Botulinum toxin has been used for therapeutic purposes in medicine for decades. The injection has been used in various neurological, ophthalmic and urological complaints.
The use of botulinum toxin in aesthetic and therapeutic dermatology has a much shorter history, but has become particularly popular in recent decades. It is mainly used to improve the aesthetic appearance and reduce scarring and aging of the skin.
One of the new uses of botulinum toxin that have come into play over the last 1-2 decades is to reduce increased sweating in various skin areas - palms and soles of the feet, areas under the armpits, forehead, and so on.
What is the procedure like?
Botulinum toxin injection is technically a simple procedure in which the toxin with a very low concentration is injected into the upper skin layers of the part of the skin that are prone to sweating.
The axilla or forehead procedure is painless, with most patients saying that the sensation is equivalent of a bug bite. Pre-administration of sedatives or local anesthetic is not required.
When the botulinum toxin is injected into the palms of the hand and soles of the feet, an anesthetic should be applied to the area due to its richness in nerve receptors and have increased sensitivity.
The patient may return to their everyday life immediately after the procedure. They can go home or go back to work. Some patients have signs of prickling after the procedure.
When does the botulinum toxin start to take effect?
The effect of the botulinum toxin injected to suppress sweating begins to work a few days after the injection. Gradually, a reduction of the sweating is achieved until it is completely stopped.
When shouldn’t botulinum toxin be injected?
The use of botulinum toxin in pregnant and breastfeeding women is not desirable, despite the lack of direct evidence of teratogenic effects of the product.
Botulinum toxin shouldn’t be used in patients with neuromuscular diseases such as multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis or other neurological diseases.
Patients who take certain medications can feel a more powerful effect on their muscles when injected with the toxin. Such drugs are: aminoglycoside antibiotics (streptomycin, tobramycin and gentamycin), penicillin and its derivatives, quinine and calcium antagonists used in the treatment of high blood pressure.
Is there a risk of side effects?
Botulinum toxin injections have been safely and effectively applied for decades to treat many ophthalmic and neurological disorders as well as in aesthetic practices.
- After injecting the botulinum toxin, some of the following side effects may occur:
- Appearance of visible signs of pricking and slight bruising around the injection area;
- The appearance of a swelling at the injection spot;
Temporary decreased sensibility in the injected area, which should completely be restored in 14 days after the procedure.
What are the expected results of the procedure?
The full effect of the injected toxin occurs within 14 days of the procedure. If the result is not satisfactory, a supplementary procedure may be planned.
What are the advantages of the procedure?
Injecting botulinum toxin to suppress sweating is a temporary solution. The effect of the injection is from three to six months. It should be injected no more than 2-3 times a year. The duration depends a lot on the individual's body.
Is there a risk of developing an allergy to botulinum toxin?
There have been no reports of allergic reactions after botulinum toxin injection. People with proven allergy to botulinum toxin or albumin should not inject the product due to the risk of allergic shock.
Is there a risk of forming antibodies against botulinum toxin?
With frequent administration of botulinum toxin, it is possible for the body to form antibodies against it and deactivate it, and thus have no effect of the procedure. Upon reaching a sufficient concentration of antibodies in human blood, the effect of botulinum toxin significantly decreases.
Although rare, it is possible to produce antibodies to the botulinum toxin, only after the intake of different protein foods. These people would not have the effect of botox, even after its first application.
Fortunately, it has been found that the amount of botulinum toxin, after the injection of antibody forms in the body is around several hundred units. This repeatedly exceeds the amount used in dermatology. Thus, antibody formation is more of a problem in the treatment of neurological diseases where larger amounts of botulinum toxin are needed to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.
Is special preparation needed for the procedure?
No special preparation is needed. Due to the pain that is expected while performing the procedure, a cream will be applied at least 20 minutes beforehand to numb it. For people with easy capillary breakability in injection procedures, it is advisable to have a cream preparation that reduces the risk of bruising.