How Long Does Botox Take to Work?

By Peachy
Medically Reviewed by Larisa Fridlyand, AGACNP-BC

So, you just got botox for the first time – or perhaps you’re eagerly considering? By far the most satisfying part of treating wrinkles isn’t getting the treatment itself but instead the results that follow. 

Watching fine lines resolve after treatment is an experience that borders on the status of miracle. But how long does botox take to work exactly?

Here we’re examining the wrinkle-diminishing effects of botox, the ways treatment manifests in skin over time, and how to keep treatment and your skin in top form for fewer and finer lines down the road.

How wrinkle relaxers work

Effective wrinkle care is all about targeting select facial muscles (the ones causing wrinkles to form), helping them contract less – and relax – with use.

This relaxing effect on the muscle is what releases subtle strains in the skin above. So why doesn’t botox take immediate effect once it’s administered? Mainly because it hasn’t yet “settled” where it needs to. 

Botox works at the intersection of neurons and muscles in a space called the synapse. Dialing in a bit further, botox works by interfering with specialized proteins which are responsible for prompting the muscle to contract. So when factoring for how long it takes for botox to kick in, this is what ultimately informs your treatment’s activation time.

What to expect and when

Right after treatment

Botox as a procedure is minimally invasive – meaning you likely won’t notice much after getting treatment. Beyond actually preventing wrinkles for your complexion, this is what makes botox the gem it is compared to treatments with higher healing burdens.

Right after treatment you may find small, mosquito-like bumps in the areas that were treated. These subside quickly on their own within an hour (more often within minutes). Icing these areas shortly before and after will help to reduce inflammation.

Further, you will still have the same range of motion since the treatment hasn’t yet built up to have an effect. 

Lines start fading by days 4 & 5

After the first few days you may begin to notice effects that indicate lines starting to resolve. It’s at this stage that you may feel certain differences. Your skin might feel “perkier” or more taught than usual. 

You may feel differences in muscle movement tied to certain expressions, and you may even begin seeing less dynamic line activity. These are tell-tale signs of a complexion responding well to treatment!

Peak refinement by days 10–14

By this point you’ll find static lines diminishing noticeably as the treatment reaches peak effect. Muscle movement and subsequent line activity will be minimal if any at all. Once peaked, you can expect months of fewer and finer lines! 

In our experience, clients sometimes find there’s a bit more room for refinement once their treatment peaks. With conventional providers, this would mean returning and paying for those last few units to finish off one’s look. At Peachy, we keep touch-ups entirely complimentary for just this reason. 

How to keep lines finer over time

Cadence your treatments

How long it takes botox to work will vary from person to person, though not greatly. That is not to say timing isn’t an important factor with botox – it certainly is! Especially where the goal is to keep wrinkles from advancing in the long run. 

Botox lasts between three and four months for most. Though this too varies with each person’s lifestyle, genetic makeup, and sun exposure. The anatomy of a face, the musculature, a person’s diet, smoking status, and time outside are just a few meaningful factors in play!

 Protect the look you love

Your skin and the care you give it are investments! Preserve your complexion by minimizing exposure – it’s the surest way to keep existing lines in check while supporting your greater care regimen.

Protecting skin – There are plenty of ways to prevent damage in skin without botox. Renewing structure in skin through prescription retinoids is certainly one of them. And with more than 80% of facial aging tied to photodamage from the sun, investing in broad-spectrum sunscreen for everyday use is one of the best things you can do for your skin.

Looking after your treatment – Botox is naturally effective and long lasting when properly maintained, and there are steps you can take to protect your treatment post-application. These include avoiding strenuous exercise 24 hours afterward and not lying down within the first 4 hours, to keep treatment from migrating. 

Seek out expertise

What’s another sure-fire way to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth in treatment? Choose providers where wrinkle prevention is the sole specialty. While everyone loves a deal, you want peace of mind knowing what you’re getting nothing less than the top quality of care your face deserves.

That means seeking out board-certified providers who know where botox is proven to work and focus treatment planning accordingly.

(Word to the wise: botox can actually be quite affordable, if you know where to get it.)

Our approach

While we can’t speak for other practices, at Peachy we prefer to keep treatment as comfortable and wrinkle-free as the outcomes. The perk of getting botox where the sole focus is wrinkle treatment is that top-quality care comes with the experience.

The consultation

At Peachy, we begin first by learning about each face we’re treating. We review all areas of the face with state-of-the-art AI imaging analysis. This ensures a complete and precise profile of your line activity and where we should focus treatment, if you do decide botox is right for you

From there, you’ll work firsthand with a board-certified provider to discuss your complexion goals and address any questions along the way. Much of this comes down to balancing range of movement for expression with diminishment in lines. 

Transparency is important for us, and it's an area of care we excel at. We bring you along through each stage of the appointment, from consultation to aftercare, ensuring that you're up to speed and comfortable with the treatment you’re getting.

Getting treatment

If you decide to go forward with treatment, we then tailor dosing based on the goals you’ve decided on. We start out small, working responsively with your skin to bring that special balance of refinement and character – yours! – to life.

You can expect treatment to peak around two weeks. Afterward, if you feel the need for an adjustment you can come in for a touch-up, on us. Just like our consultations, we keep touch-ups entirely complimentary. Sometimes a unit or two more is all it takes to complete a look!

The role time plays in wrinkle care is a vital one. It informs when you can expect to see results after treatment and how long those results last. At Peachy, well-timed treatments ensure that you’re getting the dose you need for the look you want.