The best natural alternatives to Botox
From acupuncture to facial massage and ultrasound, we’ve uncovered the natural anti-wrinkle alternatives
By Jenny Ringland
A few months ago a friend sent me a selfie. She was heavily pregnant at the time and was worrying about her wrinkles, wondering whether there was Botox in her future. It’s something I’ve wondered about too, because after three babies and six years of sleepless nights I have the lines to show for it. And although I am drawn to the idea of having a more youthful looking face, I’m scared of needles and don’t like the idea of injecting a toxin into my body. With that in mind I began researching and it turns out there’s a host of holistic, stress relieving treatments and habits we can turn to, before considering the big B.
“Prevention is always better than cure, so using a daily SPF is your best start,’’ says Tribe Natural Beauty founder Nicole Stubbs.
“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.”
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!
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.
Fumi Yamamoto, founder of Sydney-based skin clinic Zen Facial and the facialist models Jess Gomes, Miranda Kerr and Jesinta Franklin 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 – which admittedly entails needles to the face (and body) involves no toxins and has an overriding calming effect.
“It’s an holistic treatment where I look at everything from hormonal imbalances, to the digestive system, blood flow and stress,’’ says Sage Beauty practitioner Yvette Forbes.
“I see clients who initially want me to remove their wrinkles, which I definitely help with, but once they see me and get the full holistic treatment, that’s what they come back for, the anti-ageing stuff is a bonus.’’
I 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 skin-tightening, non-surgical facelift option, which uses a form of ultrasound technology to target wrinkles. Body Catalyst founder Samantha Barakat says the technology accelerates the body’s natural processes, stimulating the production of collagen and elastin (which, coincidentally is what facial acupuncture does too).
“Our clients come to us because they don’t want toxins in their body, or they’re afraid of needles,’’ she says.
“The beauty of our technology is you can use it all over the face, chin and decolletage, not just in specific places like with botox.”