No sweat! How painless muscle-paralysing Botox ‘pistol’ can stop excessive sweating without the need for injections
- Over the past 20 years, doctors have used Botox to treat a variety of conditions
- In sweating, chemical works to block nerve signals that instruct sweat glands
- New device, called MedJet, uses jetstream of CO2 to administer the treatment
A powerful ‘pistol’ that fires a shot of muscle-paralysing Botox into the skin without the need for needles is being used to treat excessive sweating.
Previously, the treatment – while successful – involved up to 50 painful jabs of the drug and, for the effect to be maintained, this process has to be repeated every three to four months.
Over the past 20 years, doctors have used Botox, or botulinum toxin, to treat a variety of medical conditions such as migraines, facial paralysis and eye spasms.
In excessive sweating, the chemical works to block nerve signals that instruct the sweat glands to produce liquid. The new device, called MedJet, uses a jetstream of carbon dioxide gas that sends the toxin deep into the skin without puncturing it, offering a pain-free way to ‘turn off’ the sweat glands.
The new device, called MedJet, uses a jetstream of carbon dioxide gas that sends Botox deep into the skin without puncturing it, offering a pain-free way to ‘turn off’ the sweat glands
Experts believe the results may even last longer than the needle-based version.
The device is loaded with a syringe of Botox and a cylinder of carbon dioxide gas. Attached to the tip of the gun is a disposable plastic nozzle with a microscopic hole – seven times finer than a needle.
With each pull of the trigger, a pre-programmed dose of both gas and Botox are released through the tip. The powerful blast of gas pushes the chemical beneath the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis, reaching the sweat glands in the deeper skin tissue known as the dermis. ‘This is a very clever way of making an extremely painful treatment far more comfortable,’ says Dr Rekha Tailor, a GP and aesthetic practitioner who offers the treatment. ‘There’s no punctures to the skin, which means patients barely feel a thing.’
Estimated to affect up to three in every 100 people, excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, occurs due to a fault with the nerves that control perspiration. This is usually due to overactivity in the central nervous system, which tightly regulates body temperature.
When the body overheats, signals are sent to the nerves in the sweat glands, instructing them to produce fluid, reducing body temperature.
When body temperature reaches normal again, the signals stop and sweat production is halted. But in people with hyperhidrosis, these signals are disrupted, causing the sweating nerves to overreact.
The condition usually starts in childhood or adolescence, and in adulthood can be triggered by stress and anxiety. The hands, feet and armpits are often affected, as well as the groin, face and chest. In severe cases, doctors prescribe drugs called anticholinergics to block the effects of acetylcholine, a chemical that activates the sweat glands. But with these drugs come several unpleasant side effects including blurred vision, constipation and stomach cramps.
Private dermatologists can treat the skin with electric currents, said to block the sweat glands, but this is expensive and must be repeated monthly to sustain the result. Many patients try Botox, but Dr Tailor admits: ‘An intense fear of needles puts many people off treatment, which means they continue suffering.’
In excessive sweating (stock image), botox works to block nerve signals that instruct the sweat glands to produce liquid
Now, a few blasts of the MedJet can curb sweat production immediately, with effects lasting up to six months.
Following an hour-long consultation two weeks before the procedure, Dr Tailor’s patients arrive at her Surrey clinic for the 30-minute treatment. Prior to the appointment, she prepares the gun, filling one end with a capsule of Botox and the other with a tube of carbon dioxide gas. She holds the gun on the skin and gradually moves it across, pulling the trigger.
Patients are able to go about their everyday life immediately.
A follow-up appointment is needed between two and three weeks later and a top-up treatment every six months.
Three weeks ago, Daniel Lewis, a recruitment manager who lives in London, received the MedJet treatment for hyperhidrosis in his hands. ‘I still can’t believe that it was pain-free. I didn’t feel a thing apart from slight pressure of the doctor holding my hand,’ he recalls.
The 33-year-old, who recently launched his own business, sought the treatment after his ‘clammy, sweaty hands’ made him self-conscious during business meetings.
He says: ‘I became worried about shaking hands with important clients. Even if I felt as cool as a cucumber, my hands would be covered in sweat. If I got hot and nervous it made it even worse.’
Birmingham-born Daniel scoured the internet for effective treatment and eventually came across Dr Tailor’s clinic. ‘I didn’t fancy the needles so I thought I’d try this instead. Dr Tailor said the worst I’d get would be some swelling for a week or so afterwards.’
But to his surprise, even minor side effects were non-existent. ‘The sweat on my hands immediately vanished. I had no swelling or pain and was out of the clinic in 20 minutes,’ he says.
Daniel has since had three nerve-racking business meetings with high-flying clients. Has he broken a sweat? ‘Not once,’ he says.
Make your own throat gargle to help with hay fever
It’s hay fever season, as anyone who suffers will hardly need to be reminded. Among its many symptoms, I get a dry, itchy throat that can be very uncomfortable. So I thought I’d give this gargle a go.
Don’t worry about the garlic – you barely notice it, and apparently, it’s a natural antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory.
Gargle whenever your throat starts to itch.
Use honey, lemon and garlic to make this relieving throat gargle. It’s a natural antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory
- 1 tsp honey
- Juice of a whole lemon
- Half a clove of garlic
By Frederick Faulkner
Yes please: Caudalie Beautifying Suncare Oil SPF 30
We all need a bit of sun to get a dose of Vitamin D – but after about 20 minutes, if you want to avoid wrinkles, rub on this supremely moisturising sunscreen.
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