Are anti-wrinkle injections safe?

By Dr. Aaron Stanes

Treatment guide

Discover the vital information you MUST know about anti-wrinkle injections with our detailed guide written by expert cosmetic doctors.


    The safety of anti-wrinkle injections is one of the most important considerations when deciding whether or not to proceed with treatment. Everything in life has risk, and anti-wrinkle injections are not exception. And while rare, you must always consider the impact a side effect would have on you.

    Risks of anti-wrinkle injections

    • Common side effects of anti-wrinkle injections include slight skin redness and local swelling. Bruising may also occur from time to time, especially when treating delicate areas, like around your eyes.
    • Uncommon side effects include temporary headaches, and eyebrow spocking (when treating forehead lines) which result from changes in how the treated muscles function.
    • Rare risks include dry eyes, and a droopy eyelid.

    How to reduce the risk of anti-wrinkle injections

    Reducing risks of anti-wrinkle injections is one of the top priorities of any cosmetic clinic worth going to. You can reduce the chance of side effects yourself by carefully following all preparation and aftercare instructions.

    A good clinician can reduce the risk of side effects by carefully designing and performing your anti-wrinkle treatment. During your appraisal, they will have in mind the potential pitfalls and problems that may arise, and have strategies to mitigate them.

    Cookie-cutter approaches often adopted by chain clinics generally have a higher risk of side effects, because they fail to anticipate potential problems, meaning they don’t adapt accordingly.

    What to do if you have a side effect from anti-wrinkle injections

    If you’ve been unfortunate enough to have a side effect from anti-wrinkle, it’s important to know your options. Many side effects from anti-wrinkle injections are mild, self-limiting, and resolve on their own.

    Swelling, redness and bruising can be reduced by gently applying a cold pack (wrapped in a tea towel to prevent a cold burn to your skin).

    Dry eyes can be managed with lubricating eye drops.

    Headaches can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief.

    Eyebrow spocking can be treated with a touch up treatment.

    A droopy eyelid may partially respond to treatment with specific prescription eyedrops, but for this side effect, time is the only way for it to resolve

    Will it happen again?

    If you’ve had a side effect once, of course it can happen again. However, we can reduce the risk by learning from the issues you’ve had previously, and adapt your future treatments accordingly. It’s always important to know what product was used, what dose you had, and the distribution of the injections. Good clinicians keep detailed records, and will be able to work with you to minimise risk and optimise your results across your treatment journey.

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