Q&A: Botox Alternatives?

Crow's feet before botoxQ: Are there alternatives to Botox for effectively treating my frown lines? 

A: Well that’s a great question, but the answer may be “yes and no” – let me give a little background. After thousands of repetitive motions, muscle contractions, like frowning, wear deep grooves in the skin. One practical anti-aging strategy is to find ways to lessen the impact of facial expression on our faces. That’s where Botox® Cosmetic often comes in.

Botox works by direct injections into certain facial muscles, relaxing and “freezing” them to literally give facial skin a rest from constant flexing. But Botox is a toxin, and many, uncomfortable with the possible side effects, seek alternatives.

Argireline® is a promising new topically applied treatment ingredient being touted as a “safer, cheaper, milder” Botox alternative. Results achieved with Argireline certainly aren’t as dramatic as those achieved with Botox, but it may yield some visible results over time by sending “relaxation agents” through the skin’s surface to the muscles below. While this may sound very promising, these are very early findings that have not been proven in large studies. In fact, many of the “wrinkle-relaxing” effects seen with Argireline may be due to the skin softening and moisturizing effects of the cream vehicle rather than the Argireline itself!

Studies are limited, but Argireline compounds may have an effect similar to Botox – limiting facial muscular activity to give skin a break, but from the outside in versus the inside out. It is certainly easy to use, and Argireline products cost a fraction of the cost of Botox treatments.

Another way to reduce frown lines is this: stop frowning! Practice facial relaxation exercises. The object of the game is to give your face a break from constant expression activity. Throughout your day, find as many opportunities as you can to relax facial muscles and suspend facial expression. You’ll find that’s easier said than done! Becoming aware of what you’re actually doing with your face, moment to moment, is the key. Is that a constant frown at your PDA? Are you squinting at your computer screen or in the sun? Ever smile and laugh? (I hope you do the latter, and I encourage you to continue!) 

As Botox alternatives, Argireline and facial relaxation exercises can be had for less money and without injections. The results will not be as dramatic as Botox, but they are a good place to start for many of us. The result is skin that’s well rested. Rested skin truly is a key to a more vibrant and youthful appearance – it’s the ultimate Botox alternative!
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Published on 08/27/2009 | Last updated on 10/18/2018