If it seems like your acne-prone skin is immune to every single blemish-fighting cream, lotion, and mask you've tried, it probably seems like getting your breakouts under control is a lost cause.
But, it turns out that Botox, the relatively painless solution for minimizing your crow's feet or the forehead lines you're hung up on, can be used to combat stubborn acne, too.
New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler says that Botox a number off-label uses that include eliminating excess sweating, controlling leaky bladders, minimizing scars—and clearing breakouts. "It has now been shown that [skin's] sebaceous glands have the same receptors for acetylcholine [an organic chemical that acts as a neurotransmitter in humans], and injection of Botox is associated with less oil production, staving off acne-causing bacteria," she says.
A typical Botox treatment that targets acne involves injecting a small amount of the neurotoxin into key muscles of the face. It minimizes blemishes by blocking and paralyzing acetylcholine, which is released by nerves into the muscle.
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"It has now been shown that sebaceous glands have the same receptors for acetylcholine, and the injection of Botox is associated with less oil production, staving off acne-causing bacteria," explains Dr. Wexler. It's the exact same concept of how Botox is used to reduce excessive sweating by blocking the body's sweat gland nerves in the same manner. The dermatologist also says that a decrease in oil production will also shrink pore size, which in turn means less follicular sweating.
Aside from the obvious expense and having to make a trip to the doctor's office when you're using Botox as a treatment option for acne, there are a few other downsides. Unlike the spot treatment you dabbed on your pimples before bed, don't expect your blemishes to shrink instantly. Dr. Wexler says that although it is possible to see a gradual improvement more quickly, it generally takes about a month after the injection to see a difference in your skin. The silver lining? Botox does prevent blemishes.