If your skin isn't looking or feeling as tight as usual, bad news: That probably won't be changing anytime soon. As elective procedures across the globe are indefinitely paused due to statewide mandates banning non-essential medical, surgical, and dental procedures, injectable maintenance has become somewhat impossible — and figuring out how to make Botox last is the question on everyone's mind.
"Under normal circumstances, Botox injections should be maintained every four months," Dr. Marina Peredo, MD, a Manhattan-based dermatologist says. "While you can go longer, that's the rate at which you should be seeing [your doctor] for optimal and more lasting results."
And while nothing will get the trick done like the real thing, there are in fact some steps you can take to help your problem areas remain a little more taut until the derm offices open. Ahead, check out the six expert-approved tips to keeping it right and tight even during these tricky times.
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How To Make Botox Last: Amp Up The Vitamin C & Hydrate
"Topical antioxidants, like vitamin C, are also helpful in protecting the skin from damage from free radicals, most notably from UV rays and pollution," Dr. Hadley King, MD, New York City dermatologist says. "Combined with sunscreen, they have been shown to provide more sun protection compared to sunscreen alone."
How To Make Botox Last: Lots Of Zinc & Collagen Supplements
"Zinc supplements like Zytase have been talked about for years," Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, MD oculoplastic surgeon at Specialty Aesthetic Surgery in New York City says. "There were a few small studies that showed some benefit in extending the length of effectiveness. Although there haven't been large scale trials demonstrating this, there are many patients who do feel that they have had some success using zinc supplementation." And while there may not be many studies for zinc, there are plenty for collagen. In a National 2013 review conducted by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, controlled trials using collagen supplements to combat the signs of aging proved promising. It also displayed the ability to improve skin elasticity, hydration and dermal collagen density. "Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings and to determine optimal dosing regimens," Dr. King says. "The jury is still out on whether collagen will preferentially concentrate in the skin when we take it, but preliminary findings are promising."
How To Make Botox Last: Utilize Retinol
"You need a good cleanser," Dr. Peredo says. "Don't go to sleep with makeup and use a good exfoliator once or twice a week to remove the dead skin. But the top product you need is a prescription retin-A or retinol," Peredo says. "Retinol, in general, just helps bring your skin's newest cells to the surface fastest, keeping the appearance firm."
And Dr. King concurs. "Retinoids work by binding to retinoic acid receptors, which then can act as transcription factors and affect gene expression," King says. "This makes them very powerful and able to produce significant changes in the skin. They increase the turnover of skin cells, reduce the tendency of cells and keratin debris to clump together and clog up pores, increase collagen production and decrease discoloration."
How To Make Botox Last: Keep Skin Hydrated
According to a 2017 study in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, a controlled group of more than 200 patients were given a regimen of a day facial cream, night facial cream, an eye cream, a day lip cream, and a night lip cream. The findings showed that as the moisturization of the skin increased, the appearance of both fine and coarse lines and wrinkles were reduced. That said, amping up the moisture with more rich and emollient formulas can leave skin appearing plumper and feeling richer.
How To Make Botox Last: Stay Out Of The Sun
With days stuck indoors, the task of staying out of the sun probably won't be too hard to do. And if you're trying to keep your skin tight, it's pretty much a necessity. "Technically, going into the sun causes you to create more frown lines and it causes aging to speed up," Neethi Masur MD, master injector + AIAM trainer at SKINNEY Medspa, says. "Sun damaged sun spots causes laxity and using your muscles more."
However, you should still be applying an SPF on a daily basis — even if you're staying in more. "Much of the sun damage that accumulates in our skin is the result of daily incidental sun exposure," Dr. King says. "Studies have been done in Australia that tracked the skin of people who used sunscreen everyday regardless of the weather or their daily activities and compared this to the skin of people who only used sunscreen on days that were particularly sunny and they felt they would be spending significant time outside. The skin of the people who used sunscreen everyday aged significantly better."
How To Make Botox Last: Lay Off The Smoking
"Smoking will increase a level of enzyme in the body called collagenase that breaks down the collagen," Dr. Marina Peredo, MD, Manhattan-based dermatologist says. It's for that reason that Dr. Peredo suggests quitting smoking completely if you want your botox to last.
How To Make Botox Last: Keep Stress To A Minimum
"It's also important to minimize stress because studies have shown that stress can contribute to the development of wrinkles," King says. And while it's surely easier said than done during these times, prioritizing activities that will anxiety to a minimum can play a wonderful role in keeping skin tight. Reason being, cortisol, the primary stress hormone, has been shown to break down collagen in the skin. "The higher the stress level, the more cortisol is produced, and over time the skin's ability to rebuild the collagen and elastin will decrease." So what can you do to prevent stress? According to King, a good night's rest, balanced diet, hydrated skin, and exercise, can greatly improve the skin's appearance.
Another reason for keeping stress low is the inevitable facial gymnastics that ranging emotions can cause. "The expressions we make that demonstrate that stress stimulate the muscle contractions and neurotransmitter release (which is what Botox is blocking)," Dr. Umbareen Mahmood, MD Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at SKINNEY Medspa says.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.
Hughes, M. C. B., Williams, G. M., Baker, P., & Green, A. C. (2013) Sunscreen and prevention of skin aging: a randomized trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23732711
Koshy JC, Sharabi SE, Feldman EM, et al. (2012) Effect of dietary zinc and phytase supplementation on botulinum toxin treatments https://jddonline.com/articles/dermatology/1778
Pinsky, M. A. (2017). Efficacy and Safety of an Anti-aging Technology for the Treatment of Facial Wrinkles and Skin Moisturization. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5774901/
Marks, R., Foley, P. A., Jolley, D., Knight, K. R., Harrison, J., & Thompson, S. C. (1995). The effect of regular sunscreen use on vitamin D levels in an Australian population.
Chen, Y., & Lyga, J. (2014). Brain-skin connection: stress, inflammation and skin aging. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4082169/
Dr. Marina Peredo, MD, of Skinfluence Medical PC in New York City.
Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, MD of Specialty Aesthetic Surgery in New York City.
Dr. Hadley King, MD of Dr. Hadley King Dermatology in New York City.
Dr. Neethi Masur, MD of Skinney MedSpa in New York City.
Dr. Umbareen Mahmood, MD of Skinney MedSpa in New York City.