Botox® Cosmetic can cause mild discomfort, especially when administered by an inexperienced injector. This popular aesthetic procedure reduces the appearance of dynamic wrinkles that form due to repetitive facial movements, like laughing and frowning. When injected into the skin, Botox prevents facial muscle contractions and softens expression lines for a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Why does Botox hurt?
Botox injections can cause discomfort for some patients due to the needle piercing the skin and the medication’s formulation. Botox begins as a powder and must be reconstituted using preserved or unpreserved saline.
Some injectors may add an anesthetic like lidocaine to ensure a more comfortable treatment. The size of the needle also impacts the pain level. Typically, a tiny needle injects the formula beneath the skin into the target muscle, but the larger the needle, the more pain or discomfort during the procedure. Other neuromodulators, like Dysport and Xeomin, can also cause mild discomfort.
How much does Botox hurt?
Botox injections feel different for each individual, as everyone has a different pain tolerance. Generally, it is described as a slight pinch or burning sensation that dissipates quickly. However, it is essential to remember that discomfort can be minimized with a topical anesthetic or cold compress.
A topical numbing cream can provide an even more comfortable experience, if necessary. But generally, using a cold compress or ice pack along with a very tiny gauge needle for injections is sufficient to avoid discomfort. Additionally, expert facial plastic surgeons can make the process more comfortable by properly targeting the right areas with the needle and injecting the solution at the correct depth.
For patients who want to reduce the discomfort associated with Botox injections, there is another alternative known as Pro-Nox®. Pro-Nox is a nitrous oxide delivery system that temporarily relieves pain and anxiety during non-surgical cosmetic procedures. The anesthetic is delivered through a handheld inhaler, allowing the patient to control the amount of the gas they receive.
Does Botox hurt more than fillers?
Botox injections typically hurt less than dermal fillers, as the needle is smaller, and the solution is injected directly into the muscle. The discomfort associated with dermal fillers is often described as more of a burning sensation that can last slightly longer than Botox injections. Dermal fillers can target sensitive areas, like the eyes, mouth, and nose, which can cause more discomfort. However, the level of pain and discomfort for any injectable treatment will ultimately depend on the patient’s tolerance.
Eugenie Brunner, MD, FACS, is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Princeton, NJ, who provides unparalleled care with an artistic eye. Dr. Brunner creates custom treatment plans to enhance each patient’s unique characteristics with surgical and non-surgical treatments, including Botox. Everyone will notice, but no one will know. Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn more about Botox.