Botox for Hyperhidrosis

Botox for Hyperhidrosis

Two types of sweating exist — thermoregulatory and emotional sweating. The first is regulated by the hypothalamus, while the limbic system controls the latter. Signals are sent from these areas to the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands that are all over your body. Eccrine glands are concentrated in some areas more than others, such as your armpits and palms of your hands. Apocrine sweat glands are responsible for a person’s “personal” scent and become active during puberty.

The body produces sweat to cool itself down, but some people experience excessive sweating because of a condition called hyperhidrosis. Typical treatments for hyperhidrosis include prescription creams or antiperspirants, but another, more innovative treatment is botulinum toxin, more commonly known as Botox. Later in this article, we will break down the statistics of using Botox for excessive sweating, but for now, let’s start at the beginning.

What Is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition affecting around 5% of people in the United States where an individual experiences unpredictable sweating, surpassing the body’s typical requirements for temperature regulation. The profuse sweating often occurs without warning or is caused by the usual triggers, such as exercising or being outside on a hot day. There are two types of hyperhidrosis:

  • Primary focal hyperhidrosis: Primary focal hyperhidrosis is an idiopathic version of the condition, meaning there is no known cause for it. Patients often experience excess moisture in specific areas, such as their palms or underarms. 
  • Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis: Unlike the primary version, secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is usually a symptom or side effect of another medical condition, such as endocrine disorders or infections. 

Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis

The most obvious hyperhidrosis symptom is sweating. But not the light, glowing skin type. The sweating that occurs as a result of hyperhidrosis soaks through clothing or drips off the hands. It continues even when the patient’s body does not need cooling down. 

With focal hyperhidrosis, the patient experiences a symmetrical effect on both sides of the body. For example, both palms or armpits are affected. These individuals may experience episodes once a week for up to several hours, during which time daily routines will be affected. As you can imagine, simply holding a pen and writing can become challenging with constant and excessive moisture. The skin could also get irritated or infected by the sweat.

Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is different. The sweat is not symmetrical, nor is it confined to a small area. Instead, it affects a larger area, if not the whole body. Health care specialists will have to treat the underlying issue for secondary generalized hyperhidrosis to go away. 

How Does Botox Work for Hyperhidrosis?

Botox was FDA-approved in 1989 and is used to treat multiple medical conditions in the U.S. It works by temporarily blocking the release of acetylcholine (ACh). This neurotransmitter plays a role in memory, learning and attention. ACh is also responsible for sending the signal to your muscles to contract. 

Using botulinum toxin for hyperhidrosis is a straightforward procedure. The physician injects the affected sweating area just below the skin’s surface with a fine needle. Typically, they will make several injections in a grid format. The injections bind the nerve endings, preventing the glands from sweating. 

Patients usually notice a reduction in sweating within two to four days, but the procedure takes around two weeks to reach peak effectiveness. As the nerve endings regenerate — usually within four to 14 months — the Botox will start wearing off.

What Are the Benefits of Botox Injections for Hyperhidrosis?

Most obviously, individuals who get Botox for their hyperhidrosis can expect to sweat less, and studies have shown that sweating can decrease by as much as 82%-87%. However, the benefits extend beyond sweating less and can have a significant impact on an individual’s life: 

  • Long-lasting results: Most chronic conditions require medications and constant checkups. In this case, a patient only needs a few appointments each year. 
  • Noninvasive procedure: Botox injections for excessive sweating are minimally invasive compared to surgical options. A skilled health care professional can complete the job within 10-20 minutes. No hospitalization or recovery time is needed.
  • Targeted action: Only the area with the overactive sweat glands is affected and treated. The rest of the body is left to function normally. 
  • Safe to use: Botox has a well-established safety profile. The medical community has used it for over 30 years.
  • Psychological and emotional relief: Hyperhidrosis often appears in the late adolescent years, which is already a challenging time for individuals. Effective treatment can reduce the anxiety associated with hyperhidrosis. 

How Effective Is Botox for Hyperhidrosis?

A reported 385 million people globally have hyperhidrosis, and 20 countries have approved Botox as a treatment. Botox has been shown to be effective in 80%-90% of patients with hand sweating, and the numbers are similar for other types of sweating. The high success rate comes from Botox’s ability to target specific areas.

How Effective Is Botox for Hyperhidrosis?

While these statistics are encouraging, Botox treatment requires maintenance and repeat appointments. Its effectiveness can also be varied from individual to individual. 

How Is Botox for Hyperhidrosis Injected?

A trained health care professional should handle the administration of Botox injections within a clinical environment. They will diagnose the patient and check the areas infected, often by using a Minor’s iodine-starch test on sweat glands. Iodine is applied to the skin before a tiny sprinkle of starch is applied. The powder will turn blue where there is excessive sweat.

After using antiseptic, a topical anesthetic might be applied for comfort purposes. The physician will then use a very fine needle to inject the area. The number of injections depends on the area. An armpit, for example, will likely need between 10 and 15 injections, but the palm of the hand may need more.

A typical procedure will be completed within 30 minutes, and the patient can return home or go back to work afterward. Patients should avoid heavy exercise and saunas in the immediate period after their procedure. These activities can risk bruising and spreading of the Botox from the targeted area.

Get Certified to Inject Botox With AAAMS

Get Certified to Inject Botox With AAAMS

Professionals who opt for the American Association of Aesthetic Medicine & Surgery (AAAMS) Botox course gain a thorough understanding of muscle anatomy, injection techniques and side effect management. After receiving certification, you can offer this procedure at your practice to increase your services and clientele. Refine your practice or integrate new treatments by exploring our selection of courses today.