This post reviews many natural alternatives to botox that will help keep your skin looking youthful, smooth, bright, and help prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
As we get older many people look to reduce the visible signs of aging in their skin. They invest a lot of time, effort and money into reducing or preventing fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and age spots, and many people use Botox as a way to both prevent the development of wrinkles, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
But like any type of procedure there are pros and cons to botox. Botox is expensive, invasive, and can have health risks and unwanted side effects. Botox can also be painful and make people look unnatural by restricting facial expressions. As well, some people need to avoid getting Botox if they have certain underlying health conditions.
So, if you are looking for alternatives to Botox, this post shares a roundup of natural alternatives to Botox that are generally less expensive, less invasive, and safe. These methods can help even out skin tone, reduce wrinkles, restore skin's youthful glow and improve the skin's overall appearance.
Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links whereby I make a small commission if you purchase the product through that link. This does not cost you anything extra and helps me to keep this website running.
Table of Contents
What is Botox?
Before we get to the various natural botox alternatives, I thought it was important to review what botox actually is.
Botox injections use a toxin called onobotulinumtoxinA to temporarily prevent a muscle from moving. This botulinum toxin is produced by the microbe that causes botulism, a type of food poisoning. Botox injections block certain chemical signals from nerves, mostly signals that cause muscles to contract. The most common use of these injections is to temporarily paralyze the facial muscles that cause wrinkles in the forehead and around the eyes.
The effects of Botox injections are temporary, so you need repeat treatments to maintain the effects as it does not permanently paralyze the facial muscles. Interestingly, one study also found that people who used Botox reported a decrease in their range of emotions, because emotions are tied to the brain through facial functions.
15 Natural Alternatives to Botox
Cosmetic acupuncture is a form of acupuncture performed on the face. It is used as an anti-aging treatment, and while it's a relatively new procedure, it does show promise. One study showed that it can help improve facial elasticity and skin hydration, both of which can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
It can be difficult to find practitioners who are trained in cosmetic acupuncture, and you will need multiple treatments over time to see results, so this type of treatment can be costly in the long term. However, it is natural, and based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine.
Face yoga involves facial massage and exercises that stimulate the muscles, skin, and lymphatic system in your face. This technique is designed to soften and relax your facial muscles to help alleviate tension and stress. Advocates of facial yoga say it can also reduce the signs of aging, and promote healthy glowing skin.
Not surprisingly there has been little research done on face yoga, but one small study found that a 20-week facial exercise program in middle-aged women resulted in an improvement in upper cheek fullness and lower cheek fullness. However a larger systemic review of facial yoga found that the evidence to date is insufficient to determine whether facial exercises are effective for facial rejuvenation.
So the jury is still out on whether facial yoga really works or not, but there are basically no risks to facial yoga so it is a safe, natural beauty option if you do want to consider trying it. The only thing to consider is that to do a full facial yoga routine takes about 30 minutes daily so it is a bit of a time commitment.
Face patches, the most well known brand being Frownies, are sticky patches that you place on the areas of your face, neck and chest where you’re prone to wrinkles. The patches are supposed to help smooth out wrinkles and the idea is that you sleep with them on.
The pros of using facial patches is that they are natural, inexpensive, are a treatment that you can do in your own home, and don't require any painful injections. To date, there are no studies showing the benefit of facial patches, but there are many anecdotal reports online of people seeing benefits with using them.
And if you are worried about the waste produced by traditional face patches (you have to throw them out after each use), the good news is that you can now get reusable silicone wrinkle patches which are a more environmentally friendly option that work just as well.
Plumping creams are a great alternative to botox. They give skin an instant plumping and filling effect to help your skin look younger, fuller and hydrated. My favourite plumping cream by Beautycounter is clinically proven to improve skin elasticity, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and give skin a more lifted, youthful look (see the before and after photos below to see how well it can work).
If you are interested in the Beautycounter Plumping Cream you can shop through this link and if you are a new customer be sure to enter the code CLEANFORALL20 at checkout to get 20% off your order.
Microneedling involves the puncturing of skin with very tiny needles. It is usually done in a med spa or estheticians office, but you can also buy at home micro needling rollers that do not penetrate the skin as deeply, so aren't as effective, but are more affordable and is something you can do at home.
Microneedling uses the body’s own healing mechanisms by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin within the skin to help the skin heal after it has been punctured. This helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and can support your skin’s elasticity.
Microneedling can improve the appearance of sun damage, scarring, large pores, line and wrinkles, and can also increase the effectiveness of topical products applied to your skin.
A few downsides of microneedling are that it can be expensive, can be a bit painful, and requires multiple treatments to see the best results. However, it is minimally invasive compared to other anti-aging treatments and is non-toxic and all natural.
Use Anti-aging Skincare Products
High quality, non-toxic, anti-aging skin care products can help prevent the signs of aging as well as help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. There are many ingredients that can be used to help improve the appearance of the skin including hyaluronic acid, vitamin C serums, retinol and bakuchiol (a natural alternative to retinol which is safe in pregnancy and breast feeding).
Just be sure that the skincare products you are choosing are safe and non-toxic. Many skincare products on the market contains ingredients that can be harmful to health including endocrine disruptors, allergens, respiratory irritants, carcinogens and more.
Chemical peels are a cosmetic procedure used to treat acne, reduce hyperpigmentation and skin discolouration, as well as reduce the signs of aging. Chemical peels require some down time, ranging from 24 hours to 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the type of peel. The bonus is that you tend to see results almost right away.
The pros of chemical peels is that they are safe and effective, and you tend to see results very quickly. The cons is that you will need to see a skincare specialist for the procedure, they can be expensive, and depending on the type of peel you have you can experience redness, facial swelling, and skin peeling.
If you are looking for a less invasive option, there are gentler, home based overnight peels that you can do at home that are great for resurfacing the skin, but have no down time.
Taking collagen supplements have been shown to be beneficial for the skin. One study found an improvement in skin hydration, elasticity, roughness and density in the subjects using collagen. Another study showed that after 3 months, patients had a significant reduction in wrinkles (35%), improvement in cheek skin elasticity, improvements in overall skin score, hydration, radiance, and firmness compared to patients not taking collagen.
There are many types of collagen supplements on the market and if you are going to use one, you want to make sure that you are using a high quality collagen supplement. I recommend using one that is non-GMO, and free from from artificial ingredients, natural flavours, artificial flavours, sweeteners, preservatives, stevia or colouring agents. I simply add a couple scoops of collagen peptides to my morning coffee or smoothies.
Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes
Alcohol and cigarettes are two of the worst things for skin. Smoking is known to increase the severity of lines and wrinkles (especially on the forehead, around the eyes and around the mouth), worsen under-eye puffiness and reduced lip fullness.
Alcohol use leads to increased lines and wrinkles (mainly on the forehead and around the mouth), increased under-eye puffiness, worsens volume loss in the mid face and increases the appearance of visible blood vessels on the face.
In other words, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes are two of the best natural ways to help prevent the signs of aging in your skin.
Prevent Sun Damage
Too much sun exposure can lead to skin sun damage and is one of the most common causes of signs of aging in the skin. In fact, one study estimated that UV exposure is responsible for 80% of the visible signs of aging on the face including wrinkles, sagging, pigmentation, vascular disorders, and decreased elasticity. Sun exposure is the reason that sun exposed skin shows signs of aging more quickly compared to areas of the body that are unexposed to UV rays.
To help prevent sun damage to your skin it is important to keep your skin covered including methods like wearing hats and sunscreen. Now, just be aware that when choosing sunscreen it is very important to choose one made with safe ingredients. Many sunscreens on the market are made with unsafe ingredients so be sure to pick one that is mineral based, and tested for contaminants like benzene.
My personal favourite safe sunscreen is the Beautycounter sunscreen. Beautycounter has also been kind enough to give me a 20% off code for new customers if you are interested. Simply shop through this link and enter the code CLEANFORALL20 at checkout to get your discount.
Gua Sha and Face Rollers
This ancient practice uses flat or fan-shaped jade or quartz stones to manipulate and massage the facial muscles and tissue around the face, jawline and neck. Gua sha actually dates back to the Ming Dynasty in China and can help target fine lines, sagging skin and wrinkles.
Gua Sha has been shown to increase blood flow to the targeted areas. It is also known as scraping therapy and traditionally aimed to create petechiae on the skin, using the body's natural processes to stimulate a healing process in the skin, which was felt to lead to the therapeutic benefits including anti ageing effects. However, facial gua sha is often much gentler, and doesn't leave any marks on the skin but can still provide anti-aging and brightening benefits.
There are a variety of tools you can buy to do Gua Sha and facial rolling at home including jade facial rollers, rose quartz facial rollers, lapis facial rollers, amethyst facial rollers, obsidian facial rollers, jade face and neck roller, rose quarts face and neck roller, black obsidian gua sha stone, jade gua sha stone, amethyst gua sha stone, and rose quartz gua sha stones. This is an easy, natural, and non-toxic practice that only takes a few minutes a day and can easily be added to any skincare routine.
Eat a Healthy Diet and Drink Enough Water
Your overall health, including your skin health, is directly linked to what you eat and put in your body. Drinking enough water is important for skin health to help the skin's internal balance and tissue function. Getting adequate protein in your diet is also crucial to your skin's health as protein is needed for repair of skin tissues, mediation of skin physiological functions and energy supply. Various vitamins and minerals are also crucial for skin health.
Additionally, diets high in sugar can lead to accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), autophagy, and skin inflammation. As well, eating enough fat is also important for skin health as essential fatty acids are involved in skin lipid synthesis and metabolism. It's like I always say, real food really is medicine, and this is also true when it comes to skin health!
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep deprivation has many negative health effects and has been shown to lead to worsening skin appearance and increased signs of aging in multiple studies. Even just one night of sleep deprivation has been shown to have negative effects on skin appearance leading to decreases in skin hydration, impaired barrier function, decreased skin elasticity and translucency, increased skin scaling, more obvious pores, skin dullness and decreased skin blood flow.
Correct Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
Minerals such as copper, zinc, iron and selenium as well as vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin E are essential for skin health. If you are deficient in these vitamins and minerals your skin can start to suffer.
For example, copper is involved in the skin's extracellular matrix, synthesis and stabilization of skin proteins, and angiogenesis, zinc participates in the proliferation and differentiation of epidermal keratinocytes, iron is closely related to the activity of antioxidant enzymes in skin cells and selenium is essential for the development and function of skin keratinocytes and is related to skin antioxidant enzyme activity.
Speaking from experience, when I was iron deficient, my acne was much worse, and once I corrected that deficiency my skin cleared up quite a bit.
When it comes to vitamins, vitamin A helps prevent skin aging by regulating the expression of genes and matrix metalloproteinases, vitamin D reduces skin DNA damage, inflammation, and photocarcinogenesis, vitamin E helps prevent skin aging by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and vitamin C is involved in skin collagen synthesis and elimination of intracellular reactive oxygen species.
However, it is also possible to take too much of some of these vitamins and minerals, so before starting any supplements be sure to talk to your health care provider.
Maintain Gut Health
Simply put, if your gut health isn't optimized it will likely show on your skin. Poor gut health is linked to many different skin issues including eczema, psoriasis, acne, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, alopecia areata, and hidradenitis suppurativa.
When it comes to the GI tract, the gut microbiome can affect the skin through the gut-skin axis. More specifically, any alteration in the gut microbial diversity (dysbiosis) can impair mucosal immunological tolerance, which can influence skin health. Several skin conditions, such as acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea are linked with intestinal dysbiosis. In other words, poor gut health can lead to poor skin health.
This means that if you are struggling with GI issues you may see this reflected on your skin. If this is the case, all the topical treatments in the world will only be able to do so much for your skin. You will really need to work on healing from the inside out if your gut health is impaired. If you are struggling with GI issues I recommend seeing your healthcare practitioner.
Now, please note that these other injectables are not natural options, but I felt they were worth mentioning as they are becoming more and more popular as an alternative option to traditional Botox injections.
Dysport, like Botox, is a neurotoxin. It’s made from the same type of botulism toxin A as Botox, but uses a slightly different dosing technique. When compared to Botox, the results seem to be about the same, but Dysport does seem to work slightly faster.
Myobloc is another injection option. It’s made from botulinum toxin type B. Because it’s also a neurotoxin, it works the same way as the other injectable options. However, Myobloc is not as effective as either Botox or Dysport, and the results don’t last as long. According to the FDA labelling, Myobloc lasts about 3 to 4 months, compared to the 5 to 6 months of Botox or Dysport.
Other Tips for Healthy Skin
If you want to keep your skin as healthy as possible, here are some other tips that can help your skin age gracefully:
- Wear sunglasses with large lenses to help reduce sun exposure on the delicate skin around your eyes.
- Use a high quality eye cream to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.
- Wear a hat with a wide brim when in the sun to help protect your skin.
- Stay hydrated.
- Remove your makeup before sleeping.
- Reduce stress.
- Use a silk pillowcase and wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly.
- Don't hold your cellphone against your face - this can leave unwanted bacteria on your skin which can lead to issues like acne or skin irritation.
Frequently asked questions:
While no skincare treatment can guarantee permanent results, there are a few surgical methods including face lifts which can give more permanent and long lasting results when compared to botox.
There is no such thing as a natural cream that has the same effects as botox. Botox injections paralyze the muscles of your face, and no topical treatment can do this.
While no natural remedy is equivalent to botox, there are many natural methods that can help reduce the signs of aging including micro needling, facial peels, anti-aging skincare products and more.
Other information you will like:
- Why I don't use retinol
- The best at home face masks
- Non toxic body lotions
- Dopamine detox
- Is there mercury in your mascara?
- The best non toxic deodorants
- A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results of a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Blind Study.
- A randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study to evaluate the efficacy of a freshwater marine collagen on skin wrinkles and elasticity.
- Impact of Smoking and Alcohol Use on Facial Aging in Women: Results of a Large Multinational, Multiracial, Cross-sectional Survey.
- Diet and Skin Aging—From the Perspective of Food Nutrition
- The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Biophysical Properties of Facial Skin
- Does poor sleep quality affect skin ageing?
- Sleep Deprivation Increases Facial Skin Yellowness
- Acute Sleep Deprivation: Consequences On Healthy Face Skin. A Non-invasive Instrumental Investigation
- Impact of sleep restriction on local immune response and skin barrier restoration with and without “multinutrient” nutrition intervention
- Impact of gut microbiome on skin health: gut-skin axis observed through the lenses of therapeutics and skin diseases
- Association of Facial Exercise With the Appearance of Aging
- The effectiveness of facial exercises for facial rejuvenation: a systematic review
- Microneedling: Advances and widening horizons
- Effect of the sun on visible clinical signs of aging in Caucasian skin
- Exploring scraping therapy: Contemporary views on an ancient healing – A review
- Chemical Exposures: The Ugly Side of Beauty Products