Can You Fly After Botox Injections?

Some of the most common myths about Botox revolves around what you can and cannot do after receiving Botox injections. In fact, there are many mistruths that claim what you should and shouldn’t do after receiving a Botox treatment, especially regarding jetting off on holiday and flying after Botox. So, can patients fly after Botox injections?

A scan through search engine results and there are pages of results that tell you that you need to wait from anywhere between two days and two weeks after having Botox injections. All of them show a different story; however, none are backed up by scientific proof.

Why are we waiting?

Some practitioners recommend waiting after Botox injections before flying as there are false claims that the changes in air pressure in plane cabins can cause the Botox to move to other areas of the face. This misconception comes from a concern of the migration of the toxin through the orbital spectrum. However, the air pressure in a plane cabin is made to be similar to the air pressure on the ground. It is only the air pressure outside of the plane that is substantially different. With this in mind, there is no reason why air pressure changes should cause anything to move in the cabin, particularly not a dose of Botox in your facial muscles.

Secondly, the research that has been conducted has shown that the toxin is taken up by the facial muscles and nerves in just five minutes. This means that five minutes after the injection, the toxin should be fully in place and you are free to carry out your normal activities, including flying if you wish.

One thing that is recommended is to avoid applying pressure on the face straight after treatment, while the air pressure in an airplane cabin should not cause your Botox to move, physical manipulation of the face may not be entirely beneficial for your face and ensure the best results for treatment.

So yes, you can have Botox immediately before and after flying.

The lunchtime treatment

Botox has won the hearts of many fans for being the ten-minute wonder treatment. Unlike facelifts that require invasive surgery and extensive recovery time, Botox injections can take less than ten minutes to complete. After which, individuals can continue with their normal activities. The term of a lunchtime treatment is apt because clients can visit their practitioner during a lunch break and return to work, or hop on a plane, following the treatment without any adverse effects or noticeable differences.

It is important to note that while Botox treatment takes just ten minutes to carry out and again just ten minutes for the toxin to be taken up by the nerves in the face. However, this is only when the toxin can begin to take effect. As a result, the best results of your treatment will not be immediate and will not be seen after ten minutes.

Once Botox is taken up by the nerves, Botox then gets to work in paralysing the muscles in the face, enabling them to smooth out the wrinkles. This will usually start to take shape in a couple of days, although there may be more immediate signs. The best results will usually take around 14 days after treatment to take effect.

However, you do not have to wait a fortnight before you fly. Your treatment will develop while you are away.

Flying after Botox

While it is safe to fly straight after receiving Botox, flying can affect your skin in other ways. If you are on a long-haul flight, then you may notice that the skin’s appearance worsens. If you want to see the best results of your face, after any form of treatment, including Botox, then there are things you can do during a flight to protect and enhance your skin. There is nothing better than arriving straight off a plane looking fresh-faced and beautiful and, importantly, ready for action.

If you want to arrive on a trip looking fresh-faced, then these steps can help you to improve the look of your face after a flight and ensure you enhance your Botox treatment through your skincare regime.

  1. Cleanse

As you get on a flight, it is a good idea to remove any makeup, and a flight is an excellent opportunity to deep clean and nourish your skin. After all, you’ll have several hours to while away, it is the perfect opportunity for some skin TLC.

  1. Protect and Moisturise

The air in a plane has less oxygen and is recycled, which can cause free radical damage to the skin. Furthermore, the recycled air can dehydrate and deplete the moisture in the skin. Mist sprays are great for moisturising the skin regularly without heavy creams. However, a serum full of antioxidants can reduce the risk of free radical damage.

  1. Apply a mask and sleep

If you want to really indulge your skin, apply a face mask. A rub-in cream mask can help if you do not want to draw attention to yourself and keep your beauty regime discreet. Getting some shut-eye can help improve your skin too and keep you looking refreshed when you arrive.

The Problem With Botox Regulations

In the last three years, the number of official complaints regarding botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers has more than doubled. From 2017-18 there were 939 official complaints about cosmetic treatments, 224 of which were for problems with Botox (botulinum toxin) injections.

The rise in complaints is not because the product is unsafe. Botox has been approved by many regulatory agencies such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Instead, 83% of the complaints relate to the fact that treatments have been carried out by non-medical practitioners. As a result, there is a growing demand for regulations to be put in place to prevent non-medical practitioners from carrying out aesthetic treatments.

What regulations does Botox have?

The product containing botulinum toxin type A, such as brands like Botox and Azzalure, is a prescription-only medicine. As a result, only a trained healthcare professional should prescribe the medication. As a result, the regulations currently stipulate that the prescriber of the medicine is responsible for ensuring it is administered safely. However, the prescriber can delegate the administration of the medicine/treatment to someone else.

It is also possible for practitioners to acquire the medicine without a prescription, mainly through online distributors. However, the quality of the product may be substandard, and sadly, the patient will be the one at risk.

Government actions for Botox regulations

As a response to the rise in cosmetic treatment complaints and the fact that 47% of remedial work is needed for fixing botched treatments administered by non-medical professionals, the government launched a review in order to put proper regulations in place.

The government asked Health Education England (HEE) to develop a review of the framework for all aesthetic treatments, from facial peels to injectables. HEE recommended following the OFQUAL regulated levels of competence. With a Level 7 Certificate being the minimum level of certification for a practitioner offering safe, independent practice.

To achieve the Level 7 Certification, the practitioner must have a post-graduate level of knowledge, conduct regular practical training and pass practical examinations and produce a portfolio of evidence.

However, Level 7 Certification is not and will not be mandatory. Level 7 Certification is not a government regulation.

After the review by HEE, the Department of Health then called for a proper regulatory framework. This was supported by several organisations who want to improve standards and agreed to work together. The bodies were;

  • The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM)
  • British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN )
  • British Association of Dermatologists (BAD)
  • British Association of Aesthetic Surgeons (BAAPS)
  • British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS).

Following this, two independent bodies have been working together since March to enforce their regulations. This includes the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners and the Cosmetic Practitioner’s Standards Authority.

The problem with Botox regulations

The problem with this, however, is that there is no ‘organisational body’ that can prevent non-professionals working. This is because they are not medically qualified and therefore, are not answerable to a regulatory body.

Furthermore, the regulations do not stop unregistered practitioners but instead, push unregistered practitioners to go further underground. Struck off medical professionals, and unregulated online markets can make obtaining supplies easy. Without legislation, they cannot be stopped.

The government response

Despite the growing concerns for botched cosmetic treatment by non-medical professionals, the government has failed to sufficiently respond to any of the recommendations put forward and set. They have not made the Level 7 Certificate mandatory.

In some cases, the government may argue that they should not have to waste valuable funds on setting up a register that is, essentially, for elective, commercial cosmetic procedures. Furthermore, this could take away much-needed funds for the NHS, which is in dire need of funding to help patients with non-elective, necessary procedures.

Regulations in Scotland

Scotland has taken a harder stance to tackle botched treatments. As of April 2017, all clinics that provide non-surgical treatment independently must register with Health Improvement Scotland. Furthermore, the clinics must pay a fee of £1990 alongside abiding by the strict requirements of registration.

What next for Botox regulations?

Until formal regulation comes into force, we recommend following the Save Face Standards for Accreditation, which offers several routes that allow practitioners to join the register. Save Face recommended three qualification routes such as the Save Face Essential Training Curriculum, the Level 7 Certification and the Professional Non-Surgical Aesthetic Practice.

As a result, the Save Face practitioner finder will only connect individuals with practitioners who have been trained and qualified and are certified medical professionals.

At Dr Hennessy Cosmetic Academy, we actively support the introduction of tighter regulations to ensure only medical professionals can administer cosmetic treatments. This is why we only train medically, qualified individuals. However, we believe the regulations need to be more encompassing than simply following one qualification route and ensure that there is scope for non-medical professionals to be held accountable.