How Long Does Botox Take To Work?

How Long Does Botox Take To Work

If you are planning for a Botox treatment and are speculative about how long Botox takes to work, know that it depends on the dosage and the area being treated. The results of Botox treatment also depend on the metabolism rate of your body.

What is Botox?

Botox is a cosmetic treatment approved by the FDA. It uses a purified form of botulinum toxin A to improve appearance temporarily. Botulinum toxin A is the same toxin that is used to make Botox injections (1). 

Uses of Botox

Uses of Botox

Botox temporarily reduces the moderate to severe frown lines (horizontal or vertical) between the eyebrows, commonly called glabellar lines. It is injected into muscles and temporarily blocks the signals that cause muscles to contract. This helps to smoothen down the frown lines (glabellar lines) for a period of up to four months (2).

It can be used in adults younger than 65 years of age. In adults who are younger than 65 years, the glabellar lines are associated with corrugator and procerus muscles.

How Does Botox Works? 

How Does Botox Work

Botox is used to get a smooth, more youthful appearance. It is injected into the muscles under the skin to lessen the tension. It functions by temporarily relaxing muscles in the upper face. 

The effect of Botox usually lasts up to 4 months. However, it also depends on the body’s response and the duration since the last treatment. The concentration of the Botox injected and the way it is injected also plays a role in giving the final results.

The higher the dose given in an area, the longer is the effect of Botox on the muscles. A light dose may last only up to 6 to 8 weeks while a heavy dose might last more than six months. Hence, it is essential to set expectations by discussing the desired look, dose, and duration with the dermatologist and a doctor.

The most common area for Botox on the face includes the forehead, between the eyebrows, and around the eyes (commonly called crow’s feet). The finer the lines in these areas, the quicker the results of the Botox treatment. 

If the lines are deeply etched, they take longer to show the results. In general, results are seen early at the corners of the eye and fine lines of the forehead.

Why Does Botox Take Time To Work?

Botox usually takes three days to start working. This is so because Botox needs time to get inside the muscles, bind to the nerves, and block the signal for being sent to the muscles so that they would not contract and be relaxed. 

As the muscles stop contradicting, the lines or wrinkles are released. The blocked nerve impulses hinder wrinkle production, give a smooth skin, and result in an overall improved appearance of the face. 

The time for the Botox treatment to show visible effects varies from person to person, and there is no guarantee that the exact result may come every time it is injected.

As the Botox is injected straight into the muscles, it quickly reaches deep within the hypodermis (the second layer of skin). The binding of neurotoxin to a nerve takes about 1-3 weeks (3).

This largely depends on how quickly your body breaks down Botox after the injection. You may see visible changes within 24 hours of injection, like filling up of improvement lines, like crow’s feet, frown lines, etc. 

However, it will take some weeks for these lines to disappear completely. You may need Botox injections frequently if your body breaks it down quickly, but if your body breaks down Botox slowly, then you may need injections after an interval of a minimum of 4 months.

What Should Be Kept In Mind After Botox Treatment

  • Take good care of the skin. As external compounds have been added to the body, it needs some time to adapt and react accordingly. Hence, it is of utmost importance that skin is taken good care of.
  • The usual recovery time is 24 hours. Take plenty of rest in this duration.
  • Do not exercise strenuously or use hot tubs, sauna baths, or steam rooms for 24 hours.
  • If you notice swelling or bruising, apply warm compresses.
  • Use sunscreen to protect your skin from ultra violet sun radiations.
  • Drink plenty of water to remove toxins from your body.
  • Clean your face with a cleanser at least twice in a day. Dry your face with a soft towel by patting gently.
  • Take a prescribed pain reliever before Botox treatment.
  • Do not expose the treated area to sun for at least the next 24 hours post the procedure.
  • Do not wash your face for 24 hours after the treatment.
  • Avoid using any makeup or moisturiser at least for 24 hours after the treatment on treated areas.
  • Avoid wetting your hair for the next 24 hours.
  • Do not smoke after Botox injection, as it can lead to several adverse effects.
  • Using anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, etc, may lead to reduced effectiveness of Botox therapy. Hence, avoid taking them before the procedure.
  • Avoid massaging the treated area for at least one week after the treatment.
  • Avoid coming directly under the sun and getting tanned for at least six weeks. This can lead to increased risk of bruising or redness.
  • Products like glycolic acid and retinol can cause irritation and redness in the treated area. Avoid their usage.
  • Do not consume alcohol for 24 hours after treatment.

Appearance After Botox Treatment

Once the Botox has been administered and the results have started showing, the treated area appears refreshed and smoother. There might be a slight feeling of heaviness or a minor tight sensation, but it usually subsides within 6-9 days. Once the lines start appearing again, it is time to go for the next dose.


The decision to get Botox treatment should not be taken lightly. It is an elective procedure that comes with risks. However, the process is simple and mostly considered safe. Take an informed decision after knowing the entire procedure, proper dose, ways of administration, risks associated, and the timeline to meet the needs. 

The timeline for desired results usually depends on all the other factors like dose, depth of the lines, ways of Botox administration, and the concentration of Botox. Appropriate research is required when finding a Botox treatment provider. It is crucial to select a certified physician, dermatologist, or plastic surgeon. 


  1. Botulinum Toxin-
  2. Treatment of glabellar lines with Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA)-
  3. Botulinum Toxin-

Was this article helpful?