What You Need To Know About Chrissy Teigen's Armpit Botox
We can always count on Chrissy Teigen to be candid on social media, so it should come as no surprise that the cookbook author documented her recent trip to the plastic surgeon on her Instagram Story for her 25 million followers to see. The model paid a visit to Jason Diamond, MD, a facial plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, for Botox®, which, on its own, may not seem particularly newsworthy. But it's where she got the injections that piqued people's interest.
"Botoxed my armpits," Teigen captioned a video of the procedure (screenshot above). "Truly the best move I have ever made."
While botulinum toxin type A (BoNT) injectables are best known for their anti-aging benefits (think: reducing the appearance of frown lines, forehead wrinkles, and crow's feet), Botox®, in particular, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 to treat hyperhidrosis (a.k.a. excessive sweating). And it is used to treat patients with less serious cases, too.
“Botox® in the underarms is a very popular treatment to decrease sweating,” says Samer Jaber, MD, founder of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “Hyperhidrosis affects approximately 2 percent of the U.S. population. In many patients, it can interfere with the quality of their lives and increase social anxiety.”
To be clear, some amount of sweating is necessary to regulate body temperature, but Botox® is an option for patients who do not respond to antiperspirants and/or find their quality of life impacted by sweat.
“It can significantly minimize sweating of the underarms, which is a goal for many people who want to avoid social embarrassment or staining their clothes,” Dr. Jaber says of the treatment. “I also do this procedure for many of my patients who don't have excess sweating but want to avoid sweat marks for a major event such as a wedding, party, or important work presentation.”
The BoNT injections work by temporarily blocking the release of the neurotransmitter (acetylcholine) that activates the sweat glands. As a result, the body stops sweating (or sweats significantly less) in the area the Botox® has been injected. And, while the FDA approval only extends to the underarms, it is also employed "off label" on other parts of the body. Dr. Jaber says it is often used “on the palms and soles” or even to treat “a sweaty forehead or nose.”
According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, BoNT injections have been shown to decrease sweating by 82 to 87 percent, with results kicking in anywhere from two days to two weeks after treatment. Dr. Jaber says his patients typically experience relief for four to six months, though it can last up to a year for some.
But what about the rumors you may have heard that the sweat prohibited via Botox® in one area (think: the armpits) just manifests somewhere else on the body instead (say, the chest or back)? Dr. Jaber says it’s rarely a concern.
“Sweating in other areas, or compensatory sweating, is a complication of endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy — a surgical procedure for those suffering from severe hyperhidrosis, where the nerves stimulating sweating are cut,” he says. “This is very rare with Botox® injections.”
During Teigen’s Instagram clip, Dr. Diamond appears to make about a dozen injections in a grid pattern under her arm with a single syringe. The entire process seemed to last no more than a few minutes, and the model remarked that it "really isn't anything."
Dosage and pain level depend on the area that is being treated and the severity of the condition, but Botox® for two armpits tends to cost around $1,000 and may or may not be covered by insurance. Bruising and pain at the injection site are common side effects in the days following the procedure (Dr. Jaber says the discomfort tends to clear up quickly), and, in rare cases, patients may experience botulism-like symptoms (severe muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, etc.).
But for Teigen and others who deal with excessive sweating, the promise of prolonged dryness is more than worth it.
"I can wear silk again without soaking,” she concluded. “Woohoo!"