When most people think of Botox the first thing that usually comes to mind is wrinkle reduction. Indeed, Botox is the world’s most popular treatment for eradicating wrinkles and fine lines. The toxin is specifically FDA approved for treating frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines) and lines around the eyes (crow’s feet). In addition to being the gold standard for wrinkle reduction, Botox can also be used to treat a variety of issues, both cosmetic and non-cosmetic.
Dr. John Zannis is a New Bern, North Carolina board certified plastic surgeon. He provides a list of conditions that Botox has been used to treat.
Botox can curb oil production, reducing breakouts. “To totally treat acne, you’d need to use doses of Botox so large they’d prevent you from constricting your facial muscles,” says Dr. Zannis. “But tiny amounts of Botox injected very superficially help reduce oil production, and you can still have facial expressions.” Though he’d recommend it for almost any patient struggling with acne, Zannis would likely advise trying another dermatologist-prescribed treatment, like spironolactone or birth control pills, first. And though it can technically be used to quell oil production anywhere on the face, he cautions against using it all over because of potential effects on muscular activity (a.k.a. frozen face). The most effective and common area for using Botox to curb oil production, he says, is the forehead.
Gummy smile (not FDA approved)
A “gummy” smile, one that’s characterized by a smile that shows too much of the gums, usually results from “excessive lip elevation” when the upper lip rises too far above the upper teeth when smiling. Injecting Botox into the upper lip weakens the upper lip’s retractor muscles so that it won’t raise as high and your smile will seem better-balanced. It can be done in about five minutes. Usually lasts for four to six months. Costs range from $200-$300. Dr. Zannis says, “This technique is not for the novice Botox injector. Too much, and your lip won’t raise enough, too little and you will need more, or if injected asymmetrically, you might have a funny asymmetrical smile.”
Overactive bladder problems affect up to 20% of women over 40. For severe cases where medications do not provide complete relief, Botox injections into the bladder wall may provide relief lasting about 6 months.
Psoriasis is uncomfortable, itchy, and not exactly easy on the eyes. Luckily, this flaky skin condition could be a thing of the past thanks to Botox. Though psoriasis is technically incurable, Botox minimizes the activity of inflammatory cells that bring on outbreaks.
For those who suffer from excessive sweating, however, summer isn’t always the sunniest time of the year. Thankfully, Botox could be a saving grace for those attempting to manage this condition, which is officially known as axillary hyperhidrosis. Studies show that just a handful of injections can reduce underarm sweat for up to TWO years. Um, where do we sign up?
Are your breasts in need of a pick-me-up? Instead of going under the knife and getting permanent augmentation, some experts have suggested a quick and easy Botox lift. Dr. Zannis says that, “Those looking for a modest improvement are said to be able to temporarily plump their assets thanks to injections into the pectoralis minor chest muscle.”
The benefits of Botox® may be more than skin deep; two recent studies suggest that it may help alleviate the symptoms of depression. In a study published in the May 2014 issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research, more than half of participants who had moderate-to-severe depression showed a substantial improvement in depressive symptoms following one injection of Botox® between the brows. This improvement lasts longer than the cosmetic effects, suggesting that the effect may be more than just feeling better about your appearance. Botox® is not approved to treat depression.
Injections of Botox® were used to control involuntary muscle tension and spasms long before it became the go-to wrinkle buster. Dr. Zannis says that, “these neurotoxin injections may weaken the chewing muscles enough to reduce bruxism (teeth grinding) without affecting your ability to chew, talk and smile. Results last about four months. Botox® is not yet approved to treat bruxism.”
Botox® is approved by the FDA to treat chronic migraine headaches in adults who have 15 or more headache-days a month, each lasting four hours or more. Studies that led to this indication show that BOTOX®® prevents up to nine headache-days a month (vs seven for dummy injections). Other research hints that the neurotoxin may also help with low cerebrospinal fluid headaches and cluster or “suicide” headaches.
Much like lines form over time, your brow may also drop or droop. Botox cosmetic treatments can also be used to improve the appearance of the brow. Dr. Zannis explains that, “the treatment essentially freezes the sagging muscles in place and gives the brow more stability. Lifting the brows in this way leaves you with a less tired and younger, fresher appearance.”
Jaw Reduction (off label use)
Botox can be used to perform jaw reduction (commonly called jaw line softening). Injecting Botox into the masseter muscle (the primary muscle used in chewing actions) reduces its overall size; transforming an overly square and masculine appearing jawline into a more feminine oval or heart shape.
Dr. John Zannis is a New Bern, North Carolina board-certified plastic surgeon and best selling author. A graduate of Stanford University and The University of Cincinnati Medical College, he received his formal training in General Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina under the guidance of world-renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Louis Argenta. During this time, he performed over 5,000 surgical procedures and covered all aspects of plastic surgery including cosmetic surgery of the face and body, complex reconstructive procedures of face and body, cleft lip and palate surgery, hand surgery, facial and jaw fracture repair, and reconstruction following massive weight loss. He blends his interests and studies of classical art and symmetry to his surgery practices. Connect with him via twitter @JohnZannisMD or his website Zannis Plastic Surgery