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Botox for Acne?

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Pimples. Zits. By any name, acne is a distressing condition. Although acne generally disappears by the time we reach college-age, some people suffer with acne break-outs well into their 20’s and beyond. Previously, this type of refractory acne was treated with oral Accutane, which Roche Pharmaceuticals removed from the American market in 2009 for legal and financial reasons. Now, laser treatments are the preferred method for controlling this troublesome condition.

But there’s something new on the horizon that may provide relief for acne sufferers from an unexpected source. A Chicago plastic surgeon, Dr. Anil Shah, claims that injecting Botox into the skin may be able to treat acne, due to its ability to suppress the production of too much oil.

Botox is well known as a treatment for a broad variety of conditions. It was first created to treat muscle spasms. It’s also known to resolve migraines and excessive sweating, reduce lower back muscle tension, help TMJ sufferers and even relieve the problems of an overactive bladder. And, of course, we all know that Botox is used to soften facial wrinkles. This new application of Botox may change the way physicians treat adult acne in the future.

Dr. Shah says, “Treated patients had less oily skin, smaller pores, and a dramatic reduction in (pimples) and blackheads. Our subjects reported far fewer breakouts.” To our knowledge, Dr. Shah is the first doctor in the world to inject Botox directly into the skin, rather than in the muscles.

After treating over 100 acne patients with Botox, Shah notes that many of them have enjoyed a blemish-free complexion for over a year. He thinks Botox therapy will be reserved for adults with acne, not teens due to the strong hormonal influence that drives teen acne.

Most patients should opt for conventional therapies first, like topical antibiotics, proper skin cleansers, oral antibiotics, etc. But when those measures don’t work, laser therapy offers safe and predictably excellent results. At this point, the risk of injecting Botox into the skin is too great to consider this as a treatment regiment yet.

Whether Botox will be determined to be a viable treatment for acne is still unclear, but Dr. Shah’s initial results are interesting. It will require significant research before the safety and efficacy can be truly established, but any tool to help stamp out acne is always welcomed at Reflections. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one.

In the meantime, check out our acne before and after photos to see how we’re successfully treating acne at Reflections, center for skin and body.