You know you need to return for Botox® every 3-4 months to keep your skin smooth and new wrinkles at bay—and after 9 months of pregnancy, you’re likely itching to get back on your schedule. But for mothers who breastfeed, there is the question of whether Botox is safe while nursing a baby. Below, we explain why most of our patients avoid Botox and fillers during breastfeeding, and some alternatives to use instead.
But first: what exactly is Botox, how does it work, and is it dangerous?
What is Botox?
Botox is a purified protein—Botulinum toxin—taken from the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. When injected into the muscle, Botox temporarily relaxes the muscle by blocking nerve signals to the local area before being gradually metabolized by the body. This makes Botox useful cosmetically for softening wrinkles in the face, as well as for medical applications such as calming nerve spasms or stopping excessive sweating in the hands, underarms, or feet.
While it is extracted from the dangerous live bacteria, Botox contains none of the bacteria itself; you cannot get sick with botulism from Botox injections.
Botox is injected into the muscle to temporarily relax wrinkles. It is not thought to affect your body beyond the injection area.
There are a number of neuromodulator formulas with different brand names: Botox, Xeomin®, Dysport®, Jeuveau®, and the brand-new Daxxify™ are all very similar products, with small variations, used for the same cosmetic and medical purposes. At our Colorado Springs medical spa, we offer Botox, Dysport, and Jeuveau.
Is Botox safe while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Botox during pregnancy
While studies of Botox during pregnancy have not been conducted for ethical reasons, a 2016 retrospective study looked at data for women who got Botox while pregnant or within 3 months before becoming pregnant. It found that fetal defects occurred at the same rate for mothers who had Botox as it does in the general population.
Unfortunately, this was a small study of less than 200 mothers and babies, and it does not offer enough evidence to justify using Botox while pregnant or breastfeeding. Still, this research is a start, and may put your mind at ease if you had Botox before you knew you were pregnant.
Botox during lactation
Likewise, there is no solid research analyzing whether the active ingredient in neuromodulators ends up in mothers’ breast milk. But according to the LactMed database, which covers the effects of certain medications on breast milk and nursing babies, “[Botox] is not detectable systemically after intramuscular use, thus excretion into breast milk is considered unlikely.” So while we don’t have the data to show hands-down that it is safe or unsafe, it is unlikely that Botox-type injectables spread beyond the injection area.
Because there are no large-scale safety studies, we recommend avoiding Botox and other anti-wrinkle injectables during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Simply because the research is very limited, most physicians will advise you to err on the side of caution and wait until you are no longer breastfeeding to visit your medical spa for cosmetic injections. If you are thinking of receiving Botox while breastfeeding, talk with your OB-GYN to weigh the pros and cons for you, your body, and your baby.
How long after I give birth do I need to wait before can I get Botox?
As a precaution, it is best to wait until you are finished breastfeeding to receive Botox injections. If you are not nursing, then you can safely receive Botox at any time post-partum.
Do I need to pump and dump after Botox? How long after Botox can you breastfeed?
No data exists to support pumping-and-dumping for any length of time as a solution to make Botox safe while breastfeeding. We know that Botox tends to act locally on the muscle where it was injected for 3-4 months before effects fade. But more research is needed to know if Botox can potentially spread to breast milk, how long it could stay there if so, and whether or not it may affect nursing infants.
Can I get dermal fillers while I’m breastfeeding?
As with Botox, there is no research establishing the safety of dermal filler injections during breastfeeding, so neither is FDA-approved or recommended by most doctors for use during lactation.
Our physician-led medical spa team is here to help you develop a skincare regimen and treatment plan that is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Most dermal fillers like Juvéderm® and Restylane® are composed of hyaluronic acid gel and lidocaine, a numbing agent; the filler is unlikely to affect your system beyond the injection area, but lacking any large-scale studies on the effects of dermal filler on breastfeeding mothers, we advise patients to wait for all cosmetic injectables until they are no longer breastfeeding. Instead, our medical spa offers many effective alternatives to dermal fillers and Botox that are safe during breastfeeding.
What can I use instead of Botox to combat wrinkles while breastfeeding?
Just because Botox isn’t advised does not mean that you have to stop caring about your appearance and your skin! There are a number of Botox alternatives and skincare products that are safe to use while breastfeeding.
Alternatives to Botox during breastfeeding
Our PureLee Redefined medical spa team recommends taking a holistic and multi-faceted approach to skincare during breastfeeding, including measures for whole-body health:
- Sunscreen and Skincare: Wear sunscreen daily as part of your skincare routine (we recommend a mineral-based formula during pregnancy and breastfeeding). A gentle cleanser and hydrating moisturizer are also key components of a skincare routine that keeps your skin balanced and healthy. Avoid skincare with active ingredients not recommended while pregnant or breastfeeding, like retinol and salicylic acid. If you are unsure what you can use, schedule a consultation with your aesthetician or aesthetic provider to discuss skin care during lactation. We carry a range of skincare products from brands like ZO® Skin Health to help you find the perfect formulas.
- Nutrition and Hydration: Stay well-hydrated and eat a nutritious diet consisting of mostly whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to promote full-body health. Also, be sure to take any vitamins, minerals, or other supplements recommended by your doctor.
- Facials and Laser: Visit PureLee Redefined medical spa for regular facials! We offer numerous options that are both effective at keeping skin glowing and safe for breastfeeding mothers, including dermaplaning, HydraFacial, and certain light chemical peels. Post-partum, many of our patients complain of dull-looking skin, and all of these options can help to refresh your glow. We also can help treat melasma, or hormone-related hyperpigmentation of the face.
Some facials, including dermaplaning and HydraFacial, are also safe to use during pregnancy. Schedule your skincare consultation today to learn about your options from our experienced aesthetic providers.
Enhance your glow and feel pampered at our Colorado Springs medspa
To learn about options to enhance your glow safely, schedule your consultation at PureLee Redefined in Colorado Springs. Led by board-certified doctors Dr. Kenya and Dr. Marvin, we have the tools and experience to offer you effective treatments…while also allowing you to relax and be pampered! We are dedicated to treating you in a holistic manner to help you look and feel more refreshed. Call (719) 452-8541 or contact us online today to get started.