No Sweat: Why Fitness Fanatics Botox Their Hair

Author: Dr. Bobby Buka

All the dry shampoo in the world can’t preserve a good blowout after an hour at SoulCycle. While squeezing a workout in during lunchtime may be an ideal way to avoid losing AM or PM hours, midday sweat is almost certain to damage whatever bomb style you had going on in the morning. Either that, you’re heading back to work with wet hair.

You shouldn’t have to choose between exercise and good hair. So what’s a girl, or guy, to do? Luckily, dermatologists have a surprising solution—scap botox. Or as it’s known colloquially, blowtox.

Here’s what to know about this trend, and whether it’s right for you.

Scalp botox is a patient-driven service

Some dermatological services are medically driven, while others come to be thanks to patient demand. The latter is the case for scalp botox, which first became popular due to the specific concen mentioned above: women wanted to make the most out of their good hair days (and the investment they require) without sacrificing hot yoga to keep it fresh.

As such, the trend is considered “off-label” because scalp perspiration isn’t a medical condition. That said, it’s perfectly safe—dermatologists have been botoxing the scalp to treat migraines for many years.

Botoxing the scalp blocks communication between nerves and sweat glands.

The purpose of blowtox is to slow down sweating during exercise, preserving that “just been to the salon” look. Even before this trend emerged, botox was used for this purpose; specifically, to treat hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. There are two types of hyperhidrosis: primary focal, which is a condition in itself, and secondary, which is a side effect of another condition or medication.

By blocking communication between nerves and sweat glands, botox blocks the  neurotransmitters that stimulate the sweat glands, essentially paralyzing them. Approved by the FDA in 2004, this treatment typically involves injections in the armpits, hands, or feet.

Injections take 10 to 15 minutes, and last 6 to 12 months

Obviously, your scalp has a larger surface area than, say, your armpit or eyelid. Botoxing an entire scalp requires about 150 to 200 injections in total. Still, it’s minimally invasive, taking just 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Though the scalp is thick and may hurt more than other areas of skin when penetrated, dermatologists use small needles for to minimize any pain or discomfort. Some patients may prefer simple forehead injections, which can stop sweating at the hairline specifically.

For those unfamiliar, botox is made from a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum called botulinum toxin, thus its name. It works by paralyzing the muscles, which is why it effectively stops sweat.

Scalp botox typically lasts anywhere between six and 12 months.

The results have been positive, so far

As a trend, dermatologists can attest that scalp botox has taken off as a trend, mainly in New York City and LA. Women who have gotten the treatment have noticed a difference within days.

For those wondering, botox does not affect hair growth—in fact it is being tested as a treatment for hair loss, so if anything it could result in thicker, fuller hair.

This procedure might not be for everyone. Though it certainly slows sweat, during a high-pressure workout you can still expect some frizz and wetness. Besides, sweating, however irritating, succeeds in flushing the body of toxins.

Still, it’s a 21st-century wonder that men and women can choose a groundbreaking service like this rather than surrendering to sweaty hair by default. For those that want to dive head-first into sweat-free bliss, this could well be the choice for them.

Bobby Buka MD offers various botox services, scalp included, in our New York City offices. Make an appointment on ZocDoc today!