8 Myths About Botox Injections

  • Myth word
    Botox at a Glance
    Botox® is a neurotoxin that causes muscles to relax. Doctors have used Botox for many years to improve the cosmetic appearance of facial lines and wrinkles. Botox also has some medical uses to treat various symptoms and conditions. If you’re considering Botox for cosmetic or medical reasons, you may be wondering what information is true and what’s not. It's time to separate fact from fiction.
  • Talk with Your Doctor, doctors
    Myth 1. Botox is not safe and can even be dangerous.
    Botox first received FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval to treat certain medical conditions in 1989. Approval for cosmetic uses of Botox came in 2002. Since then, millions of people have used Botox safely and effectively. Botox is safest in the hands of a qualified doctor and at manufacturer-recommended doses. Always find a doctor with the experience and qualifications to ensure your safety. You can research doctors who give Botox injections at Healthgrades.com.
  • Woman examining face
    Myth 2. Botox can give me botulism.
    Botox is a purified protein derived from botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin comes from the bacteria that cause botulism food poisoning. Botulism results from the toxin’s effects on the central nervous system. It causes widespread paralysis and can lead to death without proper treatment. Botox, on the other hand, remains at the injection site. In rare cases, the Botox toxin effect may spread and cause serious side effects that require medical attention.
  • portrait-of-senior-woman-breathing-fresh-air
    Myth 3. Botox will give me a “frozen” or expressionless face.
    Botox relaxes wrinkle-producing facial muscles at the point of injection. These injection points are around deep lines and wrinkles, such as crow’s feet, forehead furrows, and smile lines. Botox does not affect other muscles involved in overall facial expressions. You will still be able to display a wide range of expressions. The quality of your results depends on the skill of your doctor. This is another reason to do your research and find an experienced and qualified doctor.
  • Suffering with modern stress
    Myth 4. Botox only works for facial lines and wrinkles.
    Botox was originally approved for medical conditions involving the eyes. Doctors discovered its potential cosmetic use while treating these patients. Since then, Botox has received approval for a range of medical conditions. This includes strabismus, eyelid muscle spasms, chronic migraine, cervical dystonia, overactive bladder, excessive underarm sweating, and upper limb spasticity.
  • man covering face
    Myth 5. Botox can get rid of all my facial lines and wrinkles.
    Botox treats dynamic wrinkles. These are wrinkles that develop from movement. Botox improves the appearance of these wrinkles by relaxing the muscles. The other category of wrinkles is static wrinkles. Static wrinkles are the result of aging and sun exposure. These wrinkles aren’t related to movement and won’t respond to Botox treatment. Cosmetic fillers can smooth the appearance of static wrinkles.
  • woman-receiving-botox-injection-on-forehead
    Myth 6. Botox injections are painful.
    Most people report only mild discomfort during a Botox injection. The needles are very fine (thin) and inject a tiny amount of liquid. This means you should only feel a slight pinch during an injection. The number of injections varies for each condition and person. Multiple pinches may be uncomfortable, but they only last for a few seconds. Most people tolerate Botox injections well.
  • smiling woman
    Myth 7. Botox is addictive.
    There are no addictive properties to the ingredient in a Botox injection. It has no potential to make a person physically addicted to the drug. For medical conditions, people rely on Botox to ease symptoms the same as any prescription medicine. People become dependent on the cosmetic results of a Botox injection to keep them looking younger. This is more about a person’s focus on their appearance than it is about Botox itself.
  • Middle-aged Latina doctor having conversation with patient in office
    Myth 8. I can get Botox at a spa.
    It’s up to individual states to regulate who can give a Botox injection. In some states, nurses, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants can perform Botox injections. In other states, only doctors can inject Botox. Before you receive a Botox injection, ask your provider if he or she is authorized inject Botox in your state.
8 Myths About Botox® Injections
Medical Botox Injections

About The Author

Sarah Lewis is a pharmacist and a medical writer with over 25 years of experience in various areas of pharmacy practice. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from West Virginia University and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. She completed Pharmacy Practice Residency training at the University of Pittsburgh/VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. 
  1. BOTOX® (onabotulinumtoxinA). Allergan. http://www.allergan.com/products/medical_dermatology/botox.htm
  2. Botox Cosmetic (botulinum toxin type A). CenterWatch. https://www.centerwatch.com/drug-information/fda-approved-drugs/drug/772/botox-cosmetic-botulinum-to...
  3. Botox Prescribing Information. Allegan. http://www.allergan.com/assets/pdf/botox_pi.pdf
  4. Botulinum Toxin. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/botulinum-toxin.html#content
  5. Botulism. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/botulism/
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 17
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.