Botox and other dermal fillers can help make your face look firmer, slimmer and more youthful. Unfortunately, their effects usually last only about six months. Top US doctors share useful tips on how to make botox last longer.
Take extra steps against sun damage
New York dermatologist Marina Peredo says, “The biggest cause for Botox and filler not lasting as long as it should is excessive sun exposure. It increases the enzyme collagenase that breaks down the collagen faster.”
Get a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 — but more importantly, apply it correctly. Sunscreens should be applied at least half an hour before you step out the door. Reapply after every 4 hours, especially in hot or sweaty conditions. If you don’t want to ruin your makeup, you can top-up your SPF with a spray sunscreen.
Sounds like a lot of work, but that’s the best way to make Botox last longer, and protect your skin from photo-ageing.
Level up your anti-ageing skincare
“If you’re starting with skin that’s healthy, your Botox and fillers will last longer,” says Dr. Peredo. Complement clinical treatments with powerful anti-ageing ingredients.
Many dermatologists say retinoids are still the gold-standard for anti-ageing ingredients. “They help fight acne, reduce wrinkles, stimulate collagen, and promote cellular turnover.They’re also known for evening out skin tone and increasing blood flow to the skin,” says Texas-based dermatologist Lela Lankerani.
Since older skin has a weaker moisture barrier and gets dehydrated more easily, look for hyaluronic acid and other hydrating ingredients. You also need antioxidants to fight environmental damage, especially Vitamin C — sometimes called the “anti-ageing superstar.”
“Aside from being an antioxidant, Vitamin C triggers the skin to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin,” explains New York dermatologist Howard Sobel.
Get follow-up fillers
Many dermatologists say that patients who regularly get fillers will develop muscle memory in the treated areas. Basically, the muscle that creates the wrinkle starts to become inactive. At the start, you may need to have Botox done every four months. Eventually, the effects will last longer and you may only need to return every six months.
But how often should you have appointments so Botox will last longer? New York City dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank says there’s no hard and fast rule. Just pay attention to when the effects wear off and then go back for little tweaks or adjustments, rather than waiting for the filler to completely disappear. “Not only does this make for a more natural result, but it also spreads out the cost and minimizes any trauma to your face.”
“If you go every three months the first year, you start to lose that muscle memory that creates the wrinkle. Over time, you’ll be able to stretch it out to every four or six months.”
Take a zinc supplement
A 2012 study found that patients who took a 50mg zinc supplement and an enzyme known as phytase had a 30% increase in Botox duration. That may be because the botulinum toxin depends on zinc, and phytase helps absorb zinc.
New York dermatologist Robert Anolik says that more research is needed to prove that Zinc can make Botox last longer, but it’s fine to take zinc if it’s part of a multivitamin regimen. Look for a supplement that has phytase, and start taking it four days before your Botox treatment.
Phytase helps the body absorb zinc, so look for a supplement that contains both. For best results, begin supplementing with zinc at least four days before your Botox treatment.
Combine clinical treatments
Botox and other facial fillers can be combined with other cosmetic treatments to achieve natural and longer-lasting results. Depending on your case, they can recommend combining Botox with laser treatments, microneedling, or radiofrequency.
Get a silk pillow
No, you don’t need to sleep upright to make your Botox last longer. However, dermatologists do agree it’s better to sleep on your back — or at least, to use a silk pillowcase. The softer fabric won’t cause as much friction or stress on your face and neck — and that’s true even for non-Botox patients. (By the way, silk pillow cases also minimize frizzy hair.)
Manage your stress levels
Stress releases the hormone cortisol. “Excess cortisol can cause an inflammatory cascade and a breakdown of collagen, fillers and Botox,” says Dr. Peredo. Now that’s a good reason to book a visit to a spa!
Watch your carbs
Several studies have linked high blood sugar to collagen loss, oxidative stress and inflammation. Basically, the excess sugar attaches to the fats and proteins in our skin, causing a process caled glycation. Glycation leads to a release of enzymes that break down collagen and elastin fibers, and worsen acne and rosacea.
Get better sleep
Beauty sleep is real! The body repairs itself when you sleep, so that can help counter collagen loss you may have experienced through the day — from sun exposure, stress and the cupcake you had for dessert.
While sleep alone can’t make Botox last longer, lack of sleep and a stressful lifestyle can shorten and decrease its effects. Hollywood dermatologist Anne Shuster says, “Fillers and other clinical treatments must be complemented by the right diet, lifestyle and skincare routine.”