Chrissy Teigen got Botox in her armpits to prevent sweating, but does it work?

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Chrissy Teigen had Botox injected into her armpits to prevent excessive sweating, and she said it was was the “best move” she’s ever made.

In a series of Instagram videos posted Tuesday, the model shared that the procedure has allowed her to “wear silk again without soaking.”

READ MORE: When excessive sweating becomes a medical condition — hyperhidrosis

In the first video, Teigen bites on a towel, anticipating pain from the needle headed into her underarm. But after a few seconds, she says: “That really isn’t anything!”

When asked if the procedure hurts, Teigen said it “truly didn’t hurt at all, but I also do laser hair removal there so my pain tolerance might be quite high.”

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According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll, you might experience pain during this procedure but only for a few minutes.

“The whole process itself usually takes [about] a minute each side,” said Carroll. “It’s a relatively simple procedure for dermatologists who do more complicated cosmetic Botox on a regular basis.”

Excessive sweating as a medical condition

Carroll said that for people who suffer with excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, the treatment can be life-changing.

READ MORE: Can you be allergic to your own sweat?

People with hyperhidrosis produce more sweat than is necessary to keep themselves cool. The Canadian Dermatology Association estimates that around three per cent of Canadians, or about 950,000 people, have hyperhidrosis.

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“Patients affected by this condition could just be sweating for no reason when other people in the same environment, same conditions, do not,” said Dr. Youwen Zhou, a dermatology professor at the University of British Columbia. While it’s not dangerous, it can be unpleasant and many patients feel embarrassed, he said.

“If regular antiperspirant doesn’t keep you comfortable and able to do all your daily activities, then you likely have hyperhidrosis,” she said. “It can have a massive impact on every part of your life.”

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Some people are bothered by the sweat itself, while others don’t like the smell.

“People don’t talk about it, but when you have to wake up every morning and think about what you’re going to put on so you can get through the day and not have to worry about [sweating], it can be really challenging,” said Carroll.
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Carroll herself did the procedure before her wedding day.

“I was going to be in a white strapless dress so I had my armpits done because I didn’t want to worry about pit stains on my wedding day,” she said.

How does it work?

When used to treat hyperhidrosis, Botox is injected into the underarms in a grid-like pattern with small needles.

“We cleanse the area and then we take tiny needles and inject the area where the sweating occurs,” said Carroll.

If you’re struggling with pain or you don’t like needles, there are some options, she adds.

“I numb the area for some people, or we can use vibrations for distractions so people don’t feel it.”

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This process will need to be repeated about every nine months, although the length of time in between procedures will depend on the severity of your hyperhidrosis.

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“I have some patients with severe hyperhidrosis who are treated every three months and then I have a lot of patients who just get it done once a year during the season when they know they have the most trouble,” said Carroll.

Risks and results

The risks of this procedure are very minor.

Botox has long been safely used as a cosmetic treatment for smoothing facial wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing muscles. It has also been used to treat neuromuscular conditions such as migraines and muscle spasms.

“All the risks are around the needle itself,” Carroll said. “Pain, bruising… there’s a very slight risk of infection, but it’s very rare.”

READ MORE: Is antiperspirant safe for kids?

There aren’t any long-term risks associated with the procedure.

The results will vary from person to person.

“It really depends on how much you’re sweating and how responsive you are to the drug,” she said.

“For some people, they don’t sweat at all. For others with severe hyperhidrosis, it just takes them down to what normal people would experience on a warm day.”

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How much does it cost?

There are two different costs involved with this procedure: the cost of the Botox and the cost of the injection. The total cost will depend on how much Botox you need.

“If you have medical coverage, [your insurance] will typically cover a percentage of the cost of Botox,” said Carroll. Some insurance companies will actually cover the entire cost of Botox. In this case, the patient only covers the cost of the injection fee.

“Injection fees range from $200 to $300, and the Botox could cost anywhere from $400 to $1,200,” Carroll said.

— With files from Leslie Young


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