Top 5 Natural Anti-Aging Alternatives to Botox

No, there is nothing natural that can freeze your face and appear to stop time. But personally, that’s not something I want.  I try to remind myself that movement on the forehead is normal by watching older movies and filling my social media with a variety of faces. As hard as it may be to look in the mirror and see mine change (40’s with 4 teens hasn’t been kind, friends), I’m also grateful for the opportunity to age. Aging is a privilege, and I want to try to embrace that mindset. So while I don’t want to inject toxins (but you do you, seriously no judgment!), I love to find ways to minimize the effects of all that wisdom I’ve gained over time. Through extensive science-backed research, here are the Top 5 Natural Anti-Aging Alternatives to Botox: Red Light, Skin Patches, the Best (clean) Serums & Treatments, Nutrients, and Gua Sha & Lymphatic Massage

Who am I to give advice?

As an elder millennial mom of 4 teenagers, I’ve got some experience and words of wisdom to share. I’ve been researching the clean beauty space for nearly a decade and am one of the top leaders across North America. And as such, I’ve become the Fairy Potions Master to help you navigate aging naturally while also holding on to that youthful glow no matter your age!

Why is Gen Z Aging Faster than Millennials?

“Injections, fillers and vapes are among the sneaky culprits making Gen Z look older than millennials, experts warn, as cosmetic procedures soar among the younger generation. While it may seem like Gen Zers are taking good care of themselves, practitioners aren’t so sure — in fact, starting injectables too young can affect the natural development of facial features.” [source, 2]

The answer doesn’t have to be neurotoxins and filler. In fact, we are seeing that those who are doing a lot of these practices earlier are aging themselves more quickly than their elders. To each their own, of course – but even if you’re choosing these, adding in some safer solutions can reduce your overall toxic load so that it reduces the chances of negatively affect your health.

Does RED LIGHT work on skin?

Dermatologists, skincare experts, and scientists recognize the potential of red light therapy in a variety of skin concerns. From acne and rosacea to anti-aging, the anti-inflammatory properties of red light play a vital role in soothing the skin and, in turn, reducing redness, irritation, and signs of UV damage that reduce skin’s youthful appearance.

Photobiomodulation (PBM), also referred to as red light therapy, has vast scientific support and almost a complete lack of reported adverse effects. (7) With a remarkable range of medical benefits provided by PBM, has led some to suggest that it may be “too good to be true”. However one of the most general benefits of PBM that has recently emerged, is its pronounced anti-inflammatory effects.

The benefits of PBM extend beyond just anti-aging to autoimmune diseases, acne, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions and more. And, in a systematic review, the versatile benefits of PBM there also appears to be a systemic effect whereby light delivered to the body, can positively benefit distant tissues and organs. Further, the brain and the central nervous system potential improvements encourage further study of its ability to reduce neuroinflammation. (5)

The science of how PBM works for anti-aging and skin benefits:

All the results observed confirm the interest of using photobiomodulation to reverse the visible signs of aging. These results last for up to 1 month after stopping the use of the mask, which is a sign of lasting structural and functional rejuvenation of the skin. (3)

It was discovered that both red and blue LED lights play an important role in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Additionally, LED lights showed outstanding levels of effectiveness, not only in reducing the lesions of herpes simplex and psoriasis but also in improved skin rejuvenation with highly consistent analytical results. (4)

A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase determined the treatment as modalities for skin rejuvenation and improvements in skin feeling and skin complexion, “provides a safe, non-ablative, non-thermal, atraumatic photobiomodulation treatment of skin tissue with high patient satisfaction rates.” Noting it, “can extend the spectrum of anti-aging treatment options available to patients.” (6)

The biggest potential being scientifically explored right now for the optimal clinical treatment regimen for PBM to inhibit melanoma as a potentially safe and effective melanoma therapeutic. PBM was found to prevent tumor growth and increased favorable melanoma outcomes. (8) This is further evidence that it has the potential to reduce UV damage, which is the main contributor to signs of aging.

Which one do I use?

I’ve had a red light wand for over a year now and only ever used it once. To be honest, standing there at my vanity for 20 minutes as I do a full-blown ritual isn’t something I often make time for. And because I see immediate benefits from Gua Sha (learn more below), my brain definitely skews towards it – even tho the science is clear that red light will help over time.

I recently got myself one of the red light face masks. I intentionally chose one that didn’t need to be plugged in to use it. The Bon Charge had the best reviews of ones I looked into. And I’ve found it incredibly easy and effortless to use. Which, let’s be real, is what really matters!

BonCharge has offered 25% off with code WHOLEVIEW25. While I have partnered with them for the podcast because I genuinely use and love their Red Light Face Mask, I am not being paid for this article nor do I earn commissions from this link. But I love passing along good deals to you!

Do FACIAL PATCHES work for wrinkles?

Supposedly. But you have to actually use them for that to work, and I just can’t make that work for me.

Sigh, ok. That can’t be the only thing I say about them because a LOT of people swear by these tools. Whether you want to try silicone patches, face tape, or the original facial patch, frownies, they can work if you use them.

My problem is that I am a super sensitive sleeper. No matter what I’ve tried, I cannot get comfortable. And I am not willing to lose precious (beauty) sleep in order to potentially soften the forehead lines I’d like to erase.

How do frownies, face tape, and silicone patches work?

They act as a cast to hold facial muscles relaxed, allow the overlying skin to lay flat. When we reduce use, the fine lines and wrinkles dissipate – much the same way botox does.

Invented in 1889, Frownies are the original wrinkle patch and longest-standing wrinkle-smoothing option on the market. Their ingredients are super clean, they’re very affordable, and easily accessible. If I giving you one item to try that’s what I’d recommend. Especially since you can still wear skincare products under them.

Silicone patches are not something I’ve been able to find a clean solution for. I thought it would be easy since silicone itself is non-toxic. But, the ones that come with serums almost always contain retinol, which is the highest risk level with EWG. And, the ones without serums on them that I’ve tried tell you not to apply skincare before use. Which doesn’t work since my potions are a must to keep me from completely becoming a human raisin!

What are the best clean beauty SERUMS and TREATMENTS for reducing signs of aging?

Now THIS is one I am super confident in recommending. I’ve been using clean beauty products for over a decade. From the original fermented cod liver (that did nothing but stink) to clinically proven scientifically tested safer products that perform, here are my top picks for serums and treatments that specifically address your skin concerns associated with again.

1 – Exfoliate: Chemical vs Physical

Exfoliating is one of the secrets to healthy-looking skin. Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells that clog pores, improves circulation, encourages cell turnover and  better absorption of skincare.

Remove the dry, dead skin with either a physical and/or chemical exfoliant to help gently slough. Both can be used together, depending on your skin – face and body.  The key to when to exfoliate is not at the end of your skincare routine. Exfoliation is a technique, not a step. It can be included in your Wash, Prep, or Treatment step but it will always require the Protect step after.

Recommended Safer Products:

Learn more:

2 – Serums to Flood the Skin: Hyaluronic Acid

Skin flooding refers to drenching the skin with layer upon layer of targeted, hydrating ingredients. It’s like a drink for your skin, quenching its thirst and boosting its natural vitality. When skin is dry is shows more fine lines and wrinkles, so adding hydration for your body to use with it’s own Hyaluronic Acid (HA) and products that replenish your HA that reduces as we age will both help signs of aging. HA is one of our body’s natural resources to use that moisture for skin health.

Water comprises from 75% body weight in infants to 55% in elderly and is essential for cellular homeostasis and life. While waterless beauty is “all the rage” right now, your skin NEEDS water – in combination with other lipid-based products, absolutely. Various forms of hyaluronic acid exist for beauty, both skincare and cosmetic procedures.

Recommended Safer Products:

Learn more:


3 – Serums to Brighten: Vitamin C & Bakuchiol

The biggest concern that is most requested for anti-aging skincare is to brighten skin. Sun damage is the biggest contributor to signs of aging through UV damage. While you can work with a dermatologist for in-office options to reduce dark spots, you have several effect safe at-home options.

Bakuchiol

This Allure article outlines the benefits of this “plant extract that offers the same skin benefits of a retinol, without the irksome side effects.” Derived from the psoralea corylifolia (or “babchi”) plant, it has a long and impressive skin-care resume, starting with its use in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. “Bakuchiol has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antibacterial properties.” And, clinically proven to be as effective as retinol!

Vitamin C

In addition to its antioxidant functions, Vitamin C regulates the synthesis of the structural protein collagen; it plays a role in boosting your skin’s collagen production to give you firmer, more plump skin and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals and oxidative damage caused by UV radiation (aging).

Red Light Therapy

Don’t forget PBM (see above) reverses the visible signs of aging through reducing UV damage and inflammation!

What I Avoid and Why: Retinol & Endocrine Disruptors

The two most common ingredients in anti-aging skincare are shown to cause irritation or harm to health. Retinyl palmitate is not safe to use when pregnant for a reason – that means I don’t ever want to use it. Shown to increase skin cancer growth, it rates a 9 of out 10 on the EWG’s toxicity scale. (9)  Unfortunately, the other problematic ingredients in anti-aging skincare has intentionally replaced estrogen which is naturally depleted as we age, for example Estriol.

Recommended Safer Products:

  • Countertime Regimen, this clinically proven 4-step routine uses RetiNatural with Bakuchiol to reduce the signs of aging at 20% off here
  • All Bright C Serum and Spot Treatment are multi-award winning best-selling heroes that are game changers to lightening dark spots caused by UV damage

Learn more:

Which NUTRIENTS are best to eat and use for improving skin?

In addition to Vitamin C, noted above, Vitamin E is another skin superfood. Both provide benefits both internal and externally. Because Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that acts in a health-protective way. It also is clinically proven to combat signs of dry skin, which can cause the appearance of fine lines.

And of course water, healthy fats, probiotic-rich foods, and a variety of nutrients promote healthy skin. In fact a comprehensive 2012 analysis found that, “A promising strategy for enhancing skin protection from oxidative stress is to support the endogenous antioxidant system, with antioxidants containing products that are normally present in the skin. However, this should be not confused with a permanent intake of non-physiological high dosages of isolated antioxidants. Fruit and vegetables consumption may represent the most healthy and safe method in order to maintain a balanced diet and youthful appearing skin.” (10)

How LYMPHATIC MASSAGE and GUA SHA reduce signs of aging:

Whether you practice gua sha at home daily or get an occasional professional lymphatic massage, both can deliver both short-term and long-term results.

How does Gua Sha work?

Gua sha began as an ancient Chinese healing technique. It promotes increased blood flow and lymphatic drainage, while also addressing targeted facial muscles when used for anti-aging. Specifically designed tools, usually with a smooth edge, are used to massage skin. From gentle strokes to intentional pressure points or deeper releasing techniques, results can be seen immediately. But, without continued attention results will dissipate.

Due to it’s affordability and relatively easy-to-execute approach, gua sha is a perfect at-home tool in your anti-aging arsenal!

Lymphatic Massage

While not something that most of us can afford regularly, I have seen immediate results from professional lymphatic drainage facial massages.  These include gua sha as well as several other techniques, such as cupping and red light therapy.

Lymphatic drainage is an evidence-based, science-backed approach to supporting your body’s own detoxification function. Lymph massage is aimed at removing toxins, restoring your immune system’s functions, and ultimately preventing a variety of health conditions. It uses a variety of techniques to improve your own lymphatic system (which exists to remove then carry toxins to be flushed out of our body).

Even as someone who focuses on non-toxic living and regularly detoxes, I had incredible results: reduced swelling in lymph, improved sinus drainage, de-puffed face overall, lifted and sculpted for less signs of aging (added benefit). I could feel the flow of fluid under my skin from just the gentle manual facial massage, before all the tools had their turn.

Learn More:

Conclusion:

Red Light, Skin Patches, clean Serums & Treatments, specific Nutrients, and Gua Sha & Lymphatic Massage all have science-backed results to reduce the signings of aging. Nothing will freeze your face – and if someone tells you they don’t botox but have reduced facial range they’re lying. And that’s OK, because aging is a privilege for those of us who get to experience it <3

REFERENCES:

  1. Healthline, Gua Sha
  2. New York Post, Gen Z is aging worse than millennials — here are the alarming reasons why
  3. Reverse skin aging signs by red light photobiomodulation, PMID  37522497
  4. Utilization of light-emitting diodes for skin therapy: Systematic review and meta-analysis, PMID 36310510
  5. Mechanisms and applications of the anti-inflammatory effects of photobiomodulation, PMID PMC5523874
  6. A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase, PMID PMC3926176
  7. Safety of light emitting diode-red light on human skin: Two randomized controlled trials, PMID 31483941
  8. Red Light Phototherapy Using Light-Emitting Diodes Inhibits Melanoma Proliferation and Alters Tumor Microenvironments, PMID 35847848
  9. EWG, The problem with Vitamin A
  10. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging, PMID PMC3583891

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