Botox. I’m not a big fan. Let me tell you why and what I recommend instead.
Welcome to another edition of CLEAN SWAPS, where I share some of the safer swaps we can make to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals in our lives and in our homes. Today’s CLEAN SWAPS is all about Botox and anti-aging.
I’m obviously in the health industry, and I follow a lot of other health industry people on social media. And I’m noticing that while many of these amazingly vibrant and beautiful folks are promoting clean and healthy living, they are obviously using Botox to maintain their appearance.
It is my humble opinion that Botox is NOT healthy and the long-term effects of using Botox are worth talking about. (and there ARE healthier alternatives. Scroll down to see my recommendations.)
I want to start the conversation by saying that I have no judgements about people choosing to use Botox for cosmetic reasons. I’m just encouraging folks to educate themselves about what exactly they are choosing to inject into their bodies.
I also know that there are many other uses for Botox that are not cosmetic (like migraines, excessive sweating, eye twitching, bladder issues, etc), but I tend to want to look for the underlying causes for these things instead of just treating the symptoms.
WHAT IS BOTOX?
Botox is an injectable drug prepared from the bacterial toxin botulin, used medically to treat certain muscular conditions and cosmetically to remove wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles.
It has become widely popular by movie stars, social media influencers, and stay-at-home moms alike. And it is becoming super popular with millennials to prevent wrinkles from forming in the future. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2015, more than 6.7 million Botox procedures were performed, making it the most common minimally invasive cosmetic procedure, with fillers a distant second.
But is it as safe as people claim it is? Read more and decide for yourself.
6 Reasons You May Want to Rethink Using Botox
#1 Botox is a neurotoxin… that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, a spore commonly found in plants, soil, water, and animals. It’s the same toxin that causes a life-threatening type of food poisoning called Botulism, which can cause respiratory failure and even death. Botulinum toxin is one of the most poisonous substances known to man. Scientists have estimated that a single gram could kill as many as 1 million people.
Neurotoxins target the nervous system, disrupting the signaling processes that allow neurons to communicate effectively.
#2 Botox can cause muscle weakness and atrophy, making you appear even older… overuse of Botox can cause the muscles to become so weak that they can’t support the flesh, causing the skin to sag and droop. So basically, you are ruining the support system of your skin causing your skin to appear even older than before.
#3 Botox can affect areas near the injection site… as the muscles in your face become weaker, they can start to recruit surrounding muscles when you make facial expressions. Botox injections in one part of the face can cause new facial wrinkles to appear elsewhere. If you paralyze the forehead muscles, you may start squinting with your eyes or nose and get wrinkles along your eyes and nose.
#4 Muscle weakness can spread to other parts of the body… a study done at the University of Calgary found that animals injected with Clostridium Botulinum type A neurotoxin complex (Botox) experienced muscle weakness in muscles throughout the body, even though they were far removed from the injection site. This study follows previous research which found that Botulinum toxin A easily crosses the muscle membrane barrier, resulting in muscles weakness in the surrounding (non-injected) muscles. What does this mean? Botox is not just localized. The effects are systemic and travel through your body.
#5 Botox literally changes your brain… Botox injections in the forehead and face rearrange the brain’s sensory map of the hands. The limited paralysis caused by Botox deprives the brain of sensory inputs normally generated by forehead and facial movement, and this alters the processing of tactile inputs from the hand. These changes in brain remapping are dose-dependent: the more you use, the bigger the effect.
#6 Botox affects your ability to feel emotions…. research suggests that using Botox flattens your affect, disconnecting you from your feelings and the feelings of others. Think about it, we are constantly using our faces and facial expressions to coordinate and manage social interactions. Researchers have found that when the ability to make facial expressions has been hindered, individuals are less able to interpret other people’s facial expressions and experience related emotions. Other studies have shown a decrease in the intensity of emotional experience following Botox injections. Gah, that does not sound good!
9 Healthier Alternatives to Botox
I get it. Most of us don’t LOVE the idea of getting older. We all want to look our best, especially as we age. But at what cost? It’s my opinion that Botox is not worth it and has many negative side effects. And there are many healthier ways to care for our skin. Here’s what I recommend:
#1 embrace aging as a natural part of life…. this does not mean lying down and letting it all fall apart around you. But I want to encourage you to embrace every season in life and recognize that aging is inevitable. Eventually we’re all going to get wrinkles and grow older. Letting go of the attachments to youthful beauty can help you to embrace the more meaningful benefits of getting older. This acceptance can help you live a happier, more content life as you get older because you’re not obsessing about what you look like.
#2 clean living… natural beauty comes from the inside out. Eat clean organic food. Drink good water and plenty of it. Move your body. Reduce your stress. Get plenty of sleep. These clean living basics will help build a solid foundation for vibrant living which will show up on your face and in your skin.
#3 wear sunscreen…. sun damaged skin ages faster. Protect your skin with a good quality sunscreen every day. Be sure to check out the EWG’s SkinDeep Databaseto see how your fav sunscreen rates for safety. I wear a tinted moisturizer with SPF almost every day. You can see my favorite safe brand of sunscreen HERE.
#4 eat collagen…. adding collagen to your diet can help slow down the aging process and make your skin look smoother. Collagen provides elasticity to the skin, helping it to appear more youthful and healthy. I recommend adding bone broth, powdered gelatin, and a collagen peptide supplement to your diet. You can read more HERE. Grab tons of recipes HERE.
#5 microdermabrasion…. is a minimally invasive procedure used to renew overall skin tone and texture. Microdermabrasion is great for treating pore size, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles. During the facial, an exfoliating tool is used to gently sand your skin, removing the thicker, uneven outer layer. Here’s a photo of me getting a microdermabrasion facial and one of my skin after the facial. I love the way my skin feels afterwards.
#6 microcurrent facials….. Microcurrent is a low level electrical current that simulates that of your own cellular bio-electrical output. This low level energy helps stimulate the muscles of the face and neck increasing muscle tone and keeping your complexion firm and taut. Microcurrent facials are a non-invasive way of reigniting the muscle and keeping them plump and active. It will also boost collagen and elastin production as well as ATP, the fuel that cells need to function by up to 500%. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I highly recommend Liza at SkinLab. Check out photos of her doing microcurrent facials on Instagram HERE.
#7 microneedling…. Microneedling (also known as collagen induction therapy or microchanneling) involves using fine needles to create hundreds of tiny, invisible puncture wounds in the top layer of skin. It’s not as scary as it sounds, I promise. While this is a bit more invasive than microdermabrasion, microneedling is an extremely effective way to stimulate the growth of collagen, helping fight and prevent the signs of aging. According to a 2008 study, skin treated with four microneedling sessions spaced one month apart produced up to a 400% increase in collagen and elastin six months after completing treatment. Microneedling is a good option for anyone wanting to improve the texture of the skin, reduce fine lines, reduce appearance of acne scars, reverse sun damage and pigmentation, shrink pores, and overall tighten and smooth the skin. Be sure to seek out a licensed professional with good reviews. Again, in the San Francisco Bay area, I recommend Liza at SkinLab. I’m pretty much obsessed with this facial treatment.
#8 red light therapy… the benefits of red light therapy for the skin is backed by a robust amount of clinical data. I started using my red light for increased energy (as it increases circulation and ATP production throughout the body) and for improved sleep, but I quickly noticed that it’s amazing for my skin. Some benefits of using red light therapy daily are increased collagen production, decrease in appearance of scars, decreased inflammation in the skin, and fading of sun damage. THIS is the red light that I use. It’s a combo of red light therapy and far infrared.
#9 gua sha… have you heard of this ancient skin therapy that’s making a big come back? Gua sha is a method of facial massage with crystal tools. It’s a massage technique designed to relieve tension in the muscles of the face, boost blood circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage to banish bloat. It reduces inflammation, clears congestion, relaxes and smooths muscles, and improves elasticity of the skin. And it’s so easy that you can do it at home. THIS is the facial gua sha that I use. You can watch YouTube tutorials to learn how to do it yourself.
Use clean beauty products to keep your skin looking it’s best….what you put on your skin matters. It matters a lot. Luckily, we now have access to companies who are providing safer options for those of us concerned about what’s in our products. For anti-aging, you need to do 3 things: exfoliate, hydrate, and nourish. My favorite way to exfoliate at home is with this overnight resurfacing peel. I hydrate my skin with this moisture serum with two forms of hyaluronic acid and antioxidants. I nourish my skin daily with this brightening facial oil and plumping facial oil. You can read more about my favorite safe beauty products HERE.
OK… your turn. I’d love to hear what you think.
Click HERE to PIN THIS