Is There A Link Between The COVID-19 Vaccine And Lessened Botox Effects?

Since its introduction as a wrinkle relaxer in 2002, botulinum toxin type A has become one of the most popular non-invasive treatments available to consumers. Better known as Botox, the injectable neurotoxin is beloved by beauty enthusiasts for its ability to smooth fine lines. What's more, Botox can even be used to stop the development of wrinkles in their tracks. "[With Botox], you're inhibiting the muscle contractions and decreasing the facial movement. And then, you're preventing or slowing the formation of wrinkles over time," Dr. Kristen Broderick told The New York Times. The practice of using Botox preventatively on young patients has raised some critics' eyebrows, with some believing you can get too much Botox, but proponents of the treatment remain unfazed.


Injectable neurotoxins can also be used to quell the symptoms associated with myriad medical conditions, from interstitial cystitis to migraine headaches. "Based on clinical studies and clinical experience, there's a 50 percent reduction of headache days [with Botox treatment]," Dr. Chia-Chun Chiang tells Prevention. However, there's one question that's been causing headaches for countless Botox users as of late: is it true that the COVID-19 vaccine lessens the effects of Botox?

What experts are saying about the COVID-19 vaccine and Botox

Some Botox fans may have noticed a concerning trend in the headlines recently regarding their treatment of choice. According to research published in The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, women who received regular Botox injections experienced a marked decrease in the injectable's efficacy after taking the COVID-19 vaccine. In other words, the wrinkle "freezing" effects of their Botox injections wore off faster than usual. Prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the effects of each patient's Botox injections lasted around 118 days before they needed additional treatment. After participants were vaccinated against COVID-19, researchers noted that the average patient's Botox injections lasted only 96 days before requiring touch-ups. Touch-ups aren't exactly cheap, either. Per The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, each round of Botox can set you back $466, on average.


But what do experts have to say about the study's results? "While [it] may suggest that Botox is lasting a shorter amount of time, the study is too small to draw any conclusions," Dr. Marisa Garshick tells Glamour. Only 45 patients were observed in the study, and nearly every participant was female. "The fact that there were only 45 people [studied]...that's extremely small. I treat more patients than that in a week," Dr. Shari Marchbein told Allure. That said, there's no reason you should forego getting vaccinated in favor of preserving your Botox injections.

What you can do to make Botox injections last longer

Don't let the latest reports surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations and Botox put a furrow in your brow. It seems that experts aren't entirely convinced that vaccination status has any bearing on Botox's efficacy; plus, there are ways to extend the life of your Botox injections regardless. Did you know, for instance, that taking zinc supplements can make the effects of Botox last longer? Research published in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology suggests that supplementing with a combination of 50 mg of zinc citrate and 3,000 PU of phytase enzyme could lengthen the effects of Botox by almost 30%. If you don't like taking supplements, try eating foods high in zinc, like red meat and shellfish, according to The National Institutes of Health


Of course, there are other methods to get the most out of Botox injections and keep your skin glowing year-round. "Often the 'returning fine lines' we see are, in fact, signs of dehydration, so keep your skin [moisturized]...and don't forget to hydrate from the inside too," Dr. Wassim Taktouk tells Harper's Bazaar. If you aren't using retinol products already, including them in your daily skincare routine can help keep fine lines at bay while smoothing existing imperfections. Above all, remember to wear sunscreen each and every day, as even gloomy weather can lead to cumulative sun damage and premature signs of aging.