Around twenty years after the anti aging potential of botox injections was first spotted more and more topical products claim to deliver the same results without the needle.
Some claims are more credible than others it has to be said – if you see a low cost product with an “instant wrinkles gone” advertising slogan – I would be inclined to hold tight on to your purse and not splash out.
And yet the new generation botox topicals are based on powerful new ingredients that are – like botox – ‘line relaxers’. The aim of these products is to reduce your natural expression lines or “motion wrinkles” as derms call them.
But are they likely to work at all and should you buy one?
The active ingredients in many botox like products are peptides or neuropeptides.
Peptides are similar to amino acids that exist naturally in the body and target the tiny muscles that cause subtle (and some not so subtle!) expression lines.
One of the most well known in recent years is Argireline which is found in the Avon botox equivalent product line and also in DDF Wrinkle Release – among others.
There are a large number of products that use peptides and more recently advanced hexapeptide complexes like Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Growth Factor Serum and the cheaper (but less effective) Dermaquest Skin Therapy Peptide Mobilizer.
GABA – botox like action
There are also some botox alternatives that use another emerging ingredient – GABA – the body’s natural muscle relaxant.
Freeze 24/7Freeze 24/7 is one of the most well known of these products and there are others that are equally popular like LiftFusion. Both these product lines claim that they produce instant line relaxing effects – just like botox.
The Dr Brandt skin care line is a real pioneer for GABA and his botox imitator is reviewed in my article on the best botox alternatives to try.
Although GABA on it’s own applied topically would not have any effect at all on the underlying muscles, skin care formulators claim that it works only because it is combined with a range of other highly active anti aging ingredients. For instance in the LiftFusion product GABA is combined with a cocktail of peptides which the makers call M-tox – probably to get us to think it is just like botox.
Do botox creams work?
The question still remains – can any of these products really deliver results that are better than botox?
In a choice between applying an over the counter cream that works or costly botox injections – what woman would pick the injections? Surely it follows that if a true alternative existed botox just wouldn’t be so popular?
If you look at what many plastic surgeons and dermatologists tell us – a topically applied cream cannot possibly give you the same results as injecting a toxin in saline solution to stop muscle movements.
In the first place – such a product would not be sold over the counter as it would be too dangerous. In the second place – if skin care manufacturers had developed creams that did what botox does only better we would all know about it by now.
Whilst these arguments have some force – you may want to reflect that the people putting them forward are hardly neutral.
Cosmetic surgeons want to sell cosmetic procedures and facial treatments like botox – most doctors don’t have a skin care line but they do have expensive equipment and staff in their offices. In short it’s in their interests that you keep going for the injections.
The nanoparticle question
Skin care technology is moving on and new anti aging creams are being developed all the time with effects that were pure fantasy only a few years earlier.
Nanoparticle technology has had a big impact on the way in which the active ingredients are delivered to your skin by shrinking particle size to microscopic levels. Originally the aim was to allow ingredients to pass through the layers of the skin without causing inflammation and irritation.
But is it safe? Do nanoparticles go further than intended entering into the blood stream and reaching other organs. Not much research has been undertaken on humans although some has been concluded on minerals in sunscreen formulations using mice.
Many scientists believe the risks are small but – in a recent article on SmartSkinCare.com respected expert Dr Todorov concluded: Considering the potential risk of nanoparticle accumulation in the body, it would be prudent to avoid skin care products with nanoparticles until more studies are available”
The holy grail for many skin care companies is probably still a botox like product and a lot of money is being spent to find the best botox alternative. Not all botox topicals use nanoparticles – although it is not always clear.
If you have worries then avoid any that are clearly using nanotechnology – look out for words like “micronized”, “microparticles”, “nanoparticle” or “nanopeptide” in the advertising blurb or ingredient details.
Botox alternative creams get good reviews
Even if you’re still not convinced take a look at some of the customer reviews of topical botox products on reputable online skin care sites. There are a lot of highly positive reviews for many botox creams.
Despite doubts about how effective an instant wrinkle relaxer could be – Freeze 24/7 reviews are frequently ecstatic in the skin care forums. Similarly – although most of us might not accept that Lift Fusion really is botox in a bottle as the makers claim – there are plenty of happy users who say that it works. If these products weren’t working surely dissatisfied customers would be everywhere.
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Botox creams do have a place in anti aging skin care. Many top celebrities use them instead of or in between botox injections to prolong the anti wrinkle effect and celebrities have the power and money to use what works
Be realistic in your expectations
Providing you’re clear about what to expect and pick a product that suits you – botox alternatives are probably a good buy.
You should see some reduction in fine lines and wrinkles and an improvement in overall skin tone, brightness and radiance due to the combined effect of many of the highly active anti aging ingredients.
What you shouldn’t expect is that topical botox will totally remove or eliminate the look of your deeper lines and wrinkles. No cream or serum can do this. In fact not even botox itself could do this since it depends on repeated injections to work.
Using a quality botox product should firm skin and reduce expression lines without discomfort and you won’t get frozen face, droopy eyelids or bunny wrinkles!