why are women botoxing their scalps?

never wash your hair again

Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images

We’ve read our fair share on why it’s not ideal to shampoo every day, from it being bad for scalp health to actually increasing oil production. But trying to suds up your strands less frequently is often easier said than done, and success can depend on hair type, product usage, and even exercise schedule. After all, what are you supposed to do after long runs outside or an intense hot-yoga session, when no dry shampoo (or hat, for that matter) can save your sweat-soaked style? 

Fortunately, when a beauty dilemma presents itself, it’s usually only a matter of time before a solution becomes available. There’s already a fix for super-sweaty scalps, but it’s not exactly one you can bottle or buy at the drugstore. Women are reportedly getting scalp Botox (yep, you read that right) to limit their scalp’s oil production. Similar to underarm, foot, and hand Botox (some get Botox injected in the right palm to prevent sweaty handshakes), the procedure limits sweating, thereby leaving hair in perfect, post-blowout condition for longer. 

Totally nuts or a total beauty miracle? 

To get the inside scoop on this new hair care trend, we spoke with Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologic surgeon and dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery (MDCS) in New York. Dr. Engelman is one of the first professionals to offer and perform this procedure. According to her, the evolution of scalp Botox was organic. It involved a patient with a problem, and the two of them working through ways to find an answer. “A patient came in complaining of excess scalp sweating—how it was ruining her blowouts or making her skip workouts because she didn’t have time to restyle her hair,” says Dr. Engelman. “I mentioned botulinum toxin injections (Botox), and she said she wanted to try it.” 

First, a little background on Botox. Botox minimizes something called hyperhidrosis (a fancy word for excessive sweating). Boltulinum toxin injections essentially halt any communication between the nerve ending and the eccrine (sweat) gland. As a result, the sweat gland doesn’t get the signal to sweat for an extended period of time. Botox is one treatment but has multiple uses. It can also halt communication between a nerve ending and a muscle, which prevents the muscle from contracting. This helps minimize and prevent wrinkles. 

When performing scalp Botox, Dr. Engelman first preps the scalp with alcohol, then applies anywhere from 100 to 200 injections, depending on the location of the sweating. Dr. Engelman says, “If a patient complains of only sweating around the periphery of the scalp, for example, then they will require fewer injections than someone who sweats profusely all over the scalp.” 

At first, 100 to 200 injections sounds like a painful and lengthy procedure. However, Dr. Engelman noted it’s relatively painless only takes 10 to 20 minutes to perform. “I use a very small needle and inject it into the hair follicle opening, so the pain is minimized,” says Dr. Engelman. “To date, everyone has tolerated the procedure beautifully and no one has complained of pain or discontinued the treatment due to pain.” The results can last anywhere from six to 12 months and costs somewhere between $1,200 and $1,500 per treatment. 

In case you’re wondering, Dr. Engelman also explains that scalp Botox won’t do anything to adversely affect the hair—and one-half of patients may actually experience increased hair growth (this is currently being studied by medical experts). 

Scalp Botox can be for anyone (male or female) who feels exercise ruins his or her hair, or for someone who spends a lot of time correcting what excess sweating has caused. “Make sure to see a licensed and trained professional,” says Dr. Engelman. “Since this is a relatively new procedure, call the office in advance and ask if the doctor has performed scalp Botox in the past and how familiar they are with it.” 

Dr. Engelman thinks scalp Botox will only increase in popularity. “So many people agonize over the effects sweating has on hair, but until now, they didn’t know treatment options were available.”