Terrific Toxins: Using Neuromuscular Blocking Agents to Treat Medical and Cosmetic Conditions

Neuromuscular blocking agents can temporarily change nerve impulses of specific muscles allowing for the decreased movement of muscles. These neuromodulators include Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin. They have become beneficial in treating many medical and cosmetic conditions including:

  • Bladder Dysfunction
  • Blepharospasm (Involuntary closing of the eyelids)
  • Cervical Dystonia (Involuntary contraction of neck muscles)
  • Chronic Migraines
  • Primary Axillary Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)
  • Rhytides, Static and Dynamic (Wrinkling)
  • Spasticity
  • Strabismus (Misalignment of the eyes)

Dermatologists use these agents to treat fine lines and wrinkles and hyperhidrosis. These agents are most known for their cosmetic indications. The appearance of fine lines and superficial wrinkles are softened by injecting the neuromodulator into the muscle, thus decreasing the contraction of specific muscles that create wrinkles. There are many areas that are targeted, including the muscles around the eyes which addresses “crows” feet. The wrinkles between the eyebrows and the forehead are two other popular regions to use these injectables. Knowing facial anatomy and good technique is important for optimal results, and minimizing side effects.  Furthermore, depending on the depth of the wrinkle, these agents alone may not erase the appearance of the lines completely. As a result, many choose to use these injectables to help prevent fine lines and wrinkles from becoming severe. It also speaks to the need of using other products and devices in order to achieve desired goals.

These neuromodulator injectables have also become popular for the treatment of hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. Botox is often used under the arms, and even the palms and soles. This has become a sought after treatment due to topical agents being too irritating to the skin and many oral agents having numerous systemic side effects. The treatment can be painful, thus, many tactics are used in the office to try to minimize discomfort. Unlike the use of Botox and the other injectable neuromodulators for cosmetic indications, Botox for hyperhidrosis can be covered by insurance, although it is becoming more difficult.

The use of Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin have changed the quality of life for many with very severe medical conditions as listed above. It also plays a role mentally and socially for many individuals by providing increased confidence and self-esteem by improving appearance and decreasing sweating, which can be very embarrassing in many social arenas.

Find Dr. Dwana Shabazz at her practice Renascance Dermatology located in Fairfax, VA by calling 703-865-6801 or online at www.renascancederm.com

CUSTOM TOXIN PROMOTION: $2/Unit OFF toxins (offer valid May 1-31) and FREE Botox with Purchase of Filler (June 1-30). Mention WOMAN magazine for special offers. 



Dr. Dwana Shabazz received her undergraduate degree at Xavier University of Louisiana and both her medical degree and masters of public health degree at George Washington University. She remained at George Washington University for her internship in Internal Medicine. She then moved to Los Angeles for her Dermatology Residency at King Drew Medical Center/Harbor-UCLA. Dr. Shabazz has been in private practice in the Northern Virginia area since 2006. She opened her own practice, Renascance Dermatology, in 2013. Dr. Shabazz is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, a Diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology, and a member of the Women’s Dermatologic Society.