Can I still get Facial Acupuncture if I’ve had Botox®?

The short answer is: It depends.

How long has it been since your Botox® treatment? If it’s been within the last 3 months, I wouldn’t recommend receiving a Facial Acupuncture treatment. And this is why – because Botox® can move.

botox injection

According to this study, Chapman E, Bomba-Warczak E, Vevea J. Botulinum Toxin Study Proves Possibility Of Remote Effects. Cell Reports . 2016., there is evidence that injected botulinum toxin, a.k.a. Botox®, can actually jump between nerve cells and shut down areas it wasn’t intended to treat.

Back in 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration added a warning to Botox’s prescribing information “to highlight that botulinum toxin may spread from the area of injection to produce symptoms consistent with botulism.”

“In many cases, after an injection for a disabling spasm of neck muscles called cervical dystonia, there is no change in muscle tone but the patient finds relief and is perfectly happy. That result can’t be explained by the local effects.”

Ewa Bomba-Warczak, doctoral candidate in neuroscience

According to the FDA, these side effects could include “unexpected loss of strength or muscle weakness. … Understand that swallowing and breathing difficulties can be life-threatening and there have been reports of deaths related to the effects of spread of botulinum toxin.”

This study demonstrates clear evidence that Botox® moves between nerve cells in a lab dish. And if it can do so there, I believe it’s very easy to do so inside the body.

“We have seen that these toxins enter neurons at the injection site, causing the desired local paralysis, but Ewa and Jason have shown unambiguously the existence of a second entry pathway that takes some of the toxin molecules to other neurons.”

Edwin R. Chapman, doctoral candidate in neuroscience

Another study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows exercising facial muscles after Botox® injection can speed up the smoothing effect in about a day.

Why does this matter? It means increased circulation makes a difference in how the toxin spreads.

And Facial Acupuncture does an amazing job at boosting circulation in the areas being needled.

So the risk of getting Facial Acupuncture while you have active Botox® is possible unintended movement of the toxin. And we have no control where it could end up – your eyes, your spine, your brain. Since there have been recorded incidents of death related to unintended spread of botulinum toxin, I won’t take that risk. I care about you too much for that!

Also Facial Acupuncture helps “wake up” the nerves in your face. If you’ve just paid a couple hundred dollars for toxin to put your facial nerves to sleep, you don’t want Facial Acupuncture to “un-botox” you.

So, the longer answer is: Yes, you can get Facial Acupuncture if you’ve had Botox®. But, please wait until the effects of the Botox® wear off. Give it 3-4 months after your Botox® treatment before you try Facial Acupuncture.

If you’re ready, click here to schedule your Initial Consultation.