Botox is well known for treating wrinkles, but it can also be used to stop excessive sweating. Our bodies produce sweat to keep cool. But it’s not just hot and humid weather that causes us to sweat: Exercise, physical stress, emotional stress and nervousness can also make you sweat. People who sweat abnormally are said to be suffering from a condition referred to as primary hyperhidrosis and it most noticeably affects the palms of the hands, the feet and the armpits. It is becoming interestingly common for such patients to visit their dermatologist for botox injections to treat this condition.
Our skin, specifically the middle layer, or dermis isn’t made up of just collagen and elastin, it is full of sweat glands, hair follicles, sebaceous glands (these produce oil), blood vessels and nerve endings. Our body secretes sweat from two types of glands, the eccrine and apocrine glands.
The Eccrine glands are located in the skin, all over the body. Apocrine glands, on the other hand, are located in places on the body where there’s a high concentration of hair follicles, such as the scalp, armpits and groin region. These glands are controlled by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, the command centre that also controls involuntary bodily functions such as breathing, digestion, body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. When there is an increase in body temperature, your sympathetic nervous system automatically signals the sweat glands to cool your body.
When Botox is injected into the skin, the treatment affects the signal between the nerve endings and the sweat glands in the dermis. The botulism toxin binds itself to the nerve endings and acts like a roadblock. It blocks the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a chemical our nerve cells make to communicate with each other and this disrupts the message sent from the nerve endings to stimulate the production of sweat. Therefore, the amount of sweat secreted drastically reduces.
*Data Courtesy: Dr Akriti,Senior Consultant Dermatologist, Enhance Cosmetic & Aesthetic Clinic