Finding a Botox Injector - What Sort of Credentials Should I Look For?

I will be in Santa Monica for 10 days over Christmas and want to make an appointment for Botox. I have no idea who to go to and what credentials for the procedure I should be looking for when searching for someone in the area; all the credentials listed sound good, but what tells me they are really good?

Doctor Answers 8

Find an injectionist that is fully trained and experienced!

So who is better qualified to do your botox injections? Let’s keep this practical as possible; it is about the individual…the injectionist. I would recommend a board certified plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon, or dermatologist. Do your homework and thoroughly check into his/her background. Specifically:

  • Find out where he/she went to medical school, residency training, and fellowship training.
  • Confirm that she/he is board certified and by what organization. Investigate the organization. Unfortunately, there are bogus boards out there whose qualifications for membership are shoddy. The board for a plastic surgeon is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The corresponding board for a facial plastic surgeon is the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery, and the board for the dermatologist is the American Board of Dermatology.
  • Find out about the physician’s professional experience by asking about his reputation, how many years he’s been in practice, and whether he’s had any medical malpractice suits.
  • Check into state medical board records to discover if there is a history of any complaints, etc.
  • Find out about the actual experience of the physician and his/her clinical skills. How many injections has he/she performed and over what period of time?
  • Look at before and after photographs and see if you can talk to present or former patients.

In summary, it is my opinion that it is definitely not about politics but confidence in your physician… find an injectionist that is fully trained and experienced!

Thanks for your question.

Englewood Plastic Surgeon

How to Pick a Botox Practitioner

The physician's on this site are probably a reasonable starting point. Beyond the board certification and the number of years in practice, you may want to consider the training that the injector has undertaken. Does he/she have ongoing credits for injection training, do they attend industry workshops to keep up with best practices?

These are questions you can ask in a first consultation and we suggest you attend at least two or three in that 10 day period before making a decision.

The best way to choose a practitioner is with a referral from a friend. Bit short of that, use some of the tips above as a starting point.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Check for board certification

Botox treatment is an art and a science. The provider should be very knowledgeable about the anatomy, the chemistry and side effects. The artistry comes from both experience and an innate sense of observational skills and an interest in the physician or provider to learn constantly and improve on the outcome. There are nurses and physician assistants who perform these treatments but they should be under the supervision of a licensed physician. Dermatologists have been performing Botox for many years as have Plastic surgeons. Today, you hear of gynecologists and dentists performing the treatment as well. It is very important that the practice uses aseptic (clean) technique so there is no cross-contamination. A board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon is your best bet, but then it is up to the experience of that provider. I have been performing Botox injections for 15 years and still improve my results continually. In addition, we have learned of new techniques and applications with Botox. You can check with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgeons to find a member close to you, or the American Society for Plastic Surgeons. Furthermore, if you are lucky to know of an individual in that area who has had Botox done, their comments about the physician performing the treatment can be very helpful to you.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

See a Board-Certified Specialist in their office


First of all, many types of doctors are now doing botox injections (including family practice, OB GYN, anesthesia, etc.) that are not formally trained to do the injections (they may have learned it in a weekend course).

Also, many health spas and medi-spas may have individuals (often not doctors) that are also doing Botox injections in a casual environment of a spa rather than in a medical office.

Finally, some doctors utilize "nurse injectors" that actually do the injections for the physician, even though the patient may have called the "named doctor" and thought he/she may be doing the injections.

My advice is really pretty simple...See a board certified plastic surgeon, ophthalmologist, dermatologist or facial plastic surgeon with experience...those are really the only 4 specialities that are formally trained to do botox injections during their medical training. They also have then most experience. I would also see a doctor, rather than a nurse injector, to do the injections.

If the doctor you see uses the term "cosmetic" doctor or something similar, ask them what specialty are they formally trained in as far as the residency that they did, and then ask if they are board certified. That is a pretty good way to sort out the quality, training, and expertise of the doctor you are considering.

I hope this helps.

James F. Boynton, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

I agree, a personal reference is best, but experience is something to look for.


You really want to find out how long the practitioner has been injecting Botox. Remember that there are many varieties of "plastic surgeons" and not all are equally experienced. There are Facial Plastic Surgeons, General Plastic Surgeons, and Ophthalmic Plastic or Oculoplastic Surgeons. Many of these plastic surgeons, and dermatologists have a lot of experience injecting Botox, but individuals within each subspecialty may not. The question is whether they have been injecting Botox for only a few years as an add on cosmetic procedure, or have been injecting for many years. Most oculoplastic surgeons have been injecting Botox for over 20 years in the treatment of blepharospasm for which it was originally developed. So, check credentials as a starting poit, try to determine the experience level of the individual dermatologist or plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon or oculoplastic surgeon, and then get personal references if you can.

Sean M. Blaydon, MD, FACS

Austin, TX

Sean M. Blaydon, MD, FACS
Austin Oculoplastic Surgeon

Botox and injection

Check the doctor for board certification in one of a few fields. They should at least be a plastic surgeon, a facial plastic, and oculoplastic or a dermatologist. Period, end of story.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

A Personal Reference From UK Journalist Ms. Kate Spicer

Hi Lizamarie,

In choosing a physician to administer Botox, you want someone who is preferably trained, experienced, and board certified in a cosmetically oriented specialty such as facial plastic surgery, plastic surgery, ENT, opthalomoplastic surgery, or dermatology.

This past summer I treated UK correspondent Kate Spicer on her BBC documentary "Super Botox Me" when she visited Los Angeles. "SuperBotoxMe" aired on your Channel 4 in August. You can see that clip at

Ms. Spicer was treated with Fraxel re:pair laser around her eye lids. I have been injecting Botox for over 20 years. I would be happy to see you during your visit to the Los Angeles/ Santa Monica area.

Have a save crossing to the US, and happy, healthy Holidays.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

A personal reference is probably the best


A personal reference is probably the best answer. Beyond ensuring that the injector is a plastic surgeon or dermatologist, there is no real "certification" that can help you determine who is the best injector in your area. On my website - linked below - I list several questions to ask your injector prior to undergoing the procedure. Good luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York City

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 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.