Can Botox Cure Acne?

When you think about botox you don’t normally think about it in relation to acne. Instead, it is commonly related to its use to tighten skin, smooth fine lines, and, in some cases, prevent migraines. However, there has been a recent study by Anil R. Shah MD that provides evidence that botox can be used as an acne treatment.

Firstly, what is acne?
Every inch of a human’s body is covered in small openings called pores. Within these pores, there is an oil produced called Sebum. When these pores get clogged with dirt and sweat, the oil creates an acne breakout. These clogs can be the result of genetics, stress dietary changes, and pressure on the skin such as phones and helmets. Large breakouts can be caused by hormonal changes that cause these pores to create an overabundance of oil, which can also clog them.

There are different types of acne breakouts. These include:
Whiteheads: Pores that are closed and plugged up.
Blackheads: These are open and clogged pores that turn brown after being exposed to air.
Papules: Red, tender bumps on the skin.
Pustules: Pimples that contain pus at their tip.
Nodules: Large, painful lumps that are under the surface of the skin.
Cystic Lesions: Painful, pus-filled lumps under the surface of the skin.

As of yet, there are no absolute cures for acne, only preventative measures. The most common types of prevention methods are:
Changes in Lifestyle: Sleeping more, eating less fatty and carb-heavy foods, and drinking plenty of water.
Opening your Pores: This can be done using steam from a humidifier or even the steam from a hot shower.
Daily Cleansing: This can be done with facial washes and astringent, cleansing wipes, and facials. At the very least you should try and wash your face once a day to remove dirt and oil build-up. Some dermatologists will even recommend cleaning your face twice a day.

We can now add Botox to the list of preventative measures. Unfortunately, we cannot declare it as a total cure but don’t be surprised if your dermatologist suggests it as an option for keeping those break-outs at day. During the study performed by Dr. Anil R. Shah, it was found that 85% of the focus group showed significant reductions in the acne that usually appeared on their forehead. While the study was only comprised of Twenty members, this is still a promising result.

While not affiliated with Shah’s study, Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, a dermatologist and clinical professor at NYU and Mount Sinai in NYC stated that  “When you sweat, you release more sebaceous oils that can lead to clogged pores and acne. When we inject Botox into the forehead and between the brow for cosmetic purposes, many patients found that they sweat less, also have a decrease in forehead acne.” It all stands to reason when put in terms like this. As it currently has not been determined a full cure, this would need to be a repeat treatment. Take caution, however, as Botox has been linked to facial paralysis. Make sure you discuss all of your options with your dermatologist and do your research thoroughly. Not all treatments work for everyone and the treatment you choose should be what works well with your skin type.

About Erin Thompson