10 Surprising Benefits of Botox You Might Not Know, According to Experts
It's National Botox Day, after all, and these uses for the injectable are less discussed.
Disclaimer: This post contains the opinions of experts in the cosmetic field. Before opting for any cosmetic or medical procedure, you should always consult with your doctor or a board-certified professional to determine what’s right for you.
Between four and five million people are already doing it each year. Should you be one of them? We’re talking about Botox injections, the process of injecting botulinum toxin into muscles to essentially “freeze” them from movement.
Over the last 20 years, the number of annual Botox injections has increased by nearly 459%, according to Elite Plastic Surgery in Tampa, FL. Almost 20% of those users are millennials ages 30 to 39, as reported by the National Post, proving that Botox (or its competitors, Dysport and Xeomin) isn’t just for older people.
Not only can Botox help erase existing fine lines or wrinkles in certain areas of the face, but it can also help prevent new ones from forming by decreasing movement in muscles around the eyes, brows, and forehead.
That said, there are many under-reported benefits and usages for Botox injections that you may not have heard of before. Here, in honor of National Botox Day, experts explain all there is to know about the injectible.
1. Botox is temporary.
Unlike a nose job or an eye lift, Botox can alter the appearance of your face but the effects are temporary — as in, it wears off after a few months.
“If you don’t like the way you look after getting injected, it is not a permanent change,” explains Evan Garfein, M.D., chief of plastic surgery at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
In this way, Botox and its competitors are a less risky option than surgery. Although, it’s crucial to know that Botox does have its own set of risks and potential side effects, and can also produce less-than-desirable results, such as pain or swelling at the injection site, flu-like symptoms, or droopy eyelids.
Typically, Botox will wear off after 3 to 4 months. Doctors often recommend touchups around two weeks after your initial injection so that you can correct any asymmetries or address anything that didn’t quite turn out the way you’d hoped.
2. It can help you sweat less.
One of the lesser-known uses of Botox is for excessive sweating. Did you know it can be injected right into armpits, hands, and even feet?
“When getting Botox for sweat glands, it blocks and reduces sweat and odor,” says Lilian Alishaev, R.N., a cosmetic nurse injector practicing at Manhattan Laser Spa. “Botulinum toxins block the nerve signals responsible for sweating, stopping the glands from producing too much sweat.”
Alishaev admits it’s not a permanent solution, although the effects can last for up to 6 months, on average.
3. It can help with migraines.
Any migraine sufferer knows that such pounding headaches can be brutal. Botox can help hit where other meds may not be able to.
“Migraine can be a complex issue, but often it’s caused and exacerbated by tense muscles around the brows, forehead, jaw, neck, and shoulders,” explains Masha Amelina PA-C, a certified physician’s assistant and owner of Visage Sculpture, a cosmetic clinic in Boston, Mass.
“Generally, the injection points are in the forehead, sides of the head, back of the head, and neck. The injections are targeting ‘trigger points’ where the headache is potentially originating from,” says Carmen Castilla, M.D., a New York-based, board-certified Dermatologist. “It is believed to block the release of pain signals associated with the migraine.”
Doctors note, however, that you’ll likely require multiple treatments around every 12 weeks, and it may take 4 weeks or more for your migraine symptoms to improve.
4. It can help with teeth grinding.
I started clenching my jaw at night in college. I tried a variety of night guards, and while those saved my teeth, it did not help the constant ache in my jaw. “Botox helps relax tense jaw muscles and alleviate pain in patients suffering from TMJ disorder symptoms and can be highly effective,” says Brianna LaTorre, a registered nurse practicing at the Lip Bunny Beauty Medspa in Fall River, Mass.
She cites several studies that show Botox treatments significantly decreased pain and increased mouth movements for three months following the treatment in 90% of participants.
“Botox works by freezing the muscles responsible for the tension along the jaw,” says LaTorre. “This freezing of the muscle along the jaw prevents the tension in the facial muscles responsible for the pain and damage caused by TMJ.”
5. It can help slim calves.
If you can relate to never finding tall boots that will zip over your wide calves, know that Botox may be able to help. Amelina uses a technique in which the substance is strategically injected into calf muscles to prevent movement, therefore reducing the potential for the muscle to grow and get bulky.
“The bulky appearance of the calves is caused by hypertrophy of the gastrocnemius muscles, which can result from prolonged wear of high heels, sports, or just genetics,” explains Amelina. “The calf slimming treatment can block peripheral motor nerves to the gastrocnemius, which has the effect of reducing the muscle bulk and giving a more streamlined contour to the leg.”
Amelina says the results of this type of injection typically appear within three weeks and last for over a year.
6. It can make your face look more symmetrical.
Volume loss happens in the face over time, and can sometimes occur unevenly. Botox — in conjunction with other injectables known as fillers — can correct this in the areas of the chin, cheeks, jawline, and lips.
“Injectables help diminish wrinkles and volume loss, and also contour, shape, and enhance facial features,” explains Alishaev.
7. It may extend the life of your blowout.
If you have an oily scalp, you know the struggle is real. “If you are someone who has a very oily scalp that is prone to irritation and infection as well, Botox may be recommended by your care provider to help decrease excessive oil production, which also extends the life of your blowout,” explains aesthetician and influencer Cassandra Bankson.
“This can also help relax the muscles of the scalp and improve circulation, and some people claim that it can also help with hair regrowth.”
8. It may make wearing high heels less painful.
Coco Chanel once said: “keep your heels, head, and standards high.” From crows feet, to actual feet… whether you have plantar fasciitis or you just like wearing five-inch heels, a shot of Botox in the right spot can make this habit feel a heck of a lot more comfortable.
“Botox injections into the heel reduced patient pain, significantly improved their foot function, and decreased their need for surgical treatment,” states Castle Rock Foot and Ankle Care in Highlands Park, CO.
9. It can make your grin less gummy.
A new, trendy procedure known as the “lip flip” is making waves, especially on TikTok where #Lipflip has more than 64 million views.
Essentially, Botox is injected above the upper lip so that it stays in place when you smile instead of curling upward. While it doesn’t actually make your top lip any larger, it keeps it from disappearing — which can be worth the pain and expense to some.
10. It can make you look happier.
RBF, or resting bitch face, is a phenomenon where a neutral facial expression unintentionally makes them appear like they are unhappy or angry. And believe it or not, there’s a treatment for that, too.
“Patients say, ‘people ask me what’s wrong, but I am happy inside. It just always looks like I am frowning,’” says David Shafer, M.D., a double board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City.
“One of the common techniques I use is to inject a small amount of Botox into the jowl area, known as the DAO muscle, which is one of the muscles responsible for helping you frown. By relaxing that muscle, the upward-pulling muscles dominate and it turns a frown upside down. Patients see a more pleasant resting look within about two weeks with less frowning,” he adds.
It’s important to note that this is an off-label use for Botox and should only be performed by experienced, board-certified injectors.
And if any of the above surprising benefits of Botox sound appealing to you, make sure to consult your doctor or a licensed professional before making the decision to get injectables.