The Scientist: Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board certified dermatologic surgeon and associate at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery
The Answer: We all know Botulinum toxin A (Botox) is a popular injectible treatment for fine lines and wrinkles. Lesser-known is how Botox is FDA-approved to combat excessive sweating, called hyperhidrosis, of the underarms. It works by preventing the release of acetylcholine, a chemical that signals the sweat glands to activate. It’s an affective treatment that can either decrease or completely stop sweating (in the specific injection site) for anywhere from six months to a year.
Botox injections to the armpit are extremely safe when performed by a licensed and trained professional, but like any injection, it does come with a small risk of discomfort, swelling and bleeding. Botox is also used off-label — meaning it’s not included on the label as an FDA-approved use, and therefore probably not covered by health insurance — to treat excessive sweating of the hands and feet. I(t works the same way in these places as it does on the armpits.)
If you feel like you may have hyperhidrosis, talk to your doctor. If you are diagnosed with hyperhidrosis, Botox is just one of the treatment options available. It can be pricey, but more insurance providers are covering it now that it’s FDA-approved to treat this condition.