When you live in the L.A. area and someone says “Botox” you immediately think of crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles, and lines between the eyebrows. After all, L.A. made Botox famous for removing wrinkles on the upper third of the face.
But what about Botox under the arms? Huh?
As the uses of Botox expand (it was originally formulated for treating involuntary eyelid spasms), the FDA has now approved the neuromodulator for stopping excessive underarm sweating.
This may not exactly be the glamorous duty Botox typically performs, but is more valuable for the patient! Dr. Malamet uses Botox to help his patients get past the condition is known as hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating.
What is hyperhidrosis?
The normal reaction by the body to hot weather, exercise, physical stress, emotional stress, and nervousness is to perspire. The typical human body has around two million sweat glands, and they get busy, some more than others, creating perspiration to cool the body.
But for about one percent of Americans, the amount they sweat in these conditions is about four times the normal amount. They suffer from hyperhidrosis, and it usually affects the palms of the hands, the feet, and the armpits. People with hyperhidrosis are plagued with constantly sweaty clothes, a wet handshake, and usually a good deal of embarrassment. Antiperspirants you buy at the store have no effect.
Botox to the rescue
After researching its possibilities as a weapon during the Second World War (and then abandoning those efforts), scientists discovered that when the botulinum toxin type A — the same toxin that causes botulism — was injected in minute doses into a muscle it temporarily stopped the muscle from contracting. It does this by blocking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a chemical our nerve cells makes to communication with each other, so the message for the muscle to contract never makes it to the brain. This is how Botox works on facial wrinkles, by stopping the muscle contractions that form wrinkles on the skin above when we perform certain behaviors such as squinting (crow’s feet).
Botox does the same thing in the underarms, only not to stop muscle contraction. In this case, the botulinum toxin blocks the messages sent from the nerve endings in the sweat glands to the brain telling it to trigger a sweat response. Without the message, the sweat glands don’t produce sweat and hyperhidrosis are gone.
In 2004 the FDA approved Botox to treat hyperhidrosis in the armpits, but it is also used on the palms and feet off-label. Dr. Malamet is experienced in the placement of the Botox to receive the optimal results. Those results last six months; at that point, another session will be necessary keep the excessive sweating under control.
Let’s put an end to the excessive sweating. Call Dr. Malamet at 818-380-3130 for an appointment.