Edge control is a big part of the beauty routine for women with natural hair. You can spend 20 minutes securing the edges of your hair perfectly in place, and then it only takes five minutes of sweating rushing to the subway for them to get frizzy and go rogue. Experts have recently found a solution for this predicament: neurotoxins.
Montclair, NJ dermatologist Jeanine B. Downie, MD, tells us she’s “pleased to say that part of the reason this is all the rage” is because of her technique. “I introduced this on Instagram a few weeks ago, and my phones have been going crazy.” She adds that it’s “a great technique to decrease freezing and sweating in the edges of the hair. I think it is safe and I do it for myself and my patients.”
In another video, Dr. Downie explains that the technique involves a little bit of micro neurotoxins, injected off label, into the hairline to prevent sweating. “For the real edge control, which is helping with sweating to keep your hair together on your edges, I use Botox. I use 30 units altogether around the crown of the hair with a two CC dilution,” explains Dr. Downie.
Who is a good candidate?
Dr. Downie says this technique is great for lace fronts, weaves, straightened hair and braids. While this treatment was developed for women with natural hair in mind, Dr. Downie says, it could also be beneficial for “any woman that doesn’t want to sweat her hair out or is worried about her blowout. This has application with Black, White, Latino, Asian and Native American women.”
She notes that it’s great for “women that don’t exercise enough because of frizzy flyaways in the front of their hair.” Dr. Downie, always the advocate for exercise—she works out seven days a week herself—says we can’t have our hair standing in the way of getting good exercise.
How do neurotoxins prevent sweating?
It’s not uncommon that people get neurotoxin injections in their armpits to slow their sweating, and the same technique is being applied to the forehead. The injections work to “stop sweating by blocking the release of acetylcholine from presynaptic nerve endings,” explains New York dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD. “This effectively inhibits the communication between nerves and sweat glands, leading to a decrease in sweating.”
Dr. Downie explains that the nervous system activates sweat glands when your body temperature rises in an effort to cool itself. “In people with hyperhidrosis, however, the nerves that signal the sweat glands are overactive,” which is when neurotoxins can come in handy.
Will it actually help with edge control?
When a neurotoxin is “injected into the scalp or hairline area, it blocks the signals from the nerves that stimulate the sweat glands, thereby reducing the amount of sweat that is produced. This can be effective in reducing sweating in the hairline,” says Dr. Henry. “This reduction in sweating can help to maintain the style of the hair.”
Is it safe?
Dr. Henry says the main question she gets is regarding safety, and she ensures us that the treatment is safe. “We have two to four million sweat glands, so reducing a few hundred or thousand will not affect thermoregulation. Furthermore, our kidneys, liver and intestines are the organs that excrete toxins, not our sweat glands.” Dr. Downie says the treatment won’t result in hair loss and notes there’s even “been small studies that show the opposite when Botox is injected into the hairline it can actually promote hair growth.”
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