Have you received botox treatments in the past, or are you currently receiving them? As we know with any cosmetic procedure, there are risks. Sadly, botox is no different. Don't get me wrong - I used to be an avid botox user in my 20's...but then I started learning about the risks of what I was injecting into my body, and that it does spread to other parts of your body, regardless of what your clinician or RN injector tells you.
I knew there had to be a better way! Botox is a popular cosmetic treatment that involves injecting a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin into the skin. The toxin works by blocking the nerve signals that cause facial muscles to contract, leading to a reduction in wrinkles and fine lines. Aside from decreasing wrinkles, botox can also create side effects such as:
Bruising and swelling at the injection site
Think about it this way. Botox doesn't just stay in the your muscles. It enters your neurons (within your brain). Say what?!
According to Australian researchers, it was just discovered exactly how botox enters the brain. “The toxin hijacks this complex and enters the synaptic vesicles which store neurotransmitters critical to communication between neurons.
“Botox then interrupts the communication between nerves and muscle cells, causing paralysis.” Read more here. Botox has also been linked to additional studies that prove botox alters brain activity in relation to emotions. The researchers that conducted this study found that the temporary paralysis of the facial muscles caused by Botox hinders a person’s ability to mirror the emotions being expressed in front of them, thereby altering their brain chemistry as they attempt to interpret the emotions. Read more here.
You may be saying, YEA, YEA, YEA Jenna - but nothing works as well as botox! You're right...nothing natural is going to completely keep your face from moving and expressing, quite like botox. But with all the research we have done in nontoxic living, it doesn't make sense to inject something into our bodies that isn't 100% safe, right? This is where striving to meet an impossible beauty standard comes in. As women (and men) we are often held to the expectation that we can't age, or we should age "gracefully". Wrinkles are seen as imperfections, signs of being older, and this is the opposite of what our society sees as beautiful.
Aside from regular skincare (with clean ingredients) what can we really do, to decrease wrinkles and fine lines?
Natural Alternatives to Decrease Wrinkles:
Fortunately, there are many natural alternatives to Botox that can help decrease wrinkles and fine lines slowly over time if you are consistent. Aside from having a healthy lifestyle, and encouraging hydration, eating a healthy diet, exercising, etc. there are specific things that have been shown to change facial shape and decrease swelling. Here are some of the most effective natural remedies for aging skin:
Nontoxic Alternatives to Botox
Facial Exercises or Face Yoga: Facial exercises involve specific movements and techniques to target and strengthen facial muscles. Regularly practicing facial exercises can help tone and tighten the skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Cosmetic Acupuncture: Facial acupuncture, also known as cosmetic acupuncture or facial rejuvenation acupuncture, is a holistic and non-surgical approach to enhancing the appearance and overall health of the skin. It is an ancient practice that has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine, where fine needles are strategically inserted into specific points on the face and body to promote balance, stimulate circulation, and encourage the body's natural healing processes.
Frownies Facial Patches - These adhesive patches eliminate muscle movement when applied. You can wear them any time and once wet with water, stick to any problem areas on your face. You can wear them any time you want to relax a part of your face. Personally, I sleep with them on every night. Yes, they can add up if you're using them each night, but they aren't as expensive (or invasive) as botox! They won't eliminate muscle movement during the day, but Frownies claims it can help train your face to relax over time. Being aware of your daily expressions can help.
This kind of procedure involves inserting very thin needles into specific acupuncture points on the face, as well as on other parts of the body. I've personally had acupuncture done, and there's nothing like it. It helps your body fall into a truly relaxed state. It opens channels and allows your energy to flow. The needles are inserted at varying depths depending on the target area and the specific concerns being addressed. The treatment aims to stimulate blood flow, increase collagen production, and improve the flow of energy (Qi) throughout the body. How is it helpful you may ask?
Key reasons why facial acupuncture is considered helpful include:
Improved Skin Appearance: Facial acupuncture is believed to increase blood circulation, which can result in improved skin tone, texture, and overall radiance. The increased blood flow also helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells, promoting a healthier complexion.
Stimulation of Collagen Production: Collagen is a protein that plays a crucial role in maintaining the elasticity and firmness of the skin. Facial acupuncture is thought to stimulate the production of collagen, which can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as improve skin elasticity.
Reduction of Muscle Tension: Acupuncture can help relax facial muscles, reducing tension and stress-related lines. By targeting specific muscle groups, facial acupuncture may contribute to a more relaxed and youthful appearance.
Balancing of Energy: Traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes the balance of energy (Qi) within the body. Facial acupuncture aims to balance the body's energy flow, which is believed to be reflected in the face. By addressing imbalances, practitioners aim to promote not only skin health but also overall well-being.
Natural and Non-Invasive: One of the main appeals of facial acupuncture is that it offers a non-invasive alternative to surgical procedures and chemical treatments. It does not involve injections or harsh chemicals, making it an attractive option for those seeking natural ways to improve their skin's appearance.
Holistic Approach: Facial acupuncture takes a holistic approach, considering not only the superficial aspects of the skin but also the individual's overall health and well-being. This comprehensive approach can contribute to longer-lasting and more profound results.
Minimal Downtime: Unlike surgical procedures that often require substantial recovery time, facial acupuncture generally has minimal downtime. Some redness or mild bruising at the insertion sites might occur, but it's typically short-lived.
Facial Cupping: Facial cupping is a technique that involves using small suction cups to create a gentle vacuum effect on the skin's surface. This practice is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and has gained popularity for its potential benefits in promoting skin health and reducing the appearance of wrinkles. During a facial cupping session, the cups are moved across the face, which can help stimulate blood flow and increase circulation to the skin. This improved circulation is believed to promote collagen production and elastin fibers, both of which play essential roles in maintaining skin's firmness and elasticity. Additionally, facial cupping is thought to help relax facial muscles, ease tension, and reduce puffiness, contributing to a smoother and more youthful complexion. While individual experiences may vary, some individuals report that regular facial cupping sessions can lead to a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles over time.
Natural Topical Skincare: There are various natural ingredients that can be used topically to improve the appearance of wrinkles. These include ingredients like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, aloe vera, and rosehip oil, which have antioxidant and anti-aging properties.
My favorite skincare lines that come with clean ingredients include Pure Haven (their prebiotic line does show great before and after results), Purity Woods, Rowe Casa Organics, Earthley and 100% Pure. There are other brands out there that have some clean products and some that aren't, so you must consider each label. There's a whole lot of greenwashing going on!
Less Toxic Alternatives to Botox
Microcurrent Therapy or Facial Lasers: Microcurrent therapy involves the use of low-level electrical currents to stimulate facial muscles and improve circulation. This treatment can help lift and tighten the skin, reducing wrinkles and promoting a more youthful appearance. Laser treatments use focused light energy to stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture. Different types of laser therapy, such as fractional laser resurfacing or intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy, can be used to target wrinkles and promote skin rejuvenation. These aren't truly natural, and you are exposing yourself to radiation while doing it, which causes cell changes. But these results may help you achieve tighter and brighter skin over time, which in comparison to Botox, may be the lesser of two evils. Ultimately, you have to decide what works for you and your body.
Chemical Peels: Chemical peels involve applying a chemical solution to the skin to exfoliate the top layers and promote cell turnover. This process can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve the overall texture and tone of the skin.
Bakuchiol over Retinoids: Retinoids, such as retinol and prescription-strength retinoids like tretinoin, are derivatives of vitamin A that can help stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. However, these can come with risks of cell changes, being linked to cancer. A more natural substance that you will find in products from 100% Pure is bakuchiol. Bakuchiol is an extract from the seeds of Psoralea corylifolia (nicknamed "babchi"), a plant grown in India that’s been a staple of traditional Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for many years. Similar to retinoids, bakuchiol appears to stimulate collagen producing receptors in the skin. The difference is less risk of side effects. Read more here from Harvard. It’s sold in serums and creams, many of which combine bakuchiol with other botanicals, like rosehip and seaweed. They work by speeding up cell turnover and improving the skin's texture.
Tretinoin: this is a fairly new product that's out on the market and unfortunately, there is a very research on it safety. I would consider this less toxic than Botox, but of course, that comes with its fair share of risks. These risks can be multiplied or magnified in pregnant women. With any new product, make sure you do your fair share of research before trying it!
Food for Thought
All this being said, there is research out there that suggests women who get large amounts of botox struggle with self-confidence. So, should we be looking inside of ourselves instead of critiquing our outside appearance? Perhaps mental health is the problem? Other countries mandate mental health evaluations prior to receiving cosmetic procedures, such as botox.
So while there is no perfect replacement for botox, since nothing will truly eliminate expression, there are natural and less toxic alternatives we can explore to encourage healthy skin. Let's change the narrative shall we? Regardless of what kind of skin type you have, challenge yourself to try natural alternatives before resorting to cosmetic procedures such as botox and fillers (which is an entirely different can of worms). I encourage you to join Facebook groups that address this very topic. There are thousands of women who have had significant and harmful effects with botox and fillers and don't realize it's affecting their body negatively. They share testimonials and reports, which can ultimately deter you from getting these procedures.
Remember, it's advisable to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional before trying any new treatment or product, especially if you have specific skin concerns or medical conditions. They can guide you in choosing the most suitable alternative to Botox based on your individual needs and help ensure its safety and effectiveness.
Are there specific treatments aside from neurotoxins that have worked for you? Share them below!