Thought Botox was just for your face? Aim lower.
Guys are now getting Botox injected to their—ahem—ballsacks to decrease sweating, reduce wrinkles, and make their scrotum appear bigger. In fact, the number of fellas looking to give their family jewels a facelift has almost doubled, according to UK tabloid The Sun Online—although that number is still pretty small overall.
“The idea of injecting Botox into the scrotum to smooth the wrinkles has been around for many years among plastic surgeons; however, none of us thought it would be something consumers would request,” says Matthew Schulman, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon based in New York City.
To be fair, the demand probably isn’t that high here in the U.S. Of the dermatologists and urologists we talked to (Schulman included), none said their patients had seriosuly asked for scrotal Botox injections—"Scrotox," as it's known. But that may change: Earlier this summer, The Cosmetic Surgery Times pointed out that Scrotox may be gaining traction in the States, as men seek their own version of vaginal rejuvenation.
And some docs do already offer it. "I have injected Botox into scrotums, though this treatment isn’t in high demand," says Jessie Cheung, M.D., director of the New York-based Dermatology & Laser Center.
Scrotox is most often touted for its ability to deliver a more beautiful set of balls—and, technically, it can work. “The Botox will relax the dartos muscle, which is just beneath the skin," says Schulman, who does offer Botox injections, but not to the scrotum. "The injection will cause the skin to relax, smooth the wrinkles, and make the scrotum appear larger. Slightly deeper injections into the cremaster muscles will cause the testicles to drop slightly."
Keep in mind, though, that Scrotox doesn't affect the actual size of a guy's testicles—it just makes the skin appear looser and longer. Moreover, this might not deliver exactly the aesthetic you’re looking for. “Relaxation of the scrotal skin will lead to a smoother, ‘floppier,’ and longer scrotum," Schulman adds. "This appearance is more consistent with an ‘older’ scrotum."
Cheung agrees that while Scrotox will work to reduce wrinkles, there’s a point at which this isn’t a good thing. “The scrotum is meant to contract with temperature fluctuations to protect the testicles from overheating," she says. "The wrinkles are a by-product of those contractions, so I never inject enough Botox to defeat that function." When injected safely, Scrotox won’t give you an entirely smooth surface.
But it's not entirely cosmetic. Chueng says she mostly offers the procedure for Botox’s trendiest application: to reduce sweating.
In fact, Scrotox has become popular among serious cyclists and runners, who often seek to reduce skin irritations from excess sweating and rubbing, as The Sun Online report points out. “The testicles have a lower concentration of sweat glands, but if scrotal sweating is a major problem for a man, this may reduce it slightly,” Schulman says.
Still, we have a few questions:
Is it safe?
If you have a responsible doc performing the injections, then yes.
“You need to maintain the contractile function of the scrotum to protect the testicles, especially since they are responsible for making testosterone—you don't want to mess with that!” Chueng says. Experienced doctors won’t dose you up with enough Botox to compromise function and, in general, Botox is extremely safe (even near your boys), both docs reassure.
Does it hurt?
“I always apply a topical numbing cream, and since the tissue is so thin, it numbs quite easily,” Chueng says. “Most men barely feel anything.”
Should you consider it?
Maybe, if you’re at one of the extremes. Are your super sweaty balls a real pain in the, uh, 'nads? Do you have an extraordinarily contracted scrotum? Botox’s ability to lengthen the skin and reduce perspiration may help bring you back to normal—and, in doing so, boost your confidence.
If Scrotox makes you feel better and function better, you’ll probably enjoy a healthier sex life, Chueng points out. But you also have to be realistic—if you’re not happy with yourself, the procedure isn’t going save your sex life, she says.
“Performance anxiety can be quite crippling, so if a guy is preoccupied by the appearance and functionality of his genitalia, his sex life should improve after,” Chueng adds.