The best natural alternatives to Botox
What to try before you opt for the big B…
When I think about getting older I generally subscribe to the “age gracefully” line of thinking. I look to my mom who at the age of 66 (sorry, Mom!) is more fit and more beautiful (naturally) than most other women her age. And when it comes to celebrity influences, Meryl Streep is one of my favourites. But the reality is after three babies and five years of sleepless nights I have the lines to show for it. And, I am honestly drawn to the idea of having a more youthful-looking face, whether it’s via the latest overnight mask treatment, eye cream, serum, oil or whatever I can get my hands on – as long as it’s made from natural ingredients, I’ll try it. These are all topical treatments which may or may not make a difference. Which leads me to the obvious next step, Botox. The thing is, I’m scared of needles and don’t like the idea of injecting a toxin into my body. Plus my five-year old notices everything about my appearance, routinely announcing whenever I get my brows waxed, “Mom what have you done to your eyebrows?!’’.
With that in mind I began researching alternatives to Botox and it turns out there’s a host of holistic, stress relieving treatments and habits we can turn to, before considering the big B.
What they don’t tell you…
London based-author and organic skincare specialist Alexandra Soveral says one of her most common questions from new clients is whether they actually need Botox or fillers.
“Most people need to be reassured that they don’t need such measures. It is when their friends start doing it and are wrinkle free that the insecurities set in,’’ she says.
“The problem is when someone has injectables – for the first year or so – they tend to look better, however when the skin becomes tired from the toxins and when bigger amounts are necessary to achieve the same effect, people start looking slightly odd.’’
Alexandra says her advice is always to work towards enhancing the skin’s healthy muscle tone with daily massage and a good supply of fatty acids and essential nutrients through diet.
“No amount of Botox or filler can match the effects of healthy skin that glows with vitality,’’ she says.
Prevention is better than cure
“The foods we eat, liquids we drink and toxic substances we apply to our bodies, can have a direct correlation with the gut microbiome, hormone balance and our detoxification systems like the liver. If we don’t take care of these systems with healthy food, movement, mindfulness and rest, then our skin suffers. If we want to age gracefully and healthily then we must take care of our whole body,’’ Onda Beauty’s Nicole Stubbs says.
Nicole’s at-home skincare secrets include natural skincare products that feature Vitamin A, B and fruit enzymes in their ingredients list, which she says help plump and smooth the skin, just as long as you’re heeding the rest of her advice!
Holistic facial massage
Fumi Yamamoto, founder of Sydney-based skin clinic Zen Facial and the facialist models Jess Gomes and Miranda Kerr swear by, has created a treatment that uses no products. Instead, she draws on 12 years of training that includes Zen shiatsu, meridian and tsubo therapy, Japanese remedial diagnostic yoga along with lymphatic drainage, myofascial therapy, aromatherapy and reflexology. Phew! Basically, it’s a holistic facial massage that leaves you with brighter eyes, less fine lines and puffiness, all by targeting organ function and stress.
“In the East, beauty has long been considered as a reflection of a person’s physical mental and spiritual health,’’ says Fumi.
“The treatment is for long term improvement of the internal organs, but you will also see a noticeable visible difference in one treatment.’’
Megan Markle is also reportedly a fan of this type of facial massage treatment, so if you’re like us and totally captivated by everything the Duchess of Sussex says, wears and does, you’ll be booking an appointment immediately.
In the same vein of holistic facial massage is facial acupuncture – or Mei Zen – which admittedly entails needles to the face (and body) but involves no toxins and has an overriding calming effect.
“Mei Zen is a minimally invasive needling technique that produces similar results to a facelift and is sometimes referred to as an acupuncture facelift. The treatment uses small needles in specific acupuncture points on the face, neck, or abdomen where each needle causes a micro-trauma in the dermis and triggers the collagen matrix to activate and re-build,’’ explains Colorado-based holistic health expert Josie Bouchier.
“That’s why the results are so dramatic and lasting – your body actually makes new skin!”
Josie says her patients have reported a “reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, more moisture and firmness, better circulation, even skin tone and an overall ‘lifted’ appearance”.
And for what it’s worth this writer tried facial acupuncture, partly for research purposes, but mainly because I was coming off what felt like months of sleepless nights and my skin needed help, stat. I loved it for its whole-body calming effect, and for the most dewy skin I’ve had in years.
Finally, there is the option made famous by Kim Kardashian. It’s non-surgical, yet requires your own blood, which is separated and re-injected using a microneedling device. Yikes!
“We believe it’s one of the best ways to defy the ageing process,’’ says iGlow Med spa founder Nataly Gold.
“We take your own blood cells and spin them in a centrifuge which separates the blood cells from the platelet rich plasma (PRP). It’s (the PRP) is put back into your skin using microneedling which resurfaces your skin, and at the same time transforms wrinkles, fine lines and acne scars.”