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Botox is a popular injection made of botulinum toxin (a type of neurotoxin). Widely known for its anti-aging benefits, Botox is frequently used for the treatment of moderate to severe glabellar lines caused by procerus/corrugator muscle activity, lateral canthal lines (otherwise known as crow’s feet) and forehead lines due to frontalis muscle activity.
Botox is often used off label for treating TMJ syndrome, vaginismus, and acne. While yet to be approved by FDA, these off label uses are generally considered safe. More recently, Botox has been used for scrotum and penis enhancement. At the same time, Botox has shown remarkable results in treating hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), including palmar hyperhidrosis.
Uncontrollable, excessive sweating of the palms of the hands is medically known as palmar hyperhidrosis. Sweaty hands can cause extreme stress and embarrassment. As the result, the patient’s quality of life is significantly reduced. It is well-established that palmar hyperhidrosis, among all dermatological conditions, has the biggest impact on a patient’s lives. In severe cases, sweaty hands may cause social anxiety and potentially, social withdrawal. It is estimated that sweaty hands affect 1 to 3% of the population.
Hyperhidrosis (or excessive sweating) can affect many body parts, including the hands, feet, underarms and the face. Sweaty hands related to hyperhidrosis are not caused by heat or exercise. There are many factors that can cause excessive sweating in the hands. This includes physical and emotional stress, as well as genetic influences. It is believed that sweaty hands have a hereditary basis. In fact, a family history is present in almost 30% of the cases. In most cases, symptoms begin in adolescence or childhood, and decrease with age.
The diagnosis of palmer hyperhidrosis is typically based on a history of excessive sweating.
There are many treatments available for sweaty hands, including topical treatments (e.g. aluminum chloride hexahydrate), Iontophoresis, oral medicines, surgery, and Botox injections. The treatment is chosen based on the severity of the condition (and the response to previous treatments, if any).
Botox is formulated with botulinum toxin type A (a neurotoxin) as the active ingredient. Derived from Clostridium botulinum, the neurotoxin is known to have muscle relaxant properties. Once injected, Botox reduces muscle activities and stiffness.
When treating sweaty hands, Botox is administered into the treatment sites using small injections. Each injection typically takes 10–20 minutes to complete. Botox for sweaty hands should only be injected by a licensed injector.
Administered via minimally invasive injections, the treatment process is associated with minimal pain. Local anesthetics such as lidocaine can be used as needed to alleviate pain and discomfort during the injection process. Alternatively, an ice pack may be used.
In general, the results can be seen within 2 weeks after treatment, although many patients are able to see improvements in just one week. Be aware that the onset of action may vary from patient to patient.
Designed to deliver durable results, Botox for sweaty hands can generally last for six to 12 months. Keep in mind that the results of Botox for sweaty hands are not permanent. Repeat injections are required to maintain the treatment results.
Depending on the provider, each unit of Botox can cost $11 to $16.
As part of the screening process, the doctor will need to assess the medical history of the patient before using Botox. The helps to detect any potential contraindications. Contraindications of Botox for sweaty hands include known hypersensitivity to botulinum toxin or any other component of the formulation.
When used correctly, Botox for sweaty hands is safe and well tolerated by most patients. Botox will remain localized to the site of injection, and unlikely to migrate to other body parts. Regardless, it can migrate up to 3cm from where it is injected. Despite being a toxin, Botox is far too diluted to cause any systemic harm. Plus, the dose of Botox used in treating sweaty hands is not high enough to cause any serious complications.
Having said that, Botox may occasionally cause side effects such as pain or discomfort at the injection site.