For some women, Botox seems to be the cure to combat the onset of aging, but what about combating acne?
Botox is a prescription medicine that is injected into muscles to help improve moderate to severe wrinkles. This nonsurgical treatment works by paralyzing nerve impulses, which in turn reduces the activity that causes moderate to severe lines between the eyebrows.
Botox is used for more than just cosmetic purposes. Botox can be used to treat incontinence, muscle spasms and excess sweating.
Anil Shah MD, a plastic surgeon in Chicago is one of the few doctors using Botox as acne treatment.
"Botox definitely clears up acne," Shah said.
Instead of administering Clostridium botulinum in the muscles between an individual's eyebrows, Shah injects intradermal botulinum toxin directly into the skin to eliminate large pores, oil production and acne breakouts.
Acne occurs when an individual's sebaceous glands, located in the skin, produce and release an excessive amount of sebum (oil) into the skin's pores. Bacteria then use the sebum as food and reproduce causing one's pores to become inflamed forming pimples.
According to Dr. Shah, Botox prevents the production of the sebum, which in turn starves the bacteria that causes pimples.
He believes the way Botox works is by blocking the chemical acetycholine in the skin's dermis. Acetycholine is responsible for increasing the sebum production. Also the treatment paralyzes the tiny erector pili muscles that surround the skin's pores leading them to expand.
Dr. Shah warns that the treatment is not meant for everyone. He does not accept patients that are currently in their teenage years.
"I only treat patients over 20-years-old," he says. "Their hormonal changes are likely permanent. For them Botox is now the safest most effective treatment we have."
Dr. Shah published the only study demonstrating that intradermal Botox lowers the skin's oil production.
In the study 20 patients were administered a single application. Dr. Shah observed after one month of injection, there were an improvement in sebum production and a decrease in pore size. Additionally, patients were pleased with the results.