BOTOX is undeniably a household word and the most popular cosmetic treatment in the world. It gained this lofty position primarily because of its ability to smooth annoying wrinkles around the eyes and on the forehead that create an older, worried, or tired appearance. Less well-known is the versatility of BOTOX. At our Dallas dermatology practice, we use it in ways that surprise many of our patients.
One Drug, Many Uses
The FDA first approved BOTOX for cosmetic use in 2002 when it gave the okay to treat “worry lines,” the vertical lines between the eyes that are sometimes called the “11s.” Since then, Allergan (the maker of BOTOX) has received approval from the FDA for multiple other uses, including some that have nothing to do with aesthetics. Most patients get BOTOX to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles, and the aforementioned worry lines.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss three lesser-known but very effective BOTOX treatments that are used in plastic surgery and dermatology practices around the country.
Gummy Smile: People often feel self-conscious about having what’s known as a “gummy smile.” This occurs when the upper lip retreats too far when you smile, revealing more gums than teeth. Many women and men with gummy smiles consciously try to avoid smiling in social situations, something that can be draining emotionally.
How does BOTOX help? Injecting a tiny amount of BOTOX in the area between the nose and the mouth temporarily restricts the movement of the upper lip, preventing it from retracting too much when you smile. This constraint results in the lip covering more of the gums. As with other BOTOX uses, it takes a few days before you’ll notice the change, but the results last 3 to 6 months. The only alternative gummy smile treatment is surgery. You can see how BOTOX helped some of our actual patients by viewing before-and-after photos in our gallery.
Excessive Sweating: This is another condition that can make people very self-conscious in both social and professional settings. Even though it’s natural to sweat more profusely when you’re under stress or physically active, some men and women have a condition called hyperhidrosis. This condition causes them to sweat excessively in the underarms. Besides being potentially embarrassing, excessive sweating can be costly when you have to replace stained dresses or shirts. Antiperspirants or deodorants are of little use.
How does BOTOX help? BOTOX is a neurotoxin that works by interrupting signals to nerves in the treatment area. Normally, the nervous system activates sweat glands as the body’s temperature increases, helping it cool itself. People with hyperhidrosis have overactive sweat glands. BOTOX essentially paralyzes the sweat glands—at least temporarily. BOTOX injections can also treat excessive hand and feet sweating.
Platysmal Bands: The platysmal muscle actually covers much of the chest and shoulder before narrowing as it stretches upwards to either side of the neck. It’s here where the banded appearance of the muscle can sometimes become prominent and cause men and women to look older than they are. In fact, these vertical bands are often one of the earliest signs of aging, especially for women. Imagine how your neck looks when you grimace, and you’ll get a good idea of how these neckbands appear.
How does BOTOX help? The same reason that BOTOX minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is why BOTOX is an effective treatment to reduce vertical neckbands. Injecting very small amounts of BOTOX relaxes the platysma muscle. The result is a smoother neck that appears more elegant.
If you’re curious about these treatments or other uses for BOTOX, you can contact us using the online form to request a consultation with a dermatologist at our Dallas practice. Or call us at (214) 631-7546 to schedule an appointment.