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While smoothing wrinkles is still the first thing that springs to mind when most people hear the word Botox, that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the popular injectable can do. We've explored surprising ways to use Botox in the past, with New York-based dermatologist Dr. Morgan Rabach walking us through every procedure from neck tightening to preventing scars from stretching. Now we have her sister, facial plastic surgeon Dr. Lesley Rabach, filling us in on a way to use Botox that appears to have staying power: scalp Botox for sweating.
Below, find Rabach's thoughts on scalp Botox—everything from the benefits and costs to how it works and what the procedure entails. Keep scrolling for all the information.
Benefits of Scalp Botox
Among fitness enthusiasts especially, scalp Botox has seen an increase in interest. "It is becoming more and more popular," observes Rabach, who notes it's become especially in demand over the past several months. "It is a really great way for people to preserve their blowouts because one of the many wonderful things Botox does is prevent sweating—that is why people get Botox in their armpits, palms, and soles," she explains.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Lesley Rabach is a double board-certified Facial Plastic Surgeon, one of only a few women in New York City to hold this prestigious title. She and her sister, Dr. Morgan Rabach, opened their Greenwich Village practice LM Medical with the mission of making people feel like themselves but better, be it through plastic surgery or non-invasive aesthetic services and skincare treatments.
How It Works
The FDA has approved the use of Botox as a treatment for hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. Botox works by temporarily blocking a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which controls the nerve signals that stimulate sweat glands, (essentially cutting off communication while the Botox is in effect). When we asked Rabach for her thoughts on the efficacy of scalp Botox for sweating, she assured us that it works, explaining that "hair follicles also have sweat and oil glands, so by reducing the sweat and oil production on the scalp, hair will remain clean longer."
What the Procedure Entails
"While it does vary from person to person, typically we start with 100 units and patients may require up to 200 units total," explains Rabach. She adds that each person needs to be evaluated to determine the exact amount that would be best for them. "Botox is injected throughout the hair-bearing area in small aliquots and takes only about five minutes to administer," Rabach says. After treatment, Rabach asks that patients refrain from working out for several hours and wait approximately three to five days before getting their next blowout. "Treatments should be done two to three times per year, or more, if needed," she recommends.
How Much it Costs
In terms of what you can expect to pay, at most places, including LM Medical, scalp Botox is the same cost per unit as Botox Cosmetic as it's another cosmetic use for Botox. Find our thorough guide to the cost of injections here.
If It's Right For You
Deciding if scalp Botox might be right for you? Rabach says that the treatment is especially good for patients who work out a lot, but don't want to wash their hair every day. "With the rise in 'Botox,' you can do the really intense workout and sweat and your hair remains dry," she says. However, Rabach warns that if you have a particularly dry scalp with specific dermatologic conditions, you should probably avoid this treatment as you wouldn't be someone who would benefit from it to begin with.
The Side Effects
As for side effects, there doesn't seem to be too much to worry about. "Botox, in general, is a very well-tolerated treatment," notes Rabach. She says that on occasion—though Botox is used to treat headaches—some might experience a headache from the scalp Botox in the following 24 hours after treatment. "While this is somewhat rare, it can happen," she admits. "Otherwise, this is a very well-tolerated treatment for most people."
Shibasaki M, Crandall CG. Mechanisms and controllers of eccrine sweating in humans. Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2010;2:685-696. doi:10.2741/s94