If you have an excessive sweating problem, you’ve likely tried everything from prescription deodorants to extra-strength over-the-counter formulas to no avail. Sometimes your sweat glands are beyond the power of what deodorant can control, and that’s where neurotoxins come in. Doctors say neurotoxins to help reduce sweating is a safe and worthwhile treatment. Here’s everything you need to know.
How do neurotoxins help reduce sweating?
“Neurotoxins work to reduce sweating by blocking the release of acetylcholine from the nerve, thereby preventing the sweat gland from releasing sweat,” explains Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias. “Normally, the acetylcholine release from the nerve will make the gland sweat. However, since the acetylcholine neurotransmitter is blocked, the sweat gland can’t sweat.”
Simply put, neurotoxins disrupt the nerve signals that cause perspiration, says Miami dermatologist Anna H. Chacon, MD. She notes that neurotoxins are a secure, noninvasive way to reduce sweating and reap long-lasting benefits.
The most common places people get neurotoxin injections for sweating
Dr. Elias says the injections can be used throughout the body. According to Houston dermatologist Jennifer Segal, MD, she most commonly sees patients looking for neurotoxins to reduce sweating in the underarms, groin, palms, soles of the feet, scalp and inframammary crease. Dr. Chacon says the treatment is also great for sweating in the back, chest, head, face and nose.
Baton Rouge, LA dermatologist Ann Zedlitz, MD says she gets about 100 units of Botox Cosmetic under her arms every nine months. She says following a lip flip treatment with relaxant patients have noted that that their upper lip doesn’t sweat anymore as well.
Are neurotoxins for sweating safe?
“If performed by an experienced and credentialed medical practitioner, it is safe and effective,” confirms Dr. Segal. Currently, neurotoxin injections are approved by the FDA for people who sweat excessively from their armpits, says Dr. Chacon. However, other regions of the body can be treated “off-label,” she adds.
While Dr. Elias says “neurotoxins are exceedingly safe,” he notes that they do “carry some risks such as injection site pain, swelling or bruising and potential muscle weakness in the area treated.”
How often do you need retreatment?
Experts predict the benefits will last four months to a year. “While neurotoxins for cosmetic use typically last for three months, when used for sweating, neurotoxin effects seem to last longer and can last anywhere from six months to a year,” says Dr. Elias. Dr. Chacon notes that retreatment is necessary when the nerves recover, which tends to be four to six months, though this varies by patient.