Botox 102

We’ve already covered the Botox basics—what it is, where to get it, what it does—but what about those other uses? You probably have a friend who swears it stopped her migraines, controlled her sweating, or even made her nose look different. We asked famed dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer (he tends to everyone from Oprah to Anne Hathaway) and one of New York’s top dermatologists, Dr. Howard Sobel, to tell us what really works—and what’s just code for, “Make my wrinkles go away!”

What’s Botox again?
To refresh your memory, Botox is one of three brands of a botulinum toxin that acts as a relaxing agent on your muscles (the others are Dysport and Xeomin). When it comes to cosmetic use, the FDA’s only approved use of the toxin is in the space between your eyebrows, meaning only an MD can inject it anywhere else on your body (or face). “Everything else it’s used for in the cosmetic world—wrinkles on the forehead, crow’s feet—is considered off-label,” says Dr. Lancer. So before putting the following knowledge to use, make sure you’re talking to a board-certified doctor.

What else can neurotoxins do to my face?
A lot. Both doctors are consistently asked to inject Botox into the outside margin of the eyebrows, effectively lifting the brows. “It’s kind of like a mini face-lift,” says Dr. Sobel. “Sometimes it’s used right above the lip, in the center where the nose meets the face; one drop lifts the tip of the nose,” says Dr. Lancer. “It’s also used in microdroplets on the top and the bottom of the lip to reduce that puckered lip line smokers have, or right under the lash line to soften the crepiness of the lower lid.” Also, surprisingly, he says that injecting it into the chin slims out the lower half of the face making the “upper cheek level look more youthful and plumper.”

Can Botox help my neck?
Yes. Those folds you get around your neck, the ones that look like tree trunk lines, are actually called platysmal bands and neurotoxins can help “soften them,” Dr. Lancer says. (A good reminder to use your moisturizers and serums on your neck, as well as your face.)

If I get Botox underneath my arms, does it mean I never have to buy deodorant again?
Sort of. No doctor is going to inject enough Botox into your armpits to keep you from ever sweating again; the skin would get dry, chafe, and be very uncomfortable. But injections can reduce your sweating by up to 80%. “Using deodorant is still recommended for extra control,” says Dr. Sobel.

Does Botox really make migraines go away?
Dr. Lancer calls migraines “sort of a no man’s land.” The short answer is that freezing the muscles in your forehead could help prevent some headaches, especially tension-induced pain caused by frowning. Three years ago, the FDA approved its use in seven specific areas around the head and neck to fight chronic migraines, and Dr. Sobel notes that some studies suggest neurotoxins can actually block the pain signals that cause migraines (in this case, it lasts a short three months). As always, it’s best to consult with your own doctor before considering using Botox to fight your migraines.