Did Patting the Brow Ruin Botox Result?

Received my first Botox injection and was advised to do certain things but I didn't ask how to know when you've done the "bad things" (touched your face, bent over) to the point that you've compromised the treatment or caused some other sort of complication. What are telltale bad signs?

I received Botox injections yesterday morning, and had not yet briefed the hubby. When he came home he surprised me by pressing a kleenex against my forehead. (He thought I was sweaty because my forehead was shiny.) I pulled away pretty quickly but he got a good pat in there before I realized what was happening. In light of the "no facial massage" instructions, I'm worried that I've messed something up.

I'm afraid to wash my face or touch the area in any way. I have a little swelling at the injection sites, which I didn't notice right after the treatment, and a little bit of a headache but nothing that's ruining my day or anything.

I did faint as I was preparing to leave the doc's office yesterday but I have a history of doing that with other injections/blood donations, so I don't immediately associate that with the Botox, but thought I'd mention it just in case. And note that's why I hesitate to phone in a potentially stupid question after causing a spectacle in the waiting room. Thanks for any help.

Doctor Answers 14

Patting the brow after Botox not a problem

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Botox treatments are safe, if they are done by a specialist. Patting the skin is not detrimental to the effect. Enjoy your relaxed look. You will be more confident, the more often you get treated.

Mainz Dermatologic Surgeon

Applying pressure after Botox

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Botox injection should be performed in the correct tissue plane and by an experienced surgeon. The technique is absolutely important in the duration and overall satisfaction of the Botox treatment.

After Botox injection, I always instruct my patients to place pressure on the area to avoid bruising and swelling after injection. Post procedural activity and exercises are important, and although dismissed by some doctors, are an important part of the post-procedural regimen.

Above all, the technique of injection, not the post procedural activity, determine success.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Patting will not affect Botox results

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Hi Pimlico,

Most of the after care instructions for our Botox patients are cautionary recommendations rather than things to absolutely avoid. Your question also fits into this category and the pat your husband gave you will not affect your results. Not to worry. Good luck.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

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Patting your forehead is not harmful. You will be fine.

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Please do not be afraid to call your doctor/injector's office with any questions you may have about what is going on with you after your procedure. As a wise woman said, "there is no such thing as a stupid question." It is okay to pat the areas that were injected if need be. Please do not hesitate to cleanse and wash you face. You may apply some ice to the area(s) if you are experiencing swelling. Swelling is typically mild and quickly resolves. Most of all, enjoy your results pimlico!

Botox Instructions

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I agree with the other plastic surgeons. The injection technique is far more important than the old instructions about not bending over, sitting upright and not massaging. I have performed thousands of Botox injections on patients who are lying completely flat without a problem. I recommend ice packs as needed to reduce swelling for 24 hours after the injections.

Daniel Reichner, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Patting brow after Botox will not harm result

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The only recommendations I give patients is to keep in the upright position for 4 hours following surgery.  Patting the forehead, washing it etc. wiill not harm the result.  You'll be fine. 

Completely agree with Dr. Beraka

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Dear Pimlico,

When BOTOX was first used cosmetically, the Carruthers, who first reported this use, suggested that to get the full effect it was helpful to have patients work the treated muscle by scrunching the glabellar area.

Most practitioners are of the opinion that this is not necessary.

Regarding precautions, I do advise my patients not to work out for about 24 hours. I have seen a couple of patients develops black eyes by working out immediately after a BOTOX treatment including one who did a spin class. I think this precaution continued to be prudent. This is the same thinking behind the recommendation not to bend over or get a facial message. These recommendations are aimed at reducing the risk of bruising. They have no bearing on the treatment effect.

Generally, ice is not too helpful because there is typical not a a lot of swelling after a BOTOX treatment. I also advise my patients not to apply make up for a couple of hours after a treatment. There is no reason not to wash the skin immediately after a treatment.

So don't freak out, enjoy your treatment. Also the next time you get an office service, let the office know you tend to faint with these treatments. They will let you recover before moving you from the treatment chair.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

You will be fine

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All the recommendations about no massage, not bending over, etc, are archaic instructions. As long as the Botox was injected properly, you will be fine. Your husband touching your brow after the injection will have no adverse effect. Enjoy your new Botox!

Patting brow after Botox not a problem

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I don't think that you should have a problem. Remember that Botox will take 7 to 10 days to start working. After it has been in for about an hour or so, it is unlikely to be affected by much of anything we do.

No harm no foul with patting forehead after Botox

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Although massaging the forehead after Botox injections may encourage it to spread more than desired, it is very unlikely that any adverse effects will occur after a single pat to the forehead. Most of the advice traditionally given such as no air travel, no bending over, etc are not based on clinical studies anyway and the experts disagree on how important they are.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.