevent the spreading and dissolution of the botulinum toxin, which can trigger unwanted side effects and reduce the efficacy of the procedure. After all, you want the best outcome from your injections – not exercising for a few days is a small price to pay to get wonderful facial rejuvenating results. In addition, you will want to be extra careful and gentle with the treated area for about 48 hours; that means avoiding anything that puts pressure or stress on that location, such as facials or sleeping on your face.

Other than these small pointers, botulinum toxin does not interfere with your regular schedule. It can be a great way to reduce and prevent wrinkles, as well as treat chronic pain. If you are interesting in scheduling an appointment or consultation for Botox, give us a call at Skinly Aesthetics. Dr. Schwarzburg is a highly trained physician with many years of experience injecting Botox. A qualified and experienced provider is vital when it comes to procedures like Botox to get the look you want and avoid the side effects you don’t. Check out our reviews from many satisfied patients who have found new confidence from smooth and beautiful skin. At our location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, you will receive top notch care when it comes to non-invasive and minimally invasive cosmetic treatments. You can call  212-774-4264 or email at any time to book your session.

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