Everyone from Nicole Kidman to Kim Kardashian has used Botox to help turn back the hands of time, but the wrinkle-erasing shots aren’t just a beauty staple among Hollywood celebrities. In 2017, Botox received over 3 million searches on RealSelf — an increase of 13% from 2016 — showing its popularity isn’t slowing down.
“The word Botox has become a part of our everyday lexicon,” says Kamran Jafri, MD, a New York City-based plastic surgeon. “With ever increasing consumer demand and awareness of its inherent safety profile, there is no question that Botox has secured its place in every aesthetic physician’s medication fridge.”
Despite its widespread popularity, there are still plenty of misconceptions about this popular injection. Here, we debunk the top 5 biggest myths.
Myth No. 1: You can’t exercise right after Botox
According to skeptics, hitting the gym too hard will cause Botox to shift to various muscle groups. In reality, that isn’t the case at all. Exercising with Botox is exactly the same as exercising without it, so don’t use it as an excuse to skip your regular kickboxing class.
“Of course you can exercise after a treatment in a few hours,” says Francis R. Palmer, III, MD a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, Calif. “It is a needle-based therapy so use common sense. Exercise will not affect the results as the Botox is absorbed the tissues within minutes.”
Myth No. 2: Once you start, you can’t stop
“Your face will not look worse if you stop injections after your first treatment wears off,” says Melda A. Isaac, MD, a dermatologic surgeon in Washington D.C. “However, it will go back to the same condition it was in before and, of course, your face will continue to age with time.”
So don’t be afraid to give it a try, even if you aren’t quite ready to commit. “Even intermittent injections can relax the dynamic muscles that cause wrinkling sufficiently to slow down the aging process just a bit,” says Dr. Isaac.
Myth No. 3: Botox delivers instant gratification
It’s impossible to look ten years younger in ten minutes, so try to manage your expectations. “Many initiates will claim they see the effect as soon as the fluid is injected into their lines,” says Lavinia K. Chong, MD, a Newport Beach, Calif. plastic surgeon.
In reality, it can take up to two weeks to show results. “The average female patient will require 3 to 5 days to appreciate the blockade,” says Dr. Chong. “A male patient who has thicker skin and stronger muscles may take up to 10 days.”
Myth No. 4: Botox is only for wrinkles
It may have gained fame as a wrinkle eraser, but this injection is now being used for a variety of uses. From treating migraines and excessive sweating to alleviating TMJ symptoms and an overactive bladder, Botox is the ultimate renaissance treatment.
Women and men in their 20s are even looking at this as a preventative treatment. “I have found over the years that Botox is especially wonderful for my younger patients because it treats the existing wrinkles and prevents new ones,” says Michele S. Green, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. “Just try to use sunblock daily to prevent new wrinkles as well!”
Related: Botox may now improve facial scars
Myth No. 5: Botox freezes your face
People often mistakenly believe that Botox will make them unable to show emotions, but that couldn’t be further from the truth with proper medical supervision.
“An experienced dermatologist can treat you so that you reduce the muscles’ movement but remain natural,” says Heidi A. Waldorf, MD, a dermatologist in Nanuet, New York. “Just be clear with your physician about your goals. Remember less is more. Your doctor can always tweak for next time.”