Updated: May 15
Don’t worry if you've heard that getting Botox® hurts. It doesn't hurt a bit! Here's what you should expect when having a facial procedure done by a trained professional.
We’re always told that “beauty is pain”, no? It doesn’t have to be. “Does Botox® hurt?” is one of the most frequent concerns people have before scheduling an appointment.
Many people worry about whether Botox® will hurt. They often delay weeks, months, or even years before doing Botox® because they’re anxious about needles.
Are you interested in getting Botox® but not interested in the pain that comes with needle injections?
If your answer is "yes," here’s what you need to know before we get started:
First, about the needles, there is always a bit of “sensation.” Even a flu shot comes with a mild pinch.
Second, Botox® is not bad. Many people feel ZERO discomfort during their injections.
This guide will share more about the pain associated with Botox® and what you should expect.
How Botox Works
The process of injection only takes about ten minutes in an outpatient setting. Many patients who receive Botox® injections do it on their lunch break and return to work without trouble. Botox® blocks nerve impulses to the corrugator muscles in the forehead, which are responsible for horizontal lines that form when the eyebrows are raised. When it is injected into the procerus muscle between the brows, Botox® blocks the nerve impulses that are responsible for the deep lines there, often called the “elevens.”
Botox® is injected into the muscles of the desired area, which essentially blocks the nerve impulses in those tissues, which causes force underneath it not to contract, thus giving the skin a smoother appearance. Botox® only functions in a small area around the injection site, and the effects should be visible within a few days.
What Can You Expect During a Botox® Appointment?
There is sometimes a slight popping sound when the needle enters your skin. If this sounds like something that would cause anxiety or discomfort, you can ask your Botox® Professional about listening to music during your appointment. In any case, this discomfort will come and go quickly.
You may notice that the Botox® forms small bumps under the injection site. This is nothing to worry about – they will flatten as the Botox® makes its way through your muscles and your body absorbs it. The bumps should go away by the time you leave your appointment.
A Botox® appointment is so quick that people sometimes fit it into their lunch break! Botox® professionals should be able to complete the entire process in a matter of minutes, though you can take the afternoon off if you’re concerned about returning to work with slight redness or swelling. Generally, the process of receiving a Botox® injection is a fast, simple, and stress-free process.
According to new data from the FDA in 2021, Botox® may even reduce anxiety, making patients feel calmer and more stress-free after receiving Botox®.
Does Botox® Hurt?
The answer is yes, but just a tiny amount.
Many people associate pain with Botox® because of a fear of needles or bad memories of getting vaccines, but Botox® needles are tiny. They are about the same needle diabetics use to self-inject themselves with insulin.
The facial plastic surgeon Dr. Athley Guthrie suggests that Botox® feels like several small pinches, similar to a bug bite and that the discomfort is short-lived. "Most physicians use a tiny, fine insulin needle to perform the injections, significantly reducing discomfort. Afterward, some people report a mild aching feeling in the areas injected, but many have no discomfort at all."
A Botox® procedure can be almost entirely painless with a topical anesthetic. Even without a numbing agent, the pain is minuscule, and you should only feel a slight pinch. Injections are rapid, and you may not even notice them when they happen with a well-trained medical professional.
One common side effect of Botox® is minor bruising, which can be tender but will go away shortly.
How Do You Feel After?
There may be some minor bleeding and redness where your skin was injected, but this generally goes away within a few hours. There may also be a bit of light bruising, an unavoidable side effect of any procedure that causes trauma to or under the skin.
The difference won’t be noticeable for a day or two, but you'll begin to find it more challenging to move the muscle. Eventually, depending on the amount your doctor used, the muscle will become permanently relaxed even when you try to move it. This lasts between four to six months, and after this time, it will begin to wear off over several weeks slowly. If you choose to repeat the treatment, you should let your muscles regain their complete movement before returning for another treatment. This helps to avoid the strength becoming weak and, eventually, wasting away.