Botox for Sweating: How It Works and Why You Should Get It

Woman lying on the grass with her arms up

Only people who suffer from excessive sweating truly know how troublesome it is. If you dare to complain to a friend who does not understand it, they are likely to brush off your issue and advise on using the newest deodorant. If only it were that easy! You, unfortunately, know it is much more complicated than that. You’ve tried every deodorant and every antiperspirant from the shelf of the local drug store; you’ve even ordered some online in hope they will be the solution to your problem. But those products are mostly not meant for you, but for your friend who only sweats during an extensive workout, or when the temperature is so high you wish you had gills. “So is that it?” you ask yourself and the world. Are you just destined to leave puddles of sweat wherever you go? Not necessarily, enter Botox for hyperhidrosis.

Woman relaxing on the couch, leaning on her arms

What is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. It’s not sweating on a sweltering day that leaves your T-shirt damp in some places: it’s sweating that causes real and embarrassing problems, as all people who suffer from it know.

In normal conditions, sweating is a natural process that helps keep the body cool. In people with hyperhidrosis, sweating occurs throughout the day during normal daily activity, and very often a simple deodorant doesn’t help. If you’re left with sweat patches within half an hour of leaving the house, a better solution needs to be explored.

Excessive sweating is relatively common, so you’re not alone – far from it. It can affect your whole body or just specific areas. There are many underlying causes for excessive sweating – it could occur due to another condition you have, as a side effect of some medication, or for no easily detected reason. Sometimes it can get better with age, but that doesn’t mean you should just sit and wait.

Since the problem is not cosmetic, but medical, you can ask your doctor for a prescription deodorant that may help. Or you can use Botox!

That’s right, the popular treatment for wrinkles and lines can also work with heavy sweating and results last for up to a year.

What Is Botox?

Botox, a familiar name of the Botulinum toxin, is a drug that temporarily paralyzes muscles. This feature of Botox is most known when it comes to reducing wrinkles, which become temporarily smooth when the muscle beneath the skin is paralyzed. But Botox can also be used to treat the sweats glands of the skin and when it is injected superficially a sweat free result can last for up to twelve months.

What Should I Expect from Botox for Sweating?

If you suffer from severe underarm sweating, sweaty palms or sweaty soles of the feet, and topical medicines do not ease the problem, you are the right candidate for Botox for sweating!

When injected into the armpits, hands or soles of the feet, Botox blocks the secretion of the chemical that activates sweat glands, thus stopping your excessive sweating. The FDA approved this procedure in 2004, and ever since, Botox has become a go-to treatment in people with hyperhidrosis.

The procedure is FDA approved for those who sweat from their armpits, though it may be used to reduce sweating in areas such as hands, feet, or face.

During the treatment, your injector will mark dots in your armpits and then inject the drug. It usually takes around 50 units of Botox per armpit.

Where Is Botox Used?

As we mentioned, the FDA has approved Botox only for the treatment of underarm sweating so far. However, it may be used “off-label” to treat other areas. This means that no extensive research has been done on Botox use in other areas for hyperhidrosis, but the few studies that have been conducted show that Botox is quite successful in treating sweaty palms, while it’s less successful in treating forehead sweat. Limited research has been done of Botox for sweating of feet, because the thick skin of feet makes them more resistant to numbing agents, and injecting feet is painful. The procedure can be done for those who are truly suffering and your practitioner can determine if this treatment is right for you.

How Exactly Can Botox Beat Sweating?

Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, is any sweating out of proportion to what is required to regulate body temperature. You know: sweating when it’s cold, sweating at rest or sweating at night. Ouch! Sweat production requires the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to activate the sweat glands. When injected, Botox temporarily inhibits the release of acetylcholine, which prevents the hyperstimulation of the sweat glands. The result is minimized or even complete cessation of sweating in those areas where Botox is injected.

The mechanism is fairly similar to Botox for wrinkles, with the big difference being that when Botox is injected for wrinkle erasure it is injected into the belly of a muscle that is causing a wrinkle, but when injected for sweating, Botox is injected into the sweat glands of the skin over the area of hyperhydrosis. Here, Botox will intercept the message telling the glands to secrete sweat and keep the area dry.

You might ask: but if sweating is necessary to keep me from overheating and control my bodily temperature, how does that work when I’ve been injected with Botox? Great question! Botox works only where it is injected, and there are sweat glands throughout the skin that can be used for temperature control. This means that while it will stop sweating in the underarm area, it will not affect sweating in other areas. Your body can go on sweating in other places to regulate the temperature!

Woman with her arms up, Botox for underarm sweating

What Is The Process Like?

Armpit hair can get in the way of topical numbing cream penetration so shaving 1-2 day before you appointment can make your experience more comfortable. A freshly shaven armpit can be injected but waiting 24h is ideal to reduce bacteria in the area.

The entire process takes about a half an hour.

Your injector will assess the area and mark dots where he or she will inject Botox.

They may use a topical anaesthetic, such as a numbing cream. They will then clean the area and make injections with a tiny needle.

You’ll start seeing your results (AKA no sweating!) in several days, and full results will be on display after two weeks.

Around that time, you should pop back into the clinic for a follow-up appointment, where your injector can perform any “touch-ups” of missed spots.

The dryness usually lasts six-twelve months, and then you will need another treatment. If you continue doing the treatments, though, you can usually go longer between treatments over time! Note, however, that exercise and stress can accelerate your body’s metabolic response to Botox, i.e. break it down faster.

How Do I Prepare for the Treatment?

As we mentioned, your injector will usually ask you to stay away from shaving for one to two days before the appointment. They will also ask you to stop taking any blood thinners for a few days if medically possible – this is a common request for any Botulinum toxin procedure, and it is meant to prevent bruising.

Will I Have To Use Deodorant After Botox for Sweating?

This is most likely a yes. While Botox will decrease your sweating dramatically, the odor will probably stay. The armpit contains apocrine sweat glands that contribute to body odor. Your armpits will be mostly dry, but you may still have to use a deodorant due to smell. The smell, unfortunately, stays even with the minimal or no sweat, and it is often bacterial or chemical.

Woman at the seaside with her arms up, Botox for armpit sweating

Are There Any Risks or Side Effects in Botox for Sweating?

Even though Botox for sweating is FDA approved, like any drug, it can exhibit side effects.

Firstly, you should not get Botox if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have a neuromuscular disorder such as ALS. Do not get Botox for excessive sweating if you are allergic to any of its ingredients, or have had an allergic reaction to any other Botulinum toxin product in the past. Furthermore, you should avoid injections if you have a skin infection at the site you planned to inject.

You should inform your injector about any medicines, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. They should also know if you received Botox or another Botulinum toxin product in the past several months.

Botox can result in muscle weakness in the hands, so if that’s something that may affect your career and/or lifestyle, you should avoid it.

While your sweating will stop, there is the issue of smell we mentioned, so make sure to still have some deodorant with you.

Even though side effects from Botox for sweating are rare, they can happen. When they occur, they are usually minimal, and people handle them well. The most common side effects are pain and/or bruising at the injection site, and they can be treated with over-the-counter medication.

More severe side effects from Botox include problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing; muscle tiredness or weakness; vision problems; allergic reactions such as rash, itching, dizziness; loss of bladder control; headaches and neck pain. Please let your injector know if you exhibit any of these.

How Much Does Botox for Sweating Cost?

People usually require about 100 units of Botox for underarm sweat. At Vibrant Skin Bar in Phoenix, this will cost around $1,200.

The total cost will depend upon the size of the body area you want to treat, the number of areas you are having treated at the same visit, as well as other circumstances.

The benefit of having injections in a clinic such as Vibrant Skin Bar is that your injectors are certified professionals with ample experience who use the right amount of product, thus minimizing potential risks and side effects!

Does Insurance Cover Botox for Sweating?

Some insurance companies do insure for Botox for excessive sweating. Make sure to talk the issue through with your injector and check with your insurance company.

Am I a Good Candidate for Botox for Sweating?

To get Botox for hyperhidrosis, you need to be at least 18, and you should have tried other methods for fighting excessive sweating. If you explored sweat proof clothing and prescription antiperspirants to no avail, you are a good candidate for Botox injections.

Conclusion

For people who suffer from hyperhidrosis, Botox injections can be a lifesaver. If you sweat so much that it’s been a problem in everyday life, undergoing a Botox treatment will genuinely help you live your life with no hassle (all those times when you were trying to find deodorant in a full purse!) and no embarrassment. Repeated Botox treatments are safe and effective, and most often result in meaningful improvements in your symptoms, which then leads to an improved quality of life.