The result and cost factor heavily into anyone’s decision about whether an anti-aging treatment is worth it. But there’s more to it than that. Discussed far less openly, but weighing just as heavily on the minds of many is a basic question: How much is Botox & filler injections going to hurt? To try to shed some light on the patient’s experience, let’s take a closer look at what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a needle or laser.
Botox: An injectable neurotoxin that’s used to temporarily paralyze facial muscles and smooth wrinkles.
It’s common for the treated area to be numbed first with ice, but each injection is quick. With or without the ice, you shouldn’t feel anything more than a slight sting. The area just under the eyebrow can be a little more sensitive. Even then, it’ll feel like a more pronounced sting—closer to a bee sting—and it should go away immediately. It’ll take a few days for the Botox to kick in. At that point, the muscles will start to feel a little heavy. You’ll get used to it after a week.
Restylane and Juvéderm: Hyaluronic acid-based gels that restore contours and fullness to the face and lips.
The lips are one of the body’s most sensitive areas, so an injectable anesthetic may be used first. But icing is usually enough, especially because many of the most widely-used fillers, like Restylane and Juvéderm, already have lidocaine mixed in. Even before that point, finding a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience with the specific treatment is critical. Both the placement and the amount of product used will make all the difference in the procedure itself and the outcome. If the lips are overfilled, it can hurt quite a bit. The injection itself feels kind of like a splinter, but if it’s done properly, the pain should go away right away. The lips may swell a little for a few hours after the procedure. It can feel a bit unsettling, but it should never be painful. You’ll feel back to normal by the next day, and the swelling should dissipate entirely after about a week.
Fraxel Dual Restore: A fractional CO2 laser that diminishes wrinkles, brown spots, scars, and pores.
The laser makes tiny holes in the skin, which can create a fairly intense pinprick sensation over the course of the treatment. A lidocaine cream will be applied to the treated area first, but there’s still likely to be significant discomfort during the procedure. The good news: Treatments with the Fraxel laser are typically short (15-20 minutes). You may feel badly sunburned for an hour or two after the treatment. After that, though, there shouldn’t be any pain. And after a couple of days, your skin will have a sandpapery texture that will last for a week or two.