- Model Chrissy Teigen revealed on Tuesday that she had a Botox treatment in her armpits to prevent sweating.
- The procedure works by temporarily paralyzing the sweat glands. It can also be used on the hands, feet or scalp.
- Although expensive and uncomfortable, the procedure is quick and safe, according to a dermatologist. Here’s how it works.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Fans of Chrissy Teigen got an unusual glimpse of the model’s armpits Tuesday when she shared a video on Instagram of a Botox injection being delivered directly into her underarm. Her aim wasn’t to achieve more youthful pits, despite how Botox is usually used, but rather to prevent excessive sweating.
Teigen tweeted that she had it done in order to prevent sweat from “soaking through” her clothing, specifically silk. “Truly the best move I have ever made,” she said of the procedure in the video.
Botulinum toxin, a neurotoxic protein most commonly known by the brand name Botox, is a popular cosmetic treatment for smoothing out wrinkles. Although it’s highly toxic and related to a serious bacterial infection called botulism, Botox is safe in clinical settings. Injecting it into muscles causes paralysis, which is why it works for wrinkle reduction by relaxing the facial muscles.
Botox was approved as a treatment for hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, in 2004. By injecting it into sweat glands in the armpits, hands, feet, or scalp, it blocks the chemical message signalling sweat production, making you sweat less, according to SweatHelp.org.
About 5% of the population deals with hyperhidrosis, which can be more than inconvenient. It can cause self-esteem issues and interpersonal problems in some people, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at the Mt. Sinai Hospital Dermatology Department, told INSIDER. (It’s unclear if Teigen has the condition.)
Sometimes, excessive sweating can be a sign of serious medical conditions, especially when it’s accompanied by additional symptoms like unexplained fatigue, dizziness, chest pain, or flu-like illness.
In order for Botox to work to treat hyperhidrosis (but not any underlying health conditions), it requires multiple needle pricks into the skin, Zeichner said, so it can be uncomfortable. The results last about 3 to 5 months, he added.
In rare cases, Botox can cause serious side effects including muscle weakness, trouble seeing, and difficulty breathing, according to Healthline. Botox isn’t cheap either – the procedure can cost about $US1,000.
For many people with excessive sweating, a good antiperspirant can do the trick
Botox isn’t the only option for excessive sweating, though.
Antiperspirants are much cheaper (usually starting around $US5 a stick) and widely available. Zeichner explained that they contain aluminium-based salts that form a plug with in sweat glands to block sweat from reaching the surface of the skin. This is different from a deodorant, which just tackles any potentially unfortunate smells that result from being sweaty.
Other over-the-counter topical solutions that contain aluminium chloride can do the same thing as an antiperspirant if a person is affected in a place other than their armpits, INSIDER previously reported. Certain medications, “radiofrequency lasers,” and even sweat gland removal surgeries are also sometimes considered in more severe cases, but those aren’t necessarily cheap or non-invasive.
For most people, though, sweating is normal and necessary. It helps the body stay at a stable temperature; without it, the body would overheat.