Can I Take The Covid Vaccine With Botox?
Botox went from an occasional procedure done by celebrities to an effective age-defying procedure available to all. Today, more than 7 million Botox injections happen every year. If you’ve used Botox before, you know that your dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon will read you the riot act; with any injectable, there are risks and side effects. But how far do these side effects go? With millions of Americans getting vaccinated against COVID-19, questions about vaccine side effects are common. These questions also extend to Botox. Can you take the COVID vaccine with Botox? Or can you keep your Botox appointment after you’ve had the vaccine? Read ahead to learn more about Botox, its effect on the vaccine, and if you’re in the clear for your next injectable.
A Botox recap
As a reminder, Botox is a special neurotoxin derived from Botulinum Toxin Type A. In large doses, this toxin causes a rare but dangerous botulism illness. However, in controlled amounts, Botox can be helpful in a cosmetic sense. Small quantities of the toxin paralyze the muscles by blocking communication of the nerves with the brain. With this knowledge, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon injects Botox at specific doses for anti-aging purposes. These include:
- Reducing glabellar lines or wrinkles that happen between the eyebrows.
- Reducing fine lines and wrinkles on the forehead.
- Clearing up Crow’s Feet, the wrinkles that appear around the eyes and Bunny Lines, the wrinkles around the nose.
- Reducing smile lines around the mouth.
These cosmetic uses have been around for decades, even before the FDA approved Botox in the late 1980s. Today Botox is available at most dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons.
When injected correctly, Botox reduces these wrinkles, providing anti-aging benefits for up to 4 months. With time and repeated use, Botox lasts much longer, giving you longer-term, wrinkle-free skin. Today, Botox has extended beyond cosmetic use to conditions like migraines, chronic sweating, and an overactive bladder. Botox is a brand name for the toxin and is the most trusted brand in the space. However, there are other botulinum type-A brands like Xeomin, Jeuveau, and Dysport. Your dermatologist will use the best one (or a combination) for the best results.
Can you take the Covid vaccine with Botox?
The goal of the COVID-19 vaccine is to trigger an immune response. By introducing a dormant version of the virus into the body, the immune system can have a record of the virus and some of its variants. This can both reduce your chances of contracting the virus or developing severe illnesses as a result. More importantly, the vaccine prevents healthy people from infecting loved ones or others that may be immunocompromised.
Botox is a toxin, not a virus. It’s also localized, meaning it would not leave the injected area, Over time, the body absorbs the proteins, but this process is harmless and should not trigger an immune response. In short, you can still take the vaccine if you’ve had Botox, and vice versa.
Before your Botox session
If you have an upcoming Botox appointment, you may be concerned that Botox will bring unwanted side effects. There have been reports of swelling and other adverse reactions for a few patients with dermal fillers (more on that later). However, there has been no evidence that Botox creates mild or dangerous reactions. Botox is a protein that targets the muscles of the injected area and should not trigger an immune response.
At the same time, you should speak with your dermatologist first to raise any concerns you may have. These concerns are natural since we still have not fully explored the impact of the vaccine on other drugs or foreign substances. If you have existing comorbidities, such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes, COPD, or heart disease, your risk factor for severe illness with COVID-19 is particularly high. It would be best if you had an idea of your medical history first before taking both the vaccine and Botox. If you’re in good health, you should have no issues keeping your Botox appointment. However, we suggest that you wait two weeks before your Botox treatment to be on the safe side.
What about after your Botox session?
After your Botox injection, you may experience a little redness and swelling at the injection site. The same rule of thumb goes for patients wanting to keep their Botox sessions after vaccination. It’s best to wait two weeks after your Botox session to get vaccinated. Give your immune system time to understand what’s happening and time to recover. After those 2 weeks, it should be fine to take the COVD-19 vaccine. Make sure to wear a mask and keep yourself protected in the interim.
Can reactions happen with dermal fillers?
Since we’re talking about injectables, we should also touch on dermal fillers, which are different from Botox injections. As the name implies, Dermal fillers fill or plump up certain areas of our face (and even our hands). As we age, our face begins to lose its volume and fullness. Dermal fillers are simple, minimally invasive procedures that seek to restore some volume by adding specific compounds in strategic parts of our face and lips. The results are a host of cosmetic and anti-aging benefits, including:
- Reducing the signs of wrinkles, Crow’s Feet, and Smile Lines.
- Plumping up sunken cheeks and temples
- Adding volume to the lips
- Giving the face a fuller, younger appearance
Most dermal fillers are made of substances already found in the body. These include hyaluronic acid fillers, polylactic acid-based dermal fillers, calcium hydroxyapatite, and many others. Fillers can last as long as two years, depending on the type of filler and location.
FDA reports on adverse reactions to fillers.
The concern about Botox stemmed from an adverse reaction to dermal fillers. In an FDA report on the clinical trials of the Moderna vaccine, two patients out of a reported 15,000 reported facial swelling and pain at the filler site after taking the vaccine. One person reported swelling of the lips. In these 3 cases, the patients managed the swelling with over-the-counter medication and rest. These reactions raised questions on the safety of all injectables.
As shown by the numbers, these reactions are rare. Fillers are quite viscous and pick up space under the skin for some time. Once you get fillers, it’s not uncommon to experience swelling and pain for 24 to 48 hours. The vaccine can trigger the immune system, which could, in turn, cause swelling and pain again. In fact, this is possible even with yearly flu shots and other vaccines.
There’s no limit on the timeframe when you had your filler since one of these patients had fillers several months before the vaccine. Even if the reaction happens, it resolves on its own or with anti-inflammatory medication.
The bottom line? It’s safe to get vaccinated.
You may be anxious about taking the vaccine with existing Botox or fillers. Or you may have concerns about getting vaccinated after your already scheduled session. These are valid concerns. However, we’ve seen no evidence of the Covid vaccine with Botox negatively affecting our patients. For dermal fillers, there is evidence of mild adverse reactions, but these are rare. Both Botox and fillers have mild side effects after the procedure, so it’s natural to assume your vaccine is to blame. However, the two are likely unrelated. And if they are, the swelling and pain should resolve themselves in short order.
Even if you’ve had one vaccine shot and you’re carded to get a second, it should be safe to do so. You can contact your primary healthcare provider or dermatologist first to discuss any concerns. However, there have not been severe adverse reactions to the second dose, Botox, and fillers to date. Remember, although rare, these reactions are possible with other vaccines.
Reach out to us today
Botox (and dermal fillers) is a great way to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. If you’re interested in trying Botox or fillers, talk to your dermatologist or local cosmetic surgeon. You can raise any concerns about the vaccine beforehand, talk about your medical history and the steps you can take to stay safe.
If you’d like more support on the matter, feel free to request a consultation with Eternal Dermatology + Aesthetics by clicking the link at the bottom of our homepage. Our goal is to help our patients feel their best and stay safe. We’re experienced in administering injectables like Botox and can address any concerns on side effects. You can also call or email us via our Contact Page or Book an appointment directly on our website.