WTF? Using Botox for Sweat Prevention? What You Need to Know

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WTF? Using Botox for Sweat Prevention? What You Need to Know

Botox has become a mainstay in wrinkle prevention. It's non-surgical and instantaneous, but not without its share of controversy. Not to mention that too many treatments can leave you looking, well, emotionless. But now, Botox is being marketed to treat another beauty irritation: summer sweat. Here's why Botox for sweat prevention is a thing.

How Botox for Sweat Prevention Works

Botox can be injected into the skin to prevent severe underarm sweating known as axillary hyperhidrosis, which for those impacted, can be a truly embarrassing medical problem. To be clear, the treatment does not actually block the sweat glands, rather, it’s injected underneath the arms and all over the body to prevent the release of a chemical that signals for the body to sweat. After a few treatments, the results can last for up to a year.

Doctors can pinpoint an area that experiences a lot of sweating if a patient knows exactly where his or her sweat is coming from. But for most people it’s a less focused process. In fact, it takes quite a few shots to inject the 100 unit vial underneath the armpits, so a topical cream is applied beforehand to numb the area.

Does Botox for Sweat Prevention Really Work?

One study published the in British Journal of Dermatology showed that the procedure was effective for at least partially preventing sweat. Another study followed 322 patients with hyperactive sweat glands and found that the treatment reduced their sweat production by 55 percent.

These studies all involved people suffering from a condition called hyperhidrosis, which impacts just one percent of the population. Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that causes people to sweat even when the temperature is cool or they’re at rest. It’s a result of over-performing sweat glands and in some cases, can cause significant physical and emotional discomfort.

I spoke with one treatment recipient who didn’t want to give her name but said she had hyperhidrosis and it caused her debilitating anxiety. So much so that she didn’t want to leave her house. She was hesitant to get the treatment, but once she did, she finally felt free.

Is Botox For Sweat Prevention Safe?

The procedure was approved by the FDA in 2004 and it’s considered safe at least in the short term. But here’s the deal: The studies that have been done all involved patients with hyperhidrosis, or patients with over-performing sweat glands. Glands that sweat even when they weren’t supposed to. But this treatment should not be used to prevent normal sweating.

It's been found safe in the short term, but there’s still no way to know its long term impact on the body. Deadening the neurotransmitters that tell the body to release sodium, chloride, potassium, and water from the sweat glands may not be a good thing.

If you’ve been struggling with a medical condition that causes you to sweat all day, then on balance, this treatment might make sense to you. But if you don’t want to sweat at your cousin’s Louisiana summer wedding, well, that might not be a risk worth taking.

It should be noted that sweat serves an important role as the body’s own air conditioning system. Using a complex system of 2.6 million sweat glands, the body can produce around two pints of sweat an hour when necessary. The smell that comes from these rather raw areas isn’t actually caused by sweat. It’s caused by bacteria on the skin in combination with sweat. In fact, not only is sweat not the direct cause of the stench, one study published in the British Journal of Medicine found that it may actually contain antibacterial compounds that fight bad bacteria found on the skin's surface so that they can’t cause infection.

How to Stop Sweating Naturally

If you’re looking to reduce summer sweat a little more naturally, there are some steps that you can take to reduce sweating. Again, this is for normal sweat reduction.

1. Stay hydrated.

One of the easiest ways to keep body temperatures low is by drinking enough water.

2. Watch your diet.

While you may love a chili-laden taco or dousing your morning eggs with hot sauce, spicy foods along with hot drinks and alcohol can increase sweat.

3. Skip the coffee.

Hot drinks in general will make you sweat, but coffee is even worse. It can also make you anxious or nervous, which is likely to make you sweat.

4. Calm your nerves.

Avoid the excessive sweating that comes with stress by doing your best to stay calm. Breathe deeply, try meditation, or go for a run. Whatever activity works for you, staying calm keeps your sweat glands in check.

What do you think of using Botox for sweat reduction? Let us know via Twitter @OrganicAuthorit

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Image of couple with arms up via Shutterstock

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