Botulinum Injections & Pain: Needle Size Matters

Botulinum toxin (BT) injections, commonly branded as Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin, are becoming an increasingly popular treatment for improving the appearance of wrinkles. However, the process can be painful and that pain prevents many people from trying or continuing the treatment. If you’re concerned that BT injections may be too painful, or if the pain from your previous BT injections is preventing you from receiving further sessions, this recent research may help!

hand with sterile glove is holding needled syringe
Credits: "Ewa Urban at Pixabay"

Botulinum toxin (BT) injections, commonly branded as Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin, are becoming an increasingly popular treatment for improving the appearance of wrinkles. However, the process can be painful and that pain prevents many people from trying or continuing the treatment. If a patient is concerned that BT injections may be too painful, or if the pain from previous BT injections is preventing them from receiving further sessions, this recent research may help! 

Most BT injections are done with very thin, 30-gauge needles, but a research group from Northwestern University set out to see if even thinner needles (32-gauge) could reduce the pain of the injections. For reference, this 32-gauge needle is more than 2 times thinner than the 30-gauge needle. 

In the study, twenty participants with mild to moderate wrinkles received BT injections on their forehead. Each participant had one half of his or her forehead injected with a 30-gauge needle while the other half was injected with the thinner 32-gauge needle. The participants did not know which needle was used on either side of their forehead. After the injections were made, the participants were asked to rate the pain they felt on each side. The thinner 32-gauge needle was rated as causing “clinically significant pain” in 15% of the participants while the 30-gauge needle caused “clinically significant pain” in 40% of the participants. 

In conclusion, if you’re worried about the pain caused by facial BT injections, try asking for a 32-gauge needle.

IDS Callout

* This Website is for general skin beauty, wellness, and health information only. This Website is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. The information provided on this Website should never be used to disregard, delay, or refuse treatment or advice from a physician or a qualified health provider.