5 Side Effects Of Botox: Beauty At A Cost

Whoever said staying beautiful is a breeze? Just ask someone who’s had a round of Botox injections and is grappling with the bruises… However, bruising is one of the less serious side effects of Botox injections; muscle weakness is the most feared one.

Botox or botulinum toxin (OnabotulinumtoxinA) is a protein extracted from clostridium botulinum, a bacteria usually implicated in a fatal type of food poisoning called botulism. In small amounts, Botox injections are considered useful for both beauty and medical reasons.

If you’re considering Botox, keep these 5 possible side effects in mind.

1. Bruising

The most common side effect of Botox is bruising, which is caused more by the injection than the toxin.4 After all, it’s a tiny injury! Bruising is more likely to happen around the eyes where the number of blood vessels are high. They are also more common in people who take blood thinners like aspirin, vitamin E, and ibuprofen. If you are on these medicines, stop 2 weeks before you get a Botox shot.5 If you do have bruising, it should go away within a week.6

2. Pain And Swelling

Pain, redness, and swelling are also likely. These are more an immune reaction than a side effect and develop right around the injection site.7 Don’t touch or massage the injection area for 3 days; instead, use an ice pack. The pain and swelling usually go away along with the bruising. If they don’t, speak to your doctor.

3. Drooping Eyelids Or A Crooked Grin

Botox could sometimes play havoc with your beauty goals too. That’s how some people end up with a crooked grin, a droopy eyelid, or a raised eyebrow. While this is a rare side effect, it can happen when the toxin travels to places other than its target location.8 It’s best not to do physically exerting tasks for a few hours after the injection. Any activity that increases your blood circulation raises the risk of the toxin spreading.

4. Muscle Weakness

Temporary weakness of nearby muscles is the most feared side effect. They can even become paralyzed. However, this won’t last forever. It typically subsides within a few weeks or months, depending on the strength of the Botox injections – and where you get it from. Very rarely, the toxin can spread through blood to muscles away from the injection site and weaken or paralyze them. This happens mostly because of an error during injecting it, which is why it is essential to get your Botox injection at a reliable place.9 10

5. Flu-Like Symptoms

Flu-like symptoms like fever, runny nose, and sore throat are other possible side effects. This is caused by a reaction of your immune system. You might also have a minor headache, but research suggests that it might also have to do with the trauma of an injection.11 The symptoms last for a day. Some cases of diarrhea and vomiting have also been reported.

See A Doctor If You Have Botulism Symptoms

Usually, 2 allergy tests a month before Botox rule out the possibility of a severe allergic reaction. But, sometimes the toxin can spread to other locations and cause botulism, a fatal infection. Look out for these symptoms:12 13

  • Wheezing and difficulty breathing and swallowing (if the injected area is the neck)
  • Hoarseness or change or loss of voice
  • Difficulty saying words clearly
  • Double or blurred vision (if the injected area is near the eyes)
  • Loss of strength and muscle weakness all over the body
  • Difficulty controlling bladder

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