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Is Numbing Needed for Botox on the Forehead?

Botox and other toxin injection treatments have become a popular solution for people looking for minimally invasive procedures for their wrinkles. This procedure uses botulinum toxin to freeze the facial muscles, and this process is FDA-approved, safe, and effective. So, if you’re looking to treat vertical forehead wrinkles and frown lines, this is one procedure to consider. But this doesn’t mean, however, that there are no patients that are squeamish about the procedure, especially the use of injections. 

So is numbing needed for Botox on the forehead? For those uncomfortable with needles, the short answer is no, numbing isn’t required for Botox injections, but it can help make the experience more comfortable and more bearable.

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Numbing for Botox Procedures for the Forehead

Getting Botox is an outpatient procedure, doesn’t require anesthesia, and each treatment session takes less than 30 minutes. The amounts of botulinum toxin injected into your muscles will depend on several factors an experienced doctor will determine. For many, it’s a simple injection that feels like a pinch and then they can  resume with their normal routine after. But for others, it can feel much more painful than a pinch and may need the better part of the day to get over the pain.

If you feel discomfort during injections, your provider may apply a topical numbing cream on the injection site before injecting Botox at the appropriate muscles to reduce forehead lines and frown lines. Keep in mind, however, that some numbing creams take 30 minutes up to an hour to work, so getting this can make your session longer. Another alternative is for your provider to give you a cold pack to numb the treatment area after the injection.

Some med spas and aesthetic practices that offer Botox injections provide numbing creams and apply this before the procedure. Others, however, give their patients the option to either go without numbing cream, or to receive a prescription from a medical professional for numbing cream and apply it before their appointment to reduce the waiting time.

Do Botox Procedures Hurt?

Botox cosmetic procedures are similar to any other injection and have a small amount of pain that’s comparable to a pinch or an insect bite. There can be some pain afterwards from the injection, but this is common and will fade away after a few days. For those who have had multiple Botox procedures or aren’t afraid of needles, the pain can seem very minimal.

Why Your Botox Injection Hurts

For others, however, Botox injections can seem more painful than it normally is. Because of this, you might feel sharp pain during and even minutes after injection. This is due to a number of reasons:

  • Needle length – A dose of botulinum toxin is injected into the subcutaneous (between the skin and muscle) and intramuscular (inside the muscle) layers. This means your provider uses longer needles, which can damage more nerves responsible for your pain response. The needle’s sharpness can also affect pain response: sharper needles can penetrate your skin and muscle with less resistance, which can be less painful. In comparison, lower-quality needles are duller and require more force to break tissue, which can cause pain.
  • The angle of entry – Intramuscular injections puncture the skin at a 90-degree angle, which can be more painful than injections that are inserted almost parallel to the skin.
  • Muscle damage – The pain you feel during your Botox injection may be caused by muscle damage. Muscle fibers are tightly packed, and an intramuscular injection breaks muscle fibers, triggering a pain response. If there is excessive tearing, this can trigger your body’s immune response, which explains the lingering pain, bruising, and swelling while your muscles repair.
  • Fear of needles – Ironically, being afraid of needles can make the experience more painful than it really is. When you’re nervous before a procedure, you get increased blood pressure and heart rate. This can trigger your body to release cortisol, a hormone that can increase pain sensitivity and inflammation.

Are There Any Benefits or Risks from Numbing?

Numbing isn’t a required step for Botox, and you can opt to go without it if your provider doesn’t use it on Botox patients by default. The only benefit you can get from numbing is it can make your injection feel less comfortable. Other than that, it’s completely optional with no other benefits or risks.  

Some practices don’t offer numbing before a Botox procedure, so if you’re interested in numbing before getting an injection, ask your provider if they do before you schedule a treatment.

If your provider doesn’t do numbing, you can opt to use over-the-counter painkillers or numbing cream before the procedure so that it’s effective by the time of your scheduled treatment. Some practices may even give you a prescription for topical anesthetics, as numbing creams with a high dose of lidocaine require doctor prescriptions.   

Botox Aftercare: Why You Still Feel Numb

Asian young woman worried and pointing finger towards her aging and old forehead

Whether or not you use numbing treatments for your Botox injection, you may notice several side effects after the procedure. One of these can be the feeling of numbness, especially around the injection site. This isn’t one of the adverse effects; in fact, this is a fairly common side effect that will go away on its own.

Why You Feel Numb After Your Procedure

Botox contains a safe amount of diluted botulinum toxin. This is effective in reducing the appearance of dynamic wrinkles because of the way it sends chemical signals to stop muscle spasms and muscle contractions. By freezing your facial muscles, you can prevent your skin from creasing and folding when you make facial expressions.

For some patients, there may be a feeling of numbness a few days after their injection. This is common for some patients, but there is no need to be worried. The numbness should go away a few days after the treatment, along with all the other common side effects associated with Botox injections. You will eventually get used to this after getting additional treatment for maintenance.

Adverse effects are rare, but if you experience these, you could be having an allergic reaction to Botox. Seek immediate medical attention or contact your primary care doctor if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing (or neck pain and a feeling of fullness in the neck area)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Muscle weakness

For forehead wrinkles and frown lines, expect visible changes to appear up to 14 days after treatment. This lasts for a couple of months before the effects begin to wear off. After around 3 to 4 months, you’ll need regular follow-up injections to maintain your appearance for long-term use.

Do You Still Feel Pain After Your Procedure?

Lingering pain days after your Botox treatment may be due to the causes of injection pain mentioned earlier. This could be your muscles, blood vessels, and tissue healing from the injection, as well as immune responses to the damage.

Aside from pain, you may notice side effects like bruising, swelling, headaches, and flu-like symptoms. These are common minor side effects that will go away within a few days, while bruising can completely fade after two weeks. A few ways to minimize or avoid acute pain include:

  • Use a cold compress. If you experience pain and bruising in the treatment area, apply an ice pack or cold compress on the area. This can provide temporary pain numbing.
  • Maintain a normal heart rate. Avoid intense exercise and strenuous activities up to a week after your Botox injections. The increased blood flow can promote bruising and make your Botox less effective.
  • Sit-up after your procedure. Avoid lying down or falling asleep four hours after your treatment. This can promote bruising.
  • Avoid blood-thinning over-the-counter painkillers. Ibuprofen and aspirin can thin your blood, which can promote bruising. If you experience mild or acute pain after the treatment, take painkillers like acetaminophen or paracetamol, since these don’t change your blood’s consistency.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can thin your blood and heighten your senses. Consider avoiding alcohol one week before and after your Botox injection to reduce your sensitivity during your treatment.

Get Safe and Effective Botox Injections from Dr. V Medical Aesthetics

woman receiving botox to her forehead

Numbing your forehead before a Botox injection is optional. If you’re not bothered by the effects of an injection, you can skip the numbing and go straight to treatment. There are no additional benefits and risks to using numbing cream. There may be some pain after the procedure, but this will disappear a few days after your injection.

At Dr. V Medical Aesthetics, we offer quick, safe, and effective Botox injections to improve how you look and feel. We strive to give our clients the best experience and we take all the necessary steps to ensure that you feel comfortable during your Botox injections. We’re always ready to help you regain your confidence and feel more beautiful in your own skin. To explore your options and get sound advice on what treatments to get, book a consultation with us today.  


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