When referring to Botox, most people know of it as an injectable treatment used to combat signs of aging, particularly wrinkles. What many don’t know is that Botox (a.k.a. Botulinum toxin) has many other beneficial uses, too — and they just might surprise you.
In its traditional use, Botox is most popularly talked about as a way reduce the appearance of wrinkles. “By preventing your nerves from telling your facial muscles to contract, Botox weakens your ability to make a particular facial expression,” explains Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “As the skin is not folded, skin lines present in those areas fill in on their own.”
Botox can also be used before said fine lines even form — as a preventative measure — by “not having the skin exposed to the repeated muscle movements that would otherwise lead to wrinkling,” says Zeichner.
And aside from smoothing fine lines (and preventing them from forming in the first place), there are also other uses for Botox, according to the Allergan-owned company. Because Botox offers both cosmetic and therapeutic indications, we asked top dermatologists for more information about its most popular off-label uses. Here’s what they had to say.
Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)
Hyperhidrosis, the clinical term for excessive sweating, can cause patients frustration and distress. There are a few different options for treatment, including Botox, and it might even be covered by your medical insurance. “If patients fail several prior treatments, including prescription topical antiperspirants and oral medications that reduce sweating, you may be able to get Botox for hyperhidrosis covered by your insurance,” says Zeichner.
“I love treating patients with axillary hyperhidrosis because, in under three minutes, they go from being super-sweaty to nearly dry,” explains Estee Williams, a board-certified medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatologist and clinical professor in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.”The dose can be tailored to the degree of dryness that they want,” she says. “Dry cleaning bills go down, and clothes aren’t as prone to sweat stains.”
While one might automatically think of armpit injections for sweating issues, other areas are able to be treated as well. “The armpits, palms, soles, scalp, and most recently scrotum (also known as scrotox.),” says Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City. (Yep, you read that right.)
Results from a treatment session typically last four to six months, and while it is typically covered by insurance, costs can range from just your office visit co-pay and Botox co-pay to around $,1500 for out-of-pocket payers. Zeichner says rebates are available, too.
If you’ve ever had the unpleasant experience of suffering through a migraine, you know how desperately and quickly relief is needed. Thanks to its dynamic properties, Botox just might be able to provide that. “This works wonders and is especially beloved by migraine sufferers in their 40s and 50s who were thinking about Botox for wrinkles but were looking for a good excuse,” says Williams, noting that the injection point locations are often very similar, making the outcome twofold. “Fewer wrinkles, fewer headaches” she says.
Marchbein adds that Botox is FDA-approved for treatment of migraines, but that neurologists are the physicians who would treat these disorders.
A minimally invasive alternative to plastic surgery, Botox can actually be used to create the look of a lift for specific facial features. For brows, Marchbein explains that, “when injected precisely into the orbicularis oculi muscle that surrounds the eye, it can raise the tail of the eyebrow allowing the eye to look more open and awake, and may help with mild upper eyelid droopiness.” Recent studies also found Botox can elongate the forehead, creating a smoother-looking canvas.
Aside from lifting brows, Botox can also be injected into the base of the nose for the appearance of a “nose lift.” Dhaval G. Bhanusali, a New York City-based dermatologist, explains, “putting a touch of Botox at the base of the nose can actually raise the nasal tip, creating rhinoplasty-like results.”
Looking for a “lip lift?” It’s also possible. Marchbein explains that the injectable can be used to provide “a slight outward projection of the lips,” referred to as the Botox Lip Flip. “When used alone, or in combination with fillers, Botox gives lips a subtle pout-magnification by flipping out the lip line, rolling the lip gently outward, and giving the appearance of a fuller, sexier pout,” Dara Liotta, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in New York City, previously told Allure.
For these cosmetic uses, Marchbein says that pricing will vary, depending on how much is used and how often. For those who need very little, pricing can range from $400 to $500, while those who may need (or want) a little more, you’re looking at a price tag closer to $1,000 to $1,500 per treatment.
The use of Botox is becoming more popular for those seeking to create a slimmer-looking profile, as well, says Bhanusali. “We inject between 15 to 30 units on the lower cheeks of each side of the face, and the result is a slimmer facial profile,” he says. If you’re looking for these results without going under the knife, for say, a face-lift, Botox can offer a less invasive and less expensive alternative.
When it comes to combatting acne, there is an entire market full of breakout-busting products. Surprisingly, Botox may soon be added to that list. “Studies have shown that a little Botox into active acne lesions can lessen the oil production and eventually lead to less acne,” says Bhanusali. (For those weary of an injectable-type treatment to zap zits, try these four easy moves for clearing up cystic acne, stat.)
Williams also mentions that Botox can be used in the treatment of TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), which affects the joint in the jaw. In dealing with issues involving the jaw and the facial muscles that control it, Botox has the ability to be used to treat jaw pain as a result of grinding and clenching. (You can read all about one Allure writer’s journey to soothing TMJ-caused pain via Botox injections, here.)
Pricing for TMJ-specific injections can range from $1,000 to $1,500, depending on how many units are needed, says Marchbein.
Other Potential Uses
There are also other noted uses for Botox, outside of what can be done within a dermatologist’s office. Marchbein notes that the injectable is FDA-approved for various disorders of muscle spasticity, while Bhanusali added “Blotox” to the list. “Some patients request Botox to the scalp to extend the life of their blowouts,” he says. “There is decreased buildup and oil buildup, preserving the haircut longer than it otherwise would be.”
If you’re considering Botox as treatment for one of above conditions, do your research and seek out a board-certified dermatologist for a consultation and treatment plan.
For the latest on Botox:
- Botox Cosmetic Is Now Approved by FDA to Use on Forehead Wrinkles
- The Botox “Lip Flip” Is the Latest Trend in Injectables — But There’s a Catch
- Botox May Be the Secret to Making your Blowout Last Longer
Now, watch as a dermatologist explains lip fillers: