Botox Treatment for Hair: Benefits & Side Effects

What is Botox?

Botox is widely known for treating a growing number of cosmetic and clinical indications. Botox dominated the beauty industry as a minimally invasive procedure for treating lines and wrinkles. The approval of Botox through various regulatory agents has also paved the way for its off-label usage. The effectiveness of this neurotoxin for excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) led some doctors to test its effects on the scalp as well. Dermatologists who are offering Botox for hair in their clinics claim to give the following benefits:

  • Reducing sweating in the scalp;
  • Possibly stimulating new hair growth;
  • Preventing hair loss.

How Botox for hair treatment works

Simply put, the absence of sweat in a Botox-treated scalp helps preserve hairstyles longer. Most patients who will seek this treatment want to keep their hairs in top shape even while working out. Those with a naturally oily scalp may prefer longer days in between hair washes. Other doctors may also recommend this to treat Androgenetic alopecia (male-pattern baldness), a type of hereditary hair loss that affects both men and women. This condition is also due to the presence of male hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The substance binds with hair follicles, cutting its growth phase short, and causing hair loss. It is believed that Botox increases blood flow in the scalp and blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT.

Safety and Efficacy

Although Botox seems to be effective in treating hyperhidrosis of the scalp, up to 100 units of Botox is needed to treat the entire scalp. This may not be cost-effective, as minimal outcome entails higher cost. With regards to baldness, several studies showed positive results from using Botox in patients with cephalalgia alopecia—a rare syndrome which involves severe headache and hair loss. The efficacy of Botox for hair and scalp problems remains unsubstantiated and its usage unapproved. More research studies are needed to verify its safety and efficacy for long-term use.

Common Side effects and Complications

Adverse events associated with Botox injection are often due to injection errors and excessive dosage used. A well-trained and certified physician can minimise the occurrence of side effects and serious complications. Patients may experience pain during injection, which may be more severe than facial injection. Occurrences of transient headache were also reported.

Other side effects include

  • localised bruising
  • swelling
  • itching
  • nausea.