Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, is an embarrassing problem. You sweat so much that it soaks through your clothes. While it is a typical response when you are hot or exercising, it is abnormal in the absence of any triggers. Despite being a daily occurrence, the summer months can be particularly grueling. People often complain of uncontrollably sweaty underarms, sweaty palms, slippery sweaty feet, or a sweaty face. It is a common problem affecting 5% of the world’s population.
I urge you to consult your doctor to exclude serious causes before considering Botox treatment.
How does excessive sweating affect people?
It can impact all aspects of your life causing both psychological and physical problems. Let’s discuss the psychological impact first. Initially, you constantly worry about how to manage your sweating and go through a lot of trouble hiding it. For example, changing clothes, showering frequently, wiping sweat, wearing dark or loose clothing, avoiding handshakes, or speaking in public. Subsequently, you get tempted to stay at home or even choose careers that do not involve interaction with others. A decrease in self-confidence and an increase in social isolation lead to emotional problems like anxiety and depression.
Physical problems from excessive sweating are skin irritation and infection. It can ruin clothes, shoes, reading or writing material, devices, or musical instruments.
What causes excessive sweating?
Sweating is an essential bodily response that helps us cool down. There are millions of sweat glands in the human body of which there are two types. Firstly, eccrine sweat glands are present in the armpits, face, palms, and soles of the feet. They secrete a clear, odourless fluid that evaporates helping the body cool down. Secondly, apocrine sweat glands are present in the armpits and genital area. They produce a thicker fluid, which, on contact with skin bacteria produces body odour.
Both types of glands are activated by nerves. There are several stimuli that can stimulate the nerves. Firstly, the brain may be signalling that the body is too hot. Secondly, certain emotions may trigger sweating. Thirdly, hormones can stimulate sweating. Finally, exercise or physical activity stimulates sweating.
When stimulated the glands begin to secrete sweat but stop once the stimuli cease. In people with excessive sweating, the glands overreact to stimuli or are permanently ‘switched on’ producing more sweat than necessary.
Sometimes this is due to a medical condition which requires treatment so you must speak to your doctor first. Once this is excluded, you may want to explore topical agents before considering Botox treatment.
How does Botox work for excessive sweating?
Botox is the trade name of a prescription-only medication containing Botulinum toxin type A. This is a natural, purified protein that, when injected, temporarily blocks the secretion of the chemical that is responsible for switching on the sweat glands. By interrupting or blocking this action, Botox turns off sweating in the area treated.
Botox is a safe treatment for excessive sweating with minimal side effects. It is 85% effective at reducing sweating. It usually starts working within 2-4 days and the full effect is noticeable within 2 weeks. You may need a review at this point to touch up any area not covered by the initial treatment. Dryness typically lasts 6-9 months, but some people are dry for up to 12 months. Commonly treated areas are the underarms, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. You would still need to have a medical consultation to assess the suitability of Botox before you go ahead with treatment.
During the procedure, a very fine needle is used to inject tiny amounts of Botox just under the skin in a grid pattern covering the area of sweating. The Botox injections target the glands where it remains. A numbing cream or ice is applied to the area to ease any discomfort. After treatment, you may find discomfort and stinging in the area for about 48hours post-procedure. Use gentle showering gels and avoid deodorant use if possible.
Botox does not cure excessive sweating so repeat treatments are required to maintain dryness.
When can’t you have Botox?
- Never have Botox if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Botox is prohibited with neuromuscular disorders, hence medical history is very important.
- It is now illegal to treat under 18s with Botox.
Botox treatment is a medical treatment. Each treatment needs a face-to-face consultation and informed consent. You must be offered aftercare and how to contact your practitioner with any concerns.
If you are looking for Botox treatment for excessive sweating in Billericay, Essex, you can book a consultation or enquire for further information: