The Complete Guide to Pre-Wedding Cosmetic Injectables
When it comes to your wedding, there’s no denying that there are many (many) logistics and planning to be done ahead of time. And while it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, your pre-wedding beauty prep plan definitely requires a little foresight and dedicated attention. No matter whether you’re figuring out when to schedule hair color appointments, booking a teeth whitening session or two, or if you are just trying to elevate your skincare regimen, the sooner you can get a jump on things, the better.
That rule holds especially true when it comes to cosmetic injections, such as Botox and fillers. Think of it this way: “You buy your dress a year or so ahead of time, and then go in for several fittings closer to the wedding date. The sample principle applies for cosmetic injections,” says plastic surgeon Dr. David Shafer. Especially if you’re a first-timer, you want to find an experienced, reputable provider and get used to how the injections look and the result they deliver ASAP. Then, you can book the final ‘tweak’ appointments as the wedding approaches, he says.
MEET THE EXPERT
Dr. David Shafer is a double board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City.
Ahead, top experts explain everything there is to know about cosmetic injections—including the type of results you can expect, potential side effects, and, most importantly, when exactly to book them—and weigh in on the one cosmetic treatment that isn’t a great option for brides-to-be.
What it is: “Botox is an injectable that changes or softens muscle movement, reducing and even preventing the formation of lines and wrinkles,” explains plastic surgeon Dr. Sarmela Sunder. “It prevents the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that all nerve fibers need in order to trigger muscle movement.”
MEET THE EXPERT
Dr. Sarmela Sunder, a double board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills.
What it can do: Quite frankly, a whole lot. While it’s most commonly known for its wrinkle-smoothing benefits, Sunder points out that Botox can be used to help remodel muscles in the face, ultimately changing the shape of the face itself. It can also be used to make pores appear smaller, and even create the appearance of a lifted brow, she adds.
Who’s a candidate: Given this wide range of benefits—and the fact that it can prevent wrinkles from forming in the first place—pretty much everyone is a good candidate for Botox, according to Shafer. That being said, because of its mechanism of action, it’s most often used to treat dynamic wrinkles, AKA wrinkles caused by repeated muscle movement. Examples include the ‘11s’ or frown lines in between your eyebrows, crow’s feet, and horizontal lines on the forehead. “Botox can be very helpful once you see wrinkles that not only appear when you move your face but stick around even after you stop moving,” says Sunder. And even if these lines are deeper and more etched in, Botox can still help soften those, notes Shaefer.
When to do it: Keep in mind that while Botox is a super quick treatment that usually takes only about 15 minutes, its effects are not instantaneous. “The general rule of thumb is that it takes three to five days for the effects of Botox to kick in, and those effects then last three to five months,” says Shafer. However, it takes a full two weeks to see the complete effects of the injectable, notes Sunder. Point being, this isn’t something to be done the week before the big day.
Regardless, both doctors say it’s always a good idea to start Botox injections—particularly if you’re a newbie—as soon as possible. That means at least six or more months prior to your wedding date. “You want to have enough time to do a few sessions so that you can get comfortable with how it looks and feels, and so that you and your doctor can discuss the best areas to treat and the amount of Botox that works best for you,” advises Sunder. (Shafer also notes that if you are trying to smooth out deeper, etched-in wrinkles, it will take more than one session to do so.) As you approach the wedding day, schedule your last Botox appointment for no later than one month prior. This will give you that two-week period for it to take full effect, and you’ll still have an extra two-week buffer in case anything needs to be slightly tweaked, she says.
Aftercare: Both doctors we spoke with point out that the aftercare required is pretty minimal. More important is pre-care, namely stopping any type of blood-thinning medications or supplements for both two weeks before and two weeks after Botox injection. (Though of course, discuss this with your doctor first.) There are many vitamins and supplements that people commonly take—omega 3 fatty acids, green tea, ashwagandha—that thin your blood, subsequently increasing the likelihood of bruising, says Sunder.
Post-injections, avoid putting your head down or upside down—that means no laying down, no downward dog-ing—for four to six hours after. You’ll also want to avoid rubbing the injected area. Both can end up inadvertently moving the Botox and causing it to spread into an unwanted area, cautions Sunder.
Potential side effects: Some minor bruising is the most common, but there are a few other, much more problematic potential issues that can occur if Botox isn’t injected properly. (Consider this just one of the many reasons why it’s imperative to always seek out licensed, experienced injectors for any type of cosmetic injections.) This includes things such as a dropping eye, dropping brow, or even an uneven smile. And while Botox is not permanent (it does wear off eventually), there’s no way of immediately reversing the effects if you’re not happy with the outcome.
Average cost: Botox is priced per unit, but the cost varies greatly based on your geographic location and the type of provider you see. The total cost is based on how many units are used, which depends on the area being treated. However, broadly speaking, the doctors we spoke with referenced a range of anywhere from $200-$1500 for a Botox treatment.