You know the benefits of Botox. Hailed by dermatologists worldwide, the anti-aging treatment works by preventing nerves from releasing the chemical signals that trigger muscle contraction. It’s served as an excellent treatment for a wide variety of problems, from eye movement disorders to excessive underarm sweating to migraines, but Botox is most commonly known for its ability to soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles, explains Ken Howe, MD, a dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology.
“Minute amounts delivered to areas of excessive tone, like the forehead or between the eyes, will relax the muscle so that it stops tugging on the skin and creating the lines,” Dr. Howe says. That’s why it’s become an increasingly popular preventive treatment for women in their late twenties or early thirties, who are just starting to see dynamic wrinkles (aka the ones that appear when you form facial expressions). According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, preventative Botox is one of the fastest growing trends, with a 32 percent increase in injections since 2010 among the age group 20-29.
But Botox isn’t for everyone, and given the fact that it’s a minimally-invasive procedure – ahem, a needle to the face – it’s really no surprise that some people are a bit timid to partake. If, for whatever reason, you’re not ready to take this kind of a leap to rid your face of wrinkles, we certainly don’t blame you. Luckily, there are plenty of treatments and tricks that can help keep wrinkles away – sans the prick. Here, we asked top dermatologists to suggest some Botox alternatives.
The most important thing you can do to avoid premature aging of the skin is to practice diligent sun safety, says Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist and clinical instructor of dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. “Studies from Australia show us that the skin of people who use sun protection on an everyday basis ages better compared to the skin of people who use sun protection sometimes,” she notes.
Wearing a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher will help keep lines at bay, especially if you reapply it every two to three hours and avoid direct sun exposure during the times of 11am-3pm when the UV radiation is the strongest, explains Jerome Garden, MD, a dermatologist at Physicians Laser and Dermatology Institute in Chicago, IL. Per the latest findings by the FDA, your best bet is using a mineral sunscreen formula with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, like La Roche-Posay Anthelios Body and Face Gentle-Lotion Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50. “It is also very important to avoid tanning beds as the UV in those lights damage our collagen, which results in wrinkles and also cause brown spots to form,” Dr. Garden adds.