No matter where you live in the world, chances are you’ve heard about Botox. But you may not be aware of just how much it’s used for.

Botox is most typically used for smoothing out wrinkles, which is no small wonder. But it’s also gained a lot of notoriety in the medical community for treating conditions like migraines and excessive sweating. In case you’d like the low-down on what this possible miracle drug can do for you, here’s what you need to know.  

What is Botox?

Botox (short for “botulinum toxin”) is a neurotoxin that temporarily paralyzes muscles. It does this by blocking some of the neurotransmitters that carry receptors to the brain. The substance comes from the bacteria clostridium botulinum, which can be found in soil and other natural elements.

Although the bacteria itself has a bad rap for making people sick under the right conditions, the actual bacteria and spores are harmless. In fact, the amount used in human treatment is extremely safe. The problems that occur with botulism happen after a lengthy process of transformation and bacterial population growth. But the form of the bacteria used for cosmetic and medical procedures doesn’t pose much harm.

Botox for wrinkles

Fighting wrinkles on the face is the most common use of Botox. In this procedure, a doctor injects small amounts into the offending areas. These areas are different for each patient, but the results are typically the same. The Botox then relaxes those muscles and the wrinkles diminish.

Some results will be visible within moments, but it generally takes a few days to reach its full effect. These results do wear off after a few months, so just like with most other medications, you’ll have to repeat its use.

Botox for migraines

Botox is becoming more widely known for the treatment of migraines. Currently, it’s only an approved treatment for people who suffer from chronic migraines, meaning they have them for at least 15 days per month. This is because it has proven to be the most effective on these patients.

When administering it for this condition, Botox is injected into areas around the head and neck, blocking some of the neurotransmitters that carry pain signals to the brain. Most migraine sufferers have to get these injections every 10-12 weeks to keep their headaches from reoccurring.

Botox for depression

Psychiatry is constantly making advances in its treatment of depression, and Botox is one of the newest methods discovered. There hasn’t been much debate on the fact that it works, but the reason why it works is somewhat surprising.

Medical experts believe the reason the drug works for depression has a lot to do with the way it affects facial expressions. Experts say that “facial expressions are part of the circuit of the brain related to mood.” In other words, all your emotions go through the muscle located between the eyebrows, so inhibiting that inhibits extreme emotions. 

Botox for body odor

Reducing body odor may be the most surprising effect of Botox, but if you understand how it works, it makes perfect sense. For people who tend to sweat a lot, body odor is difficult to control. Regular deodorants don’t seem to do the trick, but a few shots of Botox could.

The way it works is by paralyzing the small muscles surrounding the sweat glands. This keeps them from contracting and squeezing out more sweat. And the good news is, the FDA actually approved it for this very use. That is, as long as you are officially diagnosed with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).