Who Needs Botox, Anyway?
As beauty writer Julia Teen notes, “Botox is one of those beauty treatments that everyone has an opinion on. You’re either out and proud with your crinkle-free face, or you’re all aboard the anti-freeze brigade.” Oddly enough, Botox tends to be immensely polarizing, which can be dangerous in the midst of lots of misinformation. For the most part, people associate Botox with removing wrinkles. As Houston Botox expert Dr. Polsen explains, “wrinkles can be caused by the muscles under your skin. Essentially, muscle fibers and receptors contract, causing the skin to recede. Botox has a proven track record smoothing out fine lines and filling wrinkles for a more youthful, radiant appearance.”
Depending on your opinions about plastic surgery, you may or may not agree with the idea of using a paralytic to smooth the wrinkles in your skin. Varying opinions on beauty, aging, and appearance can cause some pretty vehement responses on both ends of the spectrum. However, this controversy can obscure the fact that Botox has some other very useful and very effective applications in the medical realm, from reducing migraine headaches to stopping urinary incontinence, curing muscle spasms, easing the pain of tennis elbow, and even providing a remedy for crossed eyes.
These days, an increasingly common usage of Botox is for sweat prevention. If you have a negative association with the idea of Botox or don’t know much about it, you might never have considered the drug as a way to halt excessive sweating in the underarm, upper lip, palms, or soles of your feet. Have you suffered your entire life from the anxiety caused by sweaty palms, or huge stains in the armpits of your shirts? As it turns out, Botox might just be the solution to your problem.
Botox For Sweat-Prevention 101
When we talk about armpit sweating, we’re not just thinking about a few drops of sweat on a hot summer day. If you suffer from hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, it means that your body can’t effectively thermoregulate and will sweat even when it is not hot. As the American Academy of Dermatology explains, “it’s necessary to sweat. Sweating cools the body, which prevents us from overheating. People who have hyperhidrosis, however, sweat when the body does not need cooling…this excessive sweating can interfere with everyday activities. Hands can be so sweaty that it becomes difficult to turn a doorknob or use a computer. Sweat from the underarms often soaks through clothes, causing obvious sweat marks. Because the skin is often wet, skin infections can develop.”
Phew! Sweating isn’t only aesthetically unpleasant, it can often be really uncomfortable for the sufferer. And on important days, like school picture day or your wedding day, sweating profusely is a horrible condition to be afflicted with.
Sherry Sanvictores of the Dr. Cassileith Practice in Beverly Hills notes that it is for these patients that Botox comes in handy: “Botox is FDA-approved for excessive armpit sweating. It is something that for most patients, antiperspirant or even prescription-grade antiperspirant doesn’t do the job.” Back in 2004, the FDA approved the drug (the full name is OnabotulinumtoxinA) for its ability to temporarily block the secretion of the chemical responsible for turning on the body’s sweat glands: “By blocking, or interrupting this chemical messenger, botulinum toxin “turns off” sweating at the area where it has been injected.” The toxin is injected just under the surface of the skin, and lasts for six months up to one year.
While different bodies experience different results, Botox can usually reduce sweating in the underarm area by up to 80%. Glamour writer Beth Shapouri, who tried out the treatment to avoid sweating at a friend’s wedding, notes that her perspiration seems to have been “evenly redistributed” throughout her whole body: She no longer needs antiperspirant on a daily basis, and notes that she now only really sweats when she goes to the gym (and the levels are much lower than they were previously.”
A few notes: Botox doesn’t work quite as well on all areas of the body. While it’s a great treatment for hands, it isn’t as effective on the soles of your feet as a result of the thicker skin. If used to reduce upper-lip sweating, it can be a tricky procedure to use enough Botox so that the sweating will cease, without freezing or immobilizing your upper lip (see one writer’s quest to stop upper-lip sweat here).
As always in the case of cosmetic surgery, it is absolutely imperative to find a surgeon who is experienced, has performed Botox surgeries in the past, and believes that Botox is the best option for your individual needs. If you’re interested in learning more about using Botox to prevent excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis, just let us know! We’d be happy to help direct you to a surgeon who can help.