Think Botox and you think wrinkles—or smoothing them, anyway. And some of us are into that, while others are against it. Wherever you may side in the Botox debate, the toxin is specifically FDA approved for treating frown lines between the eyebrows (aka glabellar lines, for all you skin pros) and lines around the eyes (crow’s feet).
Well, here’s some surprising news. 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. Read on, friends, and see if this post changes your mind about Botox.
Beyond Wrinkles: 11 Ways Botox Can Help You
Botox can curb oil production, reducing breakouts, which are all too common for women, believe it or not. To totally treat acne, you’d need to use doses of Botox so large they’d prevent you from constricting your facial muscles. But tiny amounts of Botox injected very superficially help reduce oil production, and you can still have facial expressions.
You should try another dermatologist-prescribed treatment, like spironolactone or birth control pills, first. Although Botox can be used to quell oil production anywhere on the face, don’t use it all over because of potential effects on muscular activity (a.k.a. frozen face).
INSIDER TIP: The most effective and common area for using Botox to curb oil production is the forehead.
2. Gummy Smile
A “gummy” smile, one that’s characterized by a smile that shows too much of the gums, usually results 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 and usually lasts from four to six months.
INSIDER TIP: This non-FDA-approved 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.
3. Urinary Incontinence
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.
INSIDER TIP: There are other smart things you can do as well to keep a dry scalp from ruining a good hair day.
5. Excessive Sweating
In perimenopause, feeling drenched all the time is par for the course. But for those who suffer from excessive sweating, age doesn’t play a factor. Thankfully, Botox could be a saving grace for those attempting to manage this condition, which is officially known as axillary hyperhidrosis.
INSIDER TIP: Studies show that just a handful of injections can reduce underarm sweat for up to TWO years. Um, where do we sign up?
6. Breast Lift
Are your boobs in need of a pick-us-up? Instead of going under the knife for a permanent breast augmentation, some experts have suggested a quick and easy Botox lift.
INSIDER TIP: For a temporary life, you can get injections into the pectoralis minor chest muscle.
Two recent studies suggest that Botox 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 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.
INSIDER TIP: Keep in mind that Botox® is not approved to treat depression.
8. Teeth Grinding
Injections of Botox were used to control involuntary muscle tension and spasms long before it became the go-to wrinkle buster. These neurotoxin injections may weaken the chewing muscles enough to reduce bruxism (teeth grinding) without affecting your ability to chew, talk and smile.
INSIDER TIP: Results last about four months. Botox is not yet approved to treat bruxism.
9. Migraine Headache
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).
INSIDER TIP: Other research hints that the neurotoxin may also help with low cerebrospinal fluid headaches and cluster or “suicide” headaches.
10. Brow Boost
Much like lines form over time, your brow may also drop or droop. Botox cosmetic treatments can be used to improve the appearance of the brow. The treatment essentially freezes the sagging muscles in place and gives the brow more stability.
INSIDER TIP: Lifting the brows in this way leaves you with a less tired and younger, fresher appearance.
11. Jaw Reduction
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.
INSIDER TIP: Using Botox can transform 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. He covers 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.