- Where can Botox® be used to stop sweat?
- How does Botox® for hyperhidrosis work?
- Is Botox® safe as a sweating solution? What about side effects?
- Has Botox® been proven to work as a sweat blocker?
- Do Botox® injections hurt?
- How much does Botox® for hyperhidrosis cost?
- Why pay for Botox® treatments when miraDry® can solve sweat in one or two treatments?
- Botox® is a great option for sweating treatments, but not the only one
We are a Vancouver area clinic (in Surrey), offering multiple sweating treatments, especially for hyperhidrosis patients. Botox® for hyperhidrosis is one of the solutions we offer, but it’s certainly not the only one out there.
In our time, we’ve seen several people affected by excess sweat. It can take a toll on one’s confidence and emotional state, for sure. So naturally, doctors and scientists have worked to come up with solutions for populations that need sweat help.
Some of these solutions don’t require that a person be officially diagnosed with hyperhidrosis. They are safe enough for otherwise healthy people, who simply want to reduce sweat for convenience.
But, these solutions range in terms of price, effectiveness and convenience factors. When it comes to Botox® for hyperhidrosis, one can ask: is it worth it?
Whether or not Botox® is an investment or a flop for you will depend a lot on your body’s biology and your personal values. So, the answer can be different for everyone.
We’ll attempt to answer this question by explaining how Botox® works, the situations it helps with, and the factors you should consider before choosing this option as a sweat stopper.
Where can Botox® be used to stop sweat?
Most of the time, excess perspiration occurs on the following areas, where Botox® can be injected:
- The palms of hands and feet (for palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis).
- The underarm area (for axillary hyperhidrosis).
- The head, especially the forehead (for craniofacial hyperhidrosis).
- The gentials and anal fold.
Technically, however, it can be used anywhere in an ‘off-label’ or approved application (by a doctor). It is the same product used for joint and muscle pain, for instance, or on the face to smooth wrinkles.
How does Botox® for hyperhidrosis work?
To understand how Botox® affects sweat, it may help to understand hyperhidrosis first. We give a primer on this subject, here.
As with all its applications, Botox® works by blocking nerve signals near the area it is injected (which is usually just below the skin’s surface).
Believe it or not, sweat – especially severe hyperhidrosis sweat – is controlled by the nervous system. Using Botox®, doctors can block the overactive signals that tell your body to trigger sweat glands. This essentially stops water release through your skin, in a designated spot.
Sessions take about 15 minutes. The substance begins working about two weeks later. It lasts for 4 to 12 months at a time (see more below). After this point, another injection will be needed to maintain its effectiveness.
Is Botox® safe as a sweating solution? What about side effects?
Botox® is an injectable botulinum toxin called onabotulinumtoxinA (there are other types that act similarly to this drug). It is highly diluted, and adapted for medical purposes. It’s not like injecting botulism into your body, don’t worry. It is safe when administered by a licensed, trained physician (and of course, when you are screened for potential side effects).
In fact, Botox is FDA-approved to treat excessive underarm sweat. Several other countries approve its use, too.
This drug is used in medicine for several other purposes. It can prevent eye twitching, migraine headaches, and a lot more. In fact, it has been used medically since 1977, long before it became popular as a wrinkle treatment.
See more on our blog:
After being injected, Botox® also targets local neurotransmitters related to muscle activity. However, these are different from the neurotransmitters that cause you to feel sensations on your skin. This is how it can treat health conditions without affecting long-term quality of life for patients (some people may feel a loss of localized strength, mobility or soreness for a short while after treatments).
Many people ask whether or not the body needs to sweat in the areas where Botox® is used to block sweat signals. The answer is no, not really. These areas hold such a small percentage of your body’s total sweat glands that preventing their excessive activity won’t change much. Your body will simply redirect water through other sweat glands. It will continue to thermoregulate, as needed. You can read more about this, here.
The most important safety consideration when seeking Botox® treatments for hyperhidrosis, is the quality and training of the provider you choose. When Botox® is injected improperly, it can cause local paralysis, a drooping eyebrow, or other issues. These are usually temporary, lasting up to a year (until the ingredient dissipates from the body). However, they are also avoidable, so why risk it at all?
It should also go without saying that sanitation and proper medical protocols should be in place when receiving this treatment. Never opt for a ‘fly-by-night’ or ‘basement’ provider of this service, no matter how cheap it is.
Always choose a licensed physician, and one who has been trained to administer Botox® (not all doctors receive this education). Better yet, pick one with plenty of experience, too.
Has Botox® been proven to work as a sweat blocker?
Yes, it has!
In one scientific study, Botox® for hyperhidrosis improved resting armpit sweat rates by 80%. This was the rate when it was tested three months after administering the treatment. It also improved exercise sweat rates by 88%.
Moreover, this subject has been scientifically studied at least 20 times. It shows great success as a long-term perspiration treatment, with little to no side effects (barring extenuating circumstances, such as pre-existing conditions or allergies, which are rare).
The drying effects of Botox® in the armpits can last up to 14 months (in rare cases). The general range is between 4 to 10 months (each person metabolizes the substance at different rates).
In the palms of hands and feet, Botox® has also been shown to be effective. It can reduce sweat in these areas by about 80-90%, and for roughly 4 to 12 months (with a maximum of 6 months being more common).
Finally, in the forehead, Botox® can reduce sweat by up to 75%, for about 5 months.
Botox® is safer and less painful than some other sweating treatments. It is certainly more effective than prescription antiperspirants.
Do Botox® injections hurt?
Yes and no.
Most of the time pain is an issue in the palms of hands and feet, since they are sensitive areas to begin with. It’s not easy to get poked with a needle in such delicate spots! Soreness can last a couple days. Some people say they experience muscle weakness for about two weeks.
Now, the needle injections in this procedure are like little ‘pokes.’ They don’t go very deep into the skin. Botox® is typically delivered through insulin needles, which diabetics use all the time. When used for wrinkles, migraines, jaw clenching, joint pain or other conditions, rarely is the pain so severe that anaesthetic is required.
However, several solutions exist for those who feel a lot of pain from needles. These include topical anesthetic, mixing Botox® with lidocaine before injecting it, vibration techniques, icing and so on. If you are very concerned about pain from Botox® injections, you should bring this up with your doctor before your treatment.
How much does Botox® for hyperhidrosis cost?
Most providers of Botox® price based on ‘units.’ This is a term used to measure the amount of its liquid that is dispensed in a given area. Generally, the larger the area is to be treated, the more units are needed. Sometimes, the severity of a condition can also determine how much of this drug is needed.
When it comes to sweating treatments, a doctor first must analyze where your ‘hot spots’ are, and how far they reach. This can tell them how much Botox® will be needed for your case. It can be different for each person. A pre-treatment consultation should give you an accurate quote.
Generally, we can say that people who seek this treatment spend at least $1,000 per session, though it is usually between $1,000 and $1,500 for both underarms, in most cases. This is not to be taken as a definite quote, and please note that pricing can change at any time. Pricing also depends on the clinic you choose, as well as any coverage you may have.
Most governmental health plans in Canada won’t cover the cost of Botox® and modern sweating treatments, like miraDry®. That goes even if you are diagnosed with hyperhidrosis. However, some private insurance companies may offer coverage for Botox®. You’ll need to ask them directly. At our clinic, we can provide the proper paperwork to submit for these claims.
If coverage is not available to you, note that our clinic helps with financing options for all our treatments, using third-party programs.
Plus, Allergan, the company behind Botox®, offers redeemable points to its repeat customers, through their Brilliant Distinctions® program. A clinic must be a participant in the program in order for a patient to receive points, however (we are a participant).
Budget may be a factor in whether or not you feel Botox® sweating treatments are worth it for you. This will be relative to each individual. However, those who suffer from excessive sweat can find long-term treatments to be such a relief in their daily life. They can concentrate at work, avoid embarrassing situations, and live more comfortably overall.
Why pay for Botox® treatments when miraDry® can solve sweat in one or two treatments?
Yes! Exactly. When it comes to treating underarm sweat only, miraDry® wins out as a much more economical option.
In case you’ve never heard of it, miraDry® is an energy-based machine that kills off sweat glands, odour glands and even hair in the armpits – all without surgical cutting! It takes one treatment for most people, but two treatments are not uncommon. Three treatments are rare.
At our clinic, miraDry® starts at $1,500 for one treatment, and $2,500 for two treatments (prices are subject to change at any time). Compare that to the cost and hassle of repeat Botox® sessions, and most people would say, “you’ve got a deal!”
There are a few caveats though (but not a lot). Some people may not be eligible for miraDry® (a doctor can say more). In rare cases, a person’s sweat glands are located so deep in the skin that miraDry® can’t reach them. It can also require some healing time, with post-procedure aftercare. You can read more about miraDry®, here.
The other hindrance for some people is that miraDry® may not be offered at a clinic near their residence. Some people might choose to travel to get this treatment, whether by commuting a few hours, or by staying in a hotel. So, that can be a cost consideration too.
If you live in the Vancouver area, this won’t need to be your case! Our Surrey clinic is a provider of miraDry®, and was the first in the area to offer it.
Botox® is a great option for sweating treatments, but not the only one
As we’ve seen above, using Botox® to treat excess sweating comes with many benefits, and very few, if not zero downsides. If you have extended health coverage, your insurance provider may even buffer the cost of Botox® hyperhidrosis treatments. Or, you can use financing and the Brilliant Distinctions® program to help pay for it (at clinics that offer these options).
Botox® is safe, and has been proven to keep people dry in areas where they perspire a lot. Injections do need to be repeated, but in some people, this may only turn out to be every year or so.
If the problem is in the armpits, a more value-added and economical solution would be the miraDry® treatment. Yes, it may cost more up front, but it also saves a lot of money and hassle for a condition that will otherwise need to be maintained for life.
If you live in the Vancouver area, we encourage you to book a consultation at our clinic to learn more about the sweat treatment options that may fit your needs. We have been treating hyperhidrosis for several years, and are well-versed in its considerations and solutions.