Excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, is more than just an inconvenience–it’s a medical condition that can affect your quality of life. Whether you’re dealing with overactive sweat glands in your underarm area, palms, or feet, you’ve probably tried everything from over-the-counter antiperspirants to prescription-grade deodorants.
If you’re looking for a lasting solution to excess sweating, Botox for hyperhidrosis is an FDA-approved, effective treatment option. Discover how these injections can help you stay dry and cool, all day long.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive sweating, significantly beyond what is required to regulate body temperature. Sweat is the body’s natural cooling system, regulated by the nervous system. When the body gets too warm, sweat glands are triggered to secrete sweat, which then evaporates from the surface of the skin and helps lower your body temperature.
In cases of hyperhidrosis, the nerves that signal the sweat glands are hyperactive. This overactivity leads to excessive sweating, even when it’s not needed for temperature regulation. Areas commonly affected include the armpits, palms, and soles of the feet, although it can occur in other areas of the body as well. This excessive sweating can interfere with daily activities and may negatively impact quality of life.
There are two main types of hyperhidrosis:
Focal Hyperhidrosis: Also known as primary hyperhidrosis, this type affects specific areas of the body, such as the underarms (axilla), palms, or soles of the feet. Focal hyperhidrosis is usually not caused by other medical conditions and can begin in childhood or adolescence.
Secondary Hyperhidrosis: This type is often the result of another medical condition or the side effects of medication. Unlike focal hyperhidrosis, it typically causes excessive sweating all over the body.
How Does Botox Treat Hyperhidrosis?
Botox Cosmetic is a brand name for botulinum toxin A, which is a purified protein derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Other brands now available in the US include Dysport and Jeuveau. While botulinum toxin is widely known for its use in aesthetic procedures to smooth wrinkles and fine lines, it has a variety of other applications. One of these is the treatment of hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating.
Botox temporarily blocks the chemical signals from the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands. When these nerves can’t signal the sweat glands, the result is reduced sweating in the treated areas.
Multiple clinical trials have found that Botox is a safe, effective treatment for hyperhidrosis. Allergan recently completed a clinical development program that found Botox significantly reduced primary axillary hyperhidrosis, minimized the daily negative impact of the condition, and improved patients’ emotional wellbeing for 6 months or longer.
Benefits of Getting Botox for Hyperhidrosis
- Long-Lasting Relief: Unlike over-the-counter deodorants or prescription antiperspirants that use chloride to temporarily block sweat, Botox provides long-lasting relief for up to six months.
- Minimal Downtime: The treatment is quick, and anesthetic options are available to make the process more comfortable. You can return to your daily activities immediately after.
- Enhanced Quality of Life: No more worrying about underarm sweating or sweaty palms affecting your social or professional life.
Are You a Good Candidate?
Individuals aged 18 or older with focal hyperhidrosis—excessive sweating that’s limited to a specific area of the body—are often good candidates. Typically, Botox is recommended as a second-line treatment for hyperhidrosis, meaning you’ve already tried a prescription antiperspirant.
Botox can treat:
- Axillary hyperhidrosis (underarm)
- Palmar hyperhidrosis (palms of the hands)
- Plantar hyperhidrosis (bottoms of the feet)
- Frontal hyperhidrosis (forehead)
Contraindications include pregnancy or breastfeeding, neurological disorders, and active skin infections at the potential injection site.
If your sweating is caused by an underlying medical condition or a medication you take, we recommend working with your doctor to treat the root cause of the problem before trying Botox.
What’s It Like to Get Botox for Hyperhidrosis?
First, you’ll have an initial consultation with a healthcare provider well-versed in dermatology and Botox treatments. This is the time to discuss your symptoms, your medical history, and your treatment goals to ensure that Botox is the right choice for you.
On the day of the procedure, you may be offered a topical anesthetic to numb the injection site, although this isn’t always necessary given the fine needles used for the treatment. The healthcare provider will then perform a ‘sweat test,’ a simple method to identify the areas of excessive sweat production. This helps in the precise administration of Botox injections.
Once the problem areas are identified, a series of small Botox injections are made just under the skin in a grid-like pattern. You might feel a quick prick or a slight stinging sensation, but most patients describe the process as tolerable, and it is generally completed in less than an hour. Each injection is filled with a small amount of botulinum toxin that will work to block nerve signals to your sweat glands, effectively reducing the sweating in the treated area.
Recovery & aftercare
After the treatment, you can generally go about your day as usual, although it’s recommended to avoid strenuous activities and direct sunlight for a short period. Some patients may experience slight bruising or soreness at the injection site, but these are typically minor and subside quickly.
The full effects of Botox for hyperhidrosis usually become apparent 2–7 days post-treatment. At this point, you’ll notice a significant reduction in sweating in the treated areas, which can bring a welcome relief and a boost in your quality of life. The effects are not permanent but can last up to six months, at which point you may choose to schedule a follow-up treatment.
Potential side effects
Like any cosmetic procedure, this treatment carries some risk of side effects. Common side effects are localized to the injection site and can include soreness, bruising, or mild swelling. These usually dissipate within a few days. In rare cases, you might experience muscle weakness in the treated area, but this is temporary.
The use of Botox for sweating is FDA approved, indicating its safety and efficacy. However, to ensure this treatment is appropriate for you, discuss your medical condition and any concerns you may have with your provider. Additionally, be sure to visit a qualified medical professional such as a dermatologist for best results.
The Cost Factor
The cost of Botox for treating hyperhidrosis can vary and is often dependent on the number of injections of botulinum toxin needed. Insurance might cover the treatment if it’s for a diagnosed medical condition like hyperhidrosis. Please contact us for more detailed information on the cost of Botox and any available specials.
Botox vs. Surgical Procedures
Hyperhidrosis can also be treated with a surgical procedure called subcutaneous curettage, which involves the removal of sweat glands from the affected area. This treatment option is more invasive than Botox and is usually considered when other treatments have failed or are not suitable.
When comparing Botox and subcutaneous curettage for hyperhidrosis, several factors come into play. Botox is less invasive and has fewer risks compared to subcutaneous curettage. It also requires less recovery time, as patients can continue with their regular schedule immediately after treatment. However, the effects of Botox are temporary and the treatment needs to be repeated every few months
On the other hand, subcutaneous curettage offers a more permanent solution to hyperhidrosis. However, it is more invasive and carries more risks, including the risk of scarring
Hyperhidrosis can be a challenging and often embarrassing condition to live with, but you don’t have to manage it alone. Whether you’re dealing with focal, primary, or secondary hyperhidrosis, there are effective treatment options available, including Botox injections.
By blocking nerve signals responsible for sweat production, Botox and other neurotoxins offer a proven and effective treatment for excessive sweating in targeted areas like the underarms. While some side effects are possible, the procedure is generally well-tolerated and results can last for up to 6 months.
By addressing this condition, you’re taking an important step toward improving your quality of life.