6 Steps To Care For Your Skin Between Botox Appointments

There's no denying that Botox, like other injectable neurotoxins, is one of the best treatments to quell fine lines and wrinkles. Since the early 2000s, Botox has been used on everything from crow's feet to chin dimples to the delight of skincare fanatics everywhere. The only drawback? Botox treatments can get expensive, and you need regular treatments every three to four months to maintain results. To make matters worse, research published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology suggests that being vaccinated against Covid-19 may reduce Botox's effectiveness in some individuals. This phenomenon can result in more frequent appointments and, in rare cases, resistance to the neurotoxin's effects.

The average patient receives several units of Botox during each touch-up appointment, but overall treatment costs can vary depending on the location, provider, and number of areas treated. "Clients may need multiple units to see their ideal results for each of the facial areas. Usually, a client needs a total of 30-50 units for crow's feet and forehead wrinkle removal," Dr. Charles Jiang tells RealSelf. To get the best value from your Botox, you may be wondering if there are any ways to extend the results of your treatment. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to make your Botox injections last longer.

Stay hydrated and eat nutritious foods

By now, you're probably well aware that how much water you drink has a direct effect on the appearance of your skin. Dehydration can lead to countless beauty woes, from chapped lips to dullness. Drinking enough water can not only keep your skin looking plump and hydrated but also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. According to a study published in the medical journal Skin Research and Technology, patients with drier skin were found to have deeper wrinkles than those with higher hydration levels.

Furthermore, what you eat can contribute significantly to your skin's health — for better or worse. "Aging is part of growing older, but it's accelerated by sugar. Sugar quickens [the breakdown of DNA], and thereby, advances the aging process," Dr. Andrew Nish tells UnityPoint Health. Limiting your sugar intake is one way to protect your skin from premature aging. Still, it's also important to consume a well-rounded diet complete with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids. That said, make sure to eat plenty of fresh produce, protein, and healthy fats to keep your skin looking and feeling its best between Botox appointments.

Take zinc and phytase to increase Botox's effects

Believe it or not, a clinically-proven way to stretch your Botox treatments is by taking two supplements: zinc and phytase. Per research published in The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 92% of patients who took a combination of zinc and phytase supplements experienced up to 30% longer-lasting effects from their Botox treatments. In contrast, those in the placebo group saw no change in their results.

"Although there haven't been large-scale trials demonstrating [the relationship between supplement usage and Botox], there are many patients who do feel that they have had some success using zinc supplementation," Dr. Bruce Moskowitz told The Zoe Report. Of course, you can also get zinc and phytase directly from food sources. Zinc is an essential mineral primarily found in foods like seafood, meat, and eggs. That said, vegans or vegetarians may have difficulty getting more zinc in their diet without fortified foods or supplements.

Phytase, on the other hand, is a bit trickier to incorporate through dietary means alone. It also bears mentioning that phytase can interfere with the absorption of iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium, per research published in The Journal of Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

Don't slack on wearing sunscreen regularly

You're probably tired of hearing about the importance of sunscreen, but we can't emphasize its role in your skincare routine enough. Some experts believe that the primary cause of skin aging is UV exposure, and factors like the active ingredients in skincare can weaken your skin's defense against the sun's powerful rays. "If you're going to spend money, spend it on sunscreen, not Botox," plastic surgeon Arthur Perry tells Today. With that, it's vital to ensure that you wear effective sun protection every day, no matter how overcast or gloomy it looks outside.

To add to that, many skincare enthusiasts recommend that you wear sunscreen indoors if you tend to sit near or in direct sunlight. It may sound excessive, but sunscreen not only protects your skin against fine lines and wrinkle formation — some studies suggest that products with SPF may even reverse their appearance after they've formed. Research published in The Journal of Dermatologic Surgery found that participants who wore a broad-spectrum, SPF 30 facial sunscreen for one year demonstrated significant improvement in their skin clarity and texture.

Use supportive skincare to keep fine lines at bay

Staying consistent with your skincare routine can be difficult, especially if you have a hectic schedule. However, if you really want your Botox to last longer, you need to be diligent with your product usage. "If you use products and treatments aimed at stimulating collagen, these will keep your collagen levels higher and mean that you're less likely to develop wrinkles," Dr. Shophie Shotter tells Harper's Bazaar. As you might already know, retinoids, like retinol, are some of the best topical ingredients you can use to stimulate collagen production — plus, they can treat and prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

Plus, to make the most of your moisturizer, you can choose creams that contain anti-aging ingredients such as peptides. "Hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalane, and niacinamide are key [to keeping skin healthy], as are ingredients that improve the skin's ability to hold onto moisture, like ceramides and peptides," Dr. Dendy Engelman tells Vogue.

Lower your stress levels to promote healthy skin

We know it's much easier said than done, but lowering your stress levels is crucial to maintaining healthy skin. According to research published in the medical journal Inflammation & Allergy Drug Targets, heightened cortisol levels caused by excess stress can actually weaken the immune system and skin functioning, leading to inflammation, early signs of aging, and other undesirable results. "Stress can cause wrinkles to form because high amounts of cortisol (the stress hormone) can break down the skin's collagen and elastin. Stress also causes inflammation and impairs the body's ability to repair itself," Dr. Stacy Chimento told Eating Well.

It only takes a few moments to center yourself and relax, so remember to take a few minutes to meditate, journal, or decompress with a friend each day. If you have trouble slowing your thoughts down, start with a simple, one-minute meditation from a free mindfulness app and ease your way into longer sessions. Other ways to practice grounding self-care include taking herbal baths, preparing healthy meals, and listening to music.

Try skin-strengthening supplements for added support

Beyond zinc and phytase, other nutritional supplements can help you achieve glowing skin between Botox touch-ups. One of the most beneficial nutrients you can consume is collagen, a vital protein for building strong, healthy skin. As we grow older, our skin's collagen production slows down, resulting in lost elasticity and firmness. "Collagen is what keeps our skin from sagging, giving us that plump, youthful look," Dr. Ohara Aivaz tells Cedars-Sinai.

Thankfully, collagen supplements can help replenish our body's stores of this rejuvenating protein. According to research published in the medical journal Dermatology Practical & Conceptual, oral collagen supplements have been found to improve skin elasticity and delay the signs of aging. You can get collagen from food sources like animal products, but to really amp up your collagen intake, you'll want to try a supplement. Don't like taking pills? No problem. These days, collagen supplements come in the form of everything from coffee creamer to jelly snacks, so there's never been an easier time to add more to your diet.