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This Just Might Be the Best Sweat Solution You’ve Never Tried

July 26, 2019DMT.NEWS

#DMTBeautySpot #beauty

I Got Botox to Stop Sweating and This Is What I Learned

We’re all sitting here in the middle of one of the most sizzling summers ever. As we come off of the hottest June on record, we quickly head into a heatwave that is seemingly sparing no one the world over, including the United Kingdom, Europe — especially the Netherlands and FranceCanada and the U.S. Hell, the heatwave affecting India and Pakistan has its own Wikipedia page

RELATED: Best Shoes for Sweaty Feet

No, this is not about climate change, although maybe it should be. Instead, this is about a big step I took in the name of vanity to deal with the insufferable heat this summer has brought on: I got armpit Botox. That’s right. That tolerable toxin made famous by a certain set of Housewives has many more uses than just keeping you looking young forever(ish). 

Botox in AskMen Editor face

I’m not a stranger to Botox, as you might have seen when I tried it in my face for the first time, but in my armpits? This is new, even for me, an editor who gets in early on a lot of the men’s grooming trends going around. But as I’ve been taking my early morning walks to the office through the humid New York City streets with temperatures in the 90s by 9 a.m., I decided it was time for drastic measures which lead to trying this whole armpit Botox thing. 

After researching so I could find the right doctor for me — a critical step for any medical procedure — I found Lara Devgan M.D., M.P.H, a board-certified, Yale-educated plastic and reconstructive surgeon. I felt that in order to really learn why this is an alternative to antiperspirants for so many, I should speak with one of the best. 

“Because New York summers are so warm, a lot of my patients focus on doing it seasonally in the hottest time of the year,” Devgan told me. OK, I’m convinced.   

What Is Botox?

Botox, a type of botulinum toxin, is a neurotoxic protein that prevents the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, that causes what is called flaccid paralysis. In other words, it prevents muscle contractions where it’s injected resulting in minor muscle paralyzation. 

needle in head for botox migraines

Botulinum toxin is frequently used to paralyze facial muscles resulting in relaxed lines and wrinkles, but it is also FDA approved to treat overactive bladder symptoms, reduce increased muscle stiffness, prevent migraines and of course, treat the symptoms of severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis, more commonly referred to as severe underarm sweating.

Similar to Band Aid, Kleenex, Q-Tip and Jell-O, Botox is a brand that has become a genericized term for a specific botulinum toxin and whereas the most popular brand is Botox, there are others to choose from. “For this procedure, [your doctor can use] Botox, Dysport, Xeomin or Jeuveau,” Devgan explains. “There are four neuromodulators that are FDA approved in the United States. They all work, essentially, interchangeably, so they can all be used for this purpose.”

Why Get Hyperhidrosis Treatments 

“There has been a huge upsurge in the practice among the Wall Street type of guy,” Devgan tells us about the type of men coming in to get this specialized Botox treatment. “Also a lot of male patients who are planning summers away and also people who have a big special event. And grooms,” she adds. “You know, so [they] don't mess up [their] tux.”

Botox in the armpit for sweat

I’m going to be straight with you guys — I don’t wear antiperspirant (outside of the occasional trial runs of various brands for work). It’s not because of the inconclusive health research about aluminium, but instead, because the aluminium in antiperspirants (that’s what separates them from deodorants) is what causes yellow irreversible pit stains in tees and dress shirts. I’m not here for that. I may not be on Wall Street or getting married anytime soon, but those yellow underarm stains are the pits regardless. 

RELATED: Best Antiperspirants For Men

Most of the time a good deodorant works just fine for me (see some of my favorite here) but there are times, such as this summer, I have been in need of a little added protection. I realize that those of us that sweat a reasonable amount are the majority here, but according to a 2016 study, 4.8 percent — 15.3 million —  of people in the U.S. suffer from hyperhidrosis in some form from their armpits, palms of their hands or their soles of their feet, and it’s thought that only about half discuss their condition with their healthcare provider, suggesting that the actual prevalence is likely higher due to being underreported. 

Pitting out your shirt every now and then can be embarrassing, but for these 15.3 million people, it can really take its toll on their lives. So whereas new antiperspirant innovations such as the once-a-week Dr. Sweat deodorant pads that use 15 percent aluminum chloride may be the added oomph some people need, others will benefit from talking to their doctor. 

How Does Armpit Botox Work

“So we look at where the care bearing portion of the axilla [or armpit] is and because these axillary hairs are the ones that have apocrine sweat glands at the base of them so that means that they are responsible not only for sweat but also for odor.” Yes, this means once I receive the treatment in that meaty, fleshy part of my armpit, not only will it reduce sweat, it will also reduce odor. It really is a win in the fight against funky pits.

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A post shared by Dr. Lara Devgan, MD, MPH, FACS (@laradevganmd) on Jul 18, 2019 at 6:41am PDT

When Botox is injected into the armpit, it keeps the muscles involved with sweat production from working at full capacity. I was surprised with how the process didn’t hurt at all. It was absolutely fine. I was in and out of the chair in 15 minutes, and it would have been less if I wasn’t asking Devgan all the questions I’m laying out here. Sure, there was a little pinch once or twice, but it was far less than I was expecting. She gave me about nine tiny injections in each armpit totaling 30 units each, and that was it. 

Just like Botox anywhere else, it doesn’t kick in immediately. My results took about five days, but the results in others can take anywhere from three to seven days. I can attest that on my sweaty walk to work this morning, my pits were not dripping down my torso. Was I sweating? Sure, a little — it is a mile long walk in the summer after all — but not nearly as much as I have been and not any more in other areas such as my chest, back or feet. 

Are There Botox Side Effects

There can be, of course, as there are with most procedures performed by doctors, which is why it’s important not just to take my word on things, but to find a doctor you trust. But the main misconception about getting Botox in armpits is that this will result in more sweat other places. 

Botox vial and consent form

Not the case, according to Devgan: “[A] decrease in sweating in the armpits has no meaningful difference on your overall homeostasis in the body,” she says, putting to rest the myth that decreasing armpit sweat will make you sweat more in other areas of the body. “[People ask] 'Am I going to die because I'm not sweating?' You're going to be okay, [I say]. You're going to be fine,” she confirms. But how is this possible? 

“A palm size area is about one percent of total body surface area,” explains Devgan. “So if you look at your hand and put it all over your body; it’s like, one percent ... that's a good sort of easy way to estimate percentages. So the armpit's total will represent that one percent of total body surface area.” 

Botox for Sweat Results 

My short answer: I love the results. My long answer? Well … It starts with cost, and the question “is Botox expensive” is a hard one to answer. Devgan offers a flat rate for 50 units, and the price increases from there. Remember, I received 60 units total, 30 in each armpit. 

Man happy in a summer field

The fact of the matter is any doctor is able to charge any price they want, so “price” can become arbitrary pretty quickly — especially because most cost analysis found through a quick Google search are categorized by facial areas, not units or other body parts. Depending on where you live, what level of experience your doctor has and how much you need, the price can vary by hundreds of dollars. 

Would I get Botox injections in my armpits again? I’m not opposed, but I’m also aware that I’m not the ideal candidate. It has sure helped me with summer sweat, but as Devgan explained, I wouldn’t feel the need to have this anytime other than the three hottest months of summer, which happens to be just about as long as a good dose of Botox lasts.

That said, with rising temperatures seemingly becoming our new normal, maybe the popularity of this procedure will grow not only among the people getting it, but how often they’re getting it as well. 

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Barret Wertz, Khareem Sudlow

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