You’re considering Botox injections for excessive sweating? Of course you are, it’s summertime! Time to hang with friends, go for a dip in the pool, take part in outdoor sports, and…yes, sweat.
For most people, taking part in activities that make you sweat, or having a little nervous sweat before a presentation is no big deal.
But for people who suffer from hyperhidrosis, the hot months of summer and all of its outdoor activities can be a nightmare. And the nightmare is never-ending because it lasts all year long.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. If you have hyperhidrosis, then you know that we’re not just talking about sweaty armpits. We’re talking excessive sweating from the armpits, feet, hands, head and face (craniofacial), and even under the breasts. It can happen anytime, and it happens frequently. Unfortunately, many people who experience excessive sweating try to hide it and are ashamed to talk about it.
There are two kinds of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary.
When diagnosing the kind of hyperhidrosis you have, doctors start by ruling out or treating secondary hyperhidrosis. This is sweating that’s a symptom of, or caused by, another underlying medical condition. It can also be a side effect of a medication. If secondary hyperhidrosis is ruled out, then a diagnosis of primary hyperhidrosis can be verified by looking at
- age of onset
- bilateral (both sides of the body) sweating on palms, feet, face/scalp and/or underarms
- cessation during sleep
- occurrence of two or more episodes per week for the past 6+ months
- family history
- how it affects your ability to function
The problem with hyperhidrosis is that it’s very difficult to control. Antiperspirant won’t cut it if you have severe primary hyperhidrosis.
The good news is that, in 2004, the FDA approved Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA) for the treatment of severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the underarms) in patients unable to obtain relief using antiperspirants.
Let’s take a deep dive into how you can find relief using Botox for hyperhidrosis. Then you can decide if Botox is the treatment you’ve been waiting for.
Botox Injections: the Basics
You’ve probably heard all kinds of things about Botox. You may have heard that it’s poisonous or that it will freeze your facial muscles into a look of shock and awe. These are myths based on partial truths.
Yes, Botox is a botulinum toxin. This neurotoxin is produced by the bacteria that causes Botulism. But that doesn’t mean that using Botox will give you Botulism. Botox botulinum toxin is purified and injected in tiny doses in specific areas to temporarily reduce muscle contractions for approximately three months.
We know it sounds counterintuitive to inject a toxin into your skin. But it can work, and work well. It also helps address a number of conditions.
Botox for Hyperhidrosis: How it Works
Botox is a natural, purified protein that temporarily blocks the secretion of the chemical that is responsible for “switching on” your body’s sweat glands. By blocking this chemical messenger, Botox can stop sweating in the area where it’s been injected.
Research has shown that treating hyperhidrosis of the armpits, hands, feet, head and face (craniofacial), and other relatively small body areas with Botox is safe and effective. Here are the stats:
Studies have shown to result in an 82-87% decrease in sweating.
Results are noticeable in approximately two to four days, and the full effects are usually visible in two weeks.
Effects typically last 4 to 12 months.
For the hands
Research shows that Botox is 80-90% effective for excessive hand sweating, and repeat injections are needed after six months to maintain results. Using Botox to treat sweaty hands may cause temporary pain and weakness in the hands.
For the feet
Botox can also be used to treat excessive sweating of the feet. Patients report more pain during foot injections. And statistics show that Botox is less effective on the feet than when used for other areas of the body.
Botox treatment for hyperhidrosis is safe and effective and consistently results in meaningful, long-lasting improvements in symptoms. This improves daily functioning, quality of life, and on-the-job productivity.
You may be thinking: “Wait a second. Don’t I have to sweat to keep my body temperature at healthy levels?” Yes, it’s true that sweating is for temperature control, but only a small percentage of the body’s sweat glands are in localized body areas. For example, the underarms house less than 2% of the body’s sweat glands. This means that using Botox to treat hyperhidrosis will not affect your body’s ability to self-regulate its temperature.
Botox Injections and Cost
Without insurance, Botox can become costly. The cost of Botox for hyperhidrosis will vary depending upon the treatment area and whether your insurance will cover the treatment. Generally speaking, the cost of injections for two underarms is about $1,000. Botox is not a cure for hyperhidrosis, so you will need to get follow-up injections to maintain dryness. Most people find that repeat injections may be required at any time from seven to 16 months.
As you can see, the cost of multiple treatments can add up quickly. But there are ways that you can bring down the cost of Botox treatments.
Like many other providers, we are taking part in an incredible new program from Allergan called Alle.
Alle offers “incentives” for patients who regularly use Botox, Fillers, CoolSculpting, Latisse, Hormone Replacement Therapy, and Sclerotherapy. The more money you spend, the more you can save.
Botox is delivered as an injection using a needle and syringe. The needle used to administer Botox injections is tiny, so you will probably need many more injections than you had anticipated.
Botox treatments are performed in the office. A cosmetic Botox treatment should take about 20 minutes, although the first treatment might take a little longer because of paperwork, etc. Your provider will use a thin needle to inject tiny amounts of botulinum toxin into your skin or muscles. The number of injections you receive depends on what you are being treated for and the size of the area being treated.
On the other hand, Botox injections usually aren’t very painful. But there are circumstances where you might want your provider to numb your skin before they get started. This can be accomplished using topical anesthesia, ice, or massage. After the procedure, you can return to your daily activities. To help prevent the toxin from spreading to a different area, avoid rubbing the treated area for 24 hours.
When used to treat hyperhidrosis, underarm injections can be performed in about 10 minutes. The only post-treatment restrictions are to refrain from intensive exercise or the use of a sauna on the day of your appointment. Prior to injections in the underarms, avoid shaving the underarms for 4-5 days.
Is Botox Safe?
The FDA would not have approved Botox if it were not safe. But you should always visit a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon for Botox injections. If your injections aren’t prepared according to FDA standards or an inexperienced doctor injects them, you put yourself at risk of adverse side effects.
People with certain conditions or sensitivities should avoid using Botox for any reason. These include
- a known sensitivity or allergy to botulinum toxin
- a history of Botulism
- any sign of infection at or near the injection site
- neurological conditions that make you prone to muscle weakness, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or myasthenia gravis
- pregnancy or breastfeeding
Botox Injections and Side Effects
Although most people tolerate Botox well and it’s very safe when you visit an experienced practitioner, there are still some side effects that you should know about.
In 3-10% of patients, short-term side effects of Botox for hyperhidrosis include
- soreness, bleeding, or swelling at the injection site
- sweating in other parts of the body
- weakness in hands when used to treat the hands
These side effects tend to be caused by nothing more than injecting a foreign substance into your body and should go away after a day or two. These types of side effects come from the Botox itself and can take several weeks to subside.
Botox: the Solution for Your Excessive Sweating
Ready to dry out? If you feel that Botox is the right treatment for your hyperhidrosis, it’s crucial to find a provider who has training, experience, and success in administering Botox injections.
Our EVEXIAS Medical Center and Aesthetic Laser Specialists have years of experience providing treatments designed to enhance your daily life and make you look and feel younger, including Botox injections. Our highly experienced staff will make sure they administer your treatments correctly. Contact us for an appointment today!