Are you frustrated by fine lines and wrinkles making an appearance as you age? You’re not alone. That’s why botox has exploded in popularity in recent years, with “botox parties” popping up everywhere–and younger individuals seeking injections.
But have you ever wondered about the safety of those injections, or if you could reverse wrinkles naturally without the risk of side effects? Keep reading to learn why botox isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and discover five natural alternatives to botox that can help you look younger, safely.
What is botox made of?
Botox is actually a protein called botulinum toxin, and as its name suggested, it’s a potent neurotoxin–one of the most poisonous biological substances known to man. It’s produced by a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum and other related species, which are most often found in contaminated home-canned foods.
Botulinum toxin disrupts the normal communication between nerves and muscles by blocking the release of a crucial chemical called acetylcholine, which governs the transmission of signals from nerves to muscles, enabling their proper contraction. Injections into specific muscles cause localized relaxation and paralysis, smoothing the overlying skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Botox technically is “natural,” but it’s still a known toxic substance. That means it’s risky and could have devastating side effects.
Is botox safe?
Proponents of botox and older studies suggest it’s safe, claiming it stays in only the area injected. However, more recent studies show it may not stay localized and might change the way nerves communicate throughout the body.
On a superficial level, some people experience their lower eyelids drooping, uneven smiles, and other signs their facial muscles aren’t working quite right.
On a deeper level, if the toxin spreads, it’s possible to experience botulism, a serious illness that attacks the body’s nerves. The symptoms of botulism include muscle weakness, difficulty speaking or swallowing, and even respiratory problems–which can be deadly.
It’s up to you whether you want to take the risk. But there are natural, non-toxic alternatives that can rejuvenate and smooth your skin just as quickly as botox–which takes two weeks to produce results–without the risks.
Safe, natural alternatives to botox
- Nutritious foods
The first and, perhaps, best alternative to botox is nutrient-dense food. Here are some of the best ones to slow or reverse the signs of aging:
- Lemons. Lemons are packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that supports collagen production. Collagen is a key protein that plays an essential role in the structure and function of skin. Try adding fresh lemon to water or herbal teas.
- Apples. These fruits are rich in fiber and vitamin C, both of which have powerful anti-aging effects.
- Papaya. This tropical fruit is rich in enzymes containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). AHAs break down proteins and dissolve dead skin cells to reveal smoother, brighter skin. Enjoy papaya slices as a snack, or put in a blender and apply as a face mask.
- Berries. Packed with antioxidants, berries help reverse age-enhancing oxidative damage and promote healing.
- Leafy greens. Spinach and kale are particularly rich in chlorophyll, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that can help give you a smoother, more radiant complexion when consumed. You can also apply the juice of leafy greens topically as a facial treatment. Combine with extra virgin olive or almond oil to create a green moisturizing mask.
- Bone broth and/or gelatin. These foods are packed with collagen, which helps keep the skin soft, supple and more resilient. Bone broth is also loaded with a host of other nutrients like amino acids, glycine and proline, which smooth the skin and promote healing.
Always choose organic foods when possible to ensure you’re not ingesting or applying pesticides to your skin. These harmful chemicals can counteract your nutritious foods’ health benefits.
- Natural, age-defying skincare treatments
Here are some fantastic skincare ideas that make great natural alternatives to botox and fillers.
- AHAs. AHA is an umbrella term for a variety of fruit acids including glycolic, citric, lactic, malic, and tartaric acids, which occur naturally in many fruits. Try making your own DIY face mask in a blender with organic papaya, green apples, and oranges, or find a store-bought variety for a smoothing, firming skin treatment.
- Cranberry seed oil. This oil contains powerful antioxidants like vitamin E to promote healing and reverse oxidative damage.
- Raspberry seed oil. Raspberry seed is one of nature’s sunscreens, as it can absorb UVB and UVC rays (although not UVA, according to some research). It’s also rich in antioxidants and has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. You can ingest raspberry seed oil as well as applying topically for anti-aging benefits.
- Virgin sea buckthorn. This oil encourages cell turnover and increases the collagen levels of your skin. The high concentration of the “rare” omega 7 concentration in this oil intensely moisturizes and helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
- Manuka honey. Known for its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, you can apply manuka honey as an anti-aging facial treatment. It helps slough away dead cells, balance the pH of the skin, and even helps heal acne scarring.
- Camelina seed oil. Originating from an ancient healing plant, this nourishing and protective oil contains vitamin E and omega 3 to hydrate, smooth wrinkles, and improve skin elasticity.
- Pullulan. Here’s a natural skincare ingredient that creates more immediate results. Produced by a fungus called Aureobasidium pullulan, this polysaccharide provides an instant skin-tightening effect as it adheres to the skin, forming a sheer film that improves skin’s texture and appearance. It’s temporary and will wash off when you cleanse your face, but it’s a great fast-acting and safe alternative to botox.
While this may not technically reverse wrinkles, it’s important to mention. Because while many people use botox to smooth wrinkles, many of those lines could’ve been avoided in the first place with proper protection from sun damage.
If you’re out in the sun, be sure to wear a broad-spectrum, non-toxic sunscreen and perhaps a wide-brimmed hat.
Staying hydrated is important for skin health. Hydration plays a role in maintaining skin elasticity and plumpness, helping to minimize the appearance of wrinkles. When skin is dehydrated, wrinkles may appear more pronounced and prominent.
Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, or more when you’re physically active.
- Exercise and other healthy habits
Another way to prevent and reverse wrinkles naturally is practicing healthy lifestyle habits like exercising. Exercise gives a boost to the mitochondria in your cells, which act like batteries that provide energy needed for optimal cell function, allowing your skin cells to operate at their best. This increased activity can have a positive impact on your skin and overall health.
Furthermore, limit your sugar intake and avoid habits like smoking and excessive alcohol use. These habits can accelerate the aging process, leading to a loss of collagen and elasticity in the skin.
While it may be tempting to smooth wrinkles quickly by paralyzing your facial muscles, these safer, more natural alternatives to botox can give you great results–and without posing risks to your health. Nutritious foods, natural skincare treatments, sunscreen, hydration, and healthy choices might not provide as dramatic an effect. But you might be surprised how young they make you look…and feel.