Don’t Sweat It: Can Botox Save Your Blowout?
If you’re an early adopter of fitness and beauty trends, then you no doubt noticed the early summer headlines touting the latest holy grail of the hair/skin set. According to Harper’s Bazaar, Shape Magazine, InStyle and more, devotees of the daily workout have started having Botox administered to their scalps in order to stop excessive sweating at the gym from ruining their costly blowouts. After all, dry shampoo can only do so much, right?
Botox has long been used as an FDA-approved way to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) in the underarms, feet and palms. Cause who wants a sweaty handshake? It works by temporarily blocking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that controls the nerve signals that stimulate sweat glands. By blocking the communication, the Botox can effectively eliminate (or at least significantly diminish) sweating.
That doesn’t mean we’re recommending you rush out and have your scalp injected.
“[Botox] is great for those that sweat excessively in the armpit area or for those that are anxious public speakers,” board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Walden tells us. “In my opinion, however, it’s not an economical solution to getting a little sweaty during a workout.”
It’s not strictly doctors who are questioning this consumer-driven trend. To some media sources, even if only in the form of a headline, getting Botox to your scalp seems… extreme and Dr. Walden agrees. “This is something I would consider offering to patients with moderate to severe scalp hyperhidrosis rather than as a blowout malfunction,” she explained. “In my opinion, it’s total overkill as a hairstyling accessory to undertake the risks and expense.”
“The scalp is a relatively large area which would require many injections to accomplish the goal. The cost is high (between $1,200 - $1,500) versus the potential benefit, and it’s unlikely that it would stop enough sweat from making a real difference,” notes Dr. Walden
That being said, there are those who are willing to risk it if that means grasping the holy grail of a workout-proof blowout. Here’s how:
Using a small needle, your doctor would administer approximately 150-200 units of Botox in multiple tiny injections throughout the scalp near the hair follicles. While side effects are minimal and typically subside quickly, some patients reported a headache which lasted up to 24 hours after injection. Of course, with any Botox injections in or near the face, asymmetry can be an issue in the hands of an inexperienced injector. A consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the number one way to ensure that your injections are administered by someone with skill and experience.
“Some patients report complete cessation of sweating,” Dr. Walden said of treating patients for hyperhidrosis, “but most report that it significantly decreases the sweating. Patients typically get a longer-lasting effect (between 6 to 12 months) when using it for hyperhidrosis than when using it for aesthetic concerns like wrinkles.”
So hey, that’s a plus, right? But what about the actual function of sweat itself? “While sweating is an essential body function for temperature-control, localized body areas house only a small percentage of the body’s sweat glands,” explained Dr. Walden. “For instance, the underarms house less than 2% of the body’s sweat glands, so temporary cessation of these glands has little to do with body thermoregulation. While you may notice a mild increase in sweating occurring in other areas (compensatory sweating), it shouldn’t be anything debilitating.”
All that considered, we’re not quite ready to jump on this particular trend-bandwagon. So we’ll begrudgingly be grabbing our dry shampoo and trudge off to the gym. It ain’t easy looking this good, but for now we’ll leave our blowouts in our own capable hands.