7+ Natural Botox Alternatives For Wrinkles, Aging, Skin Sagging, & More

Published on May 03, 2023

By Kristen Boye BS, Natural Health

Kristen Boye

Kristen Boye is a natural health expert, writer, copywriter, and editor. Kristen was raised on an organic farm in British Columbia which inspired her life’s work. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Health, is a Certified Natural Foods Chef, co-owner of a medicinal herb farm, and is a natural foods and children’s health advocate. Kristen lives with her husband and two children on their medicinal herb farm in Western North Carolina.

Like it or loathe it, Botox use is on the rise among people of all ages.

Botox, or “baby Botox” use is even trending among Gen-Zers and millennials looking to prevent wrinkles and enhance their appearance (though there is no scientific evidence Botox works as a preventative).REF#1576.

However, if paying a premium to inject botulinum toxin (the active ingredient in Botox that “paralyzes” the muscles in your face to control wrinkles and fine lines) into your face doesn’t align with your health-conscious values, take heart.

This article will look at five science-backed natural botox alternatives that can help reduce wrinkles, skin aging, and sagging while supporting overall health and beauty.

Are There Really Natural Alternatives To Botox?

When we talk about natural Botox alternatives, we’re not talking about natural injectables that will do all the same things as Botox.

As mentioned above, Botox works by blocking certain nerve signals that make muscles contract.REF#1517 This causes facial muscles to freeze, resulting in temporarily smoother skin and fewer lines and wrinkles. Because it is temporary, users do need to get Botox injections on a regular basis. The cadence and amount used are decided with the Botox provider.

Botox can also be used in other areas of the body for specific health conditions, such as muscle spasms, migraines, sweating, or bladder problems.

Again, we are not claiming the below natural Botox alternatives will work precisely like Botox.

This article aims to share natural, non-toxic, and less invasive options to address the primary reasons people get Botox: to help reduce wrinkles, improve skin tone and texture, reduce skin aging, skin sagging, and enhance overall beauty, appearance, and self-esteem.

Botox Side Effects and Risks

Botox is an FDA-approved pharmaceutical injectable of the food poisoning toxin botulinum.

Botox injections are performed on millions of people a year, and doctors and patients rave about its benefits.

However, Botox injections come with risks.

For example, research has shown Botox leads to bad reactions in up to 1 in 6 users.REF#1518 

Per the manufacturer of Botox’s website, reactions may be serious and life-threatening and could include: REF#1519

  • Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing. This is due to the weakening of facial muscles and can be severe, resulting in loss of life. You are at the highest risk if these problems are pre-existing before injection. Swallowing problems may last for several months.
  • Spread of toxin effects. The effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas away from the injection site and cause serious symptoms including: 

    • Loss of strength and all-over muscle weakness
    • Double vision
    • Blurred vision 
    • Drooping eyelids
    • Hoarseness or change or loss of voice
    • Trouble saying words clearly
    • Loss of bladder control
    • Trouble breathing
    • Trouble swallowing
    • Serious allergic reactions 

Other side effects include pain at the injection site, eye drooping, tiredness, neck pain, eyesight problems, and swelling.

Botox should also not be used with some medications and supplements. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.

7+ Natural Botox Alternatives Backed By Science

If the stats and side effects above are enough to give you pause, read on for five natural Botox alternatives backed by science.

#1: Acupuncture Face Lift

If you’re looking for Botox alternatives that do not involve needles, this one may not be for you.

However, several small studies have shown acupuncture facelifts can produce many of the same results as Botox.

What is an acupuncture facelift?

Also known as cosmetic acupuncture, an acupuncture facelift involves the placement of ultra-fine needles along the face, neck, and hairline to promote the flow of energy (or Qi) and reduce signs of aging.

Research has shown facial acupuncture can be helpful for:REF#1520 REF#1521 REF#1522 REF#1523 REF#1524 

  • Reducing fine lines and wrinkles on the face and neck
  • Improving skin elasticity
  • Enhancing the overall condition of the skin
  • Enhancing facial blood circulation
  • Improving skin pigment
  • Enhancing muscle thickness
  • Reducing brown spots

Like Botox, the results of facial acupuncture generally are not permanent, and follow-up procedures are required.

However, some people report lasting results from just a few sessions—especially if they are working with an acupuncturist to address other health issues contributing to skin aging.

The cost can vary depending on the acupuncturist and length of the treatment, but it’s generally less expensive than other cosmetic procedures.

 #2: Facial Yoga/Facial Exercises

If you’re not big on needles, facial yoga may be a better Botox alternative for you.

Facial yoga is a series of at-home facial exercises designed to strengthen and improve facial muscle tone, which can result in a more youthful appearance.

But does facial yoga work?

Preliminary evidence does indicate various benefits, including:REF#1525 REF#1526 REF#1527

  • Improved facial fullness
  • A more youthful appearance
  • And a 3-year reduction in age appearance after 20 weeks of facial exercises for 30 minutes daily

Proponents claim it can also help with other signs of aging such as sagging skin, double-chin, wrinkles, and dullness.

Facial yoga is inexpensive, non-invasive, and may help reduce some signs of aging. 

However, it does require a time commitment.

Subjects in the studies referenced above spent about 20 weeks doing 30 minutes of facial yoga daily.

Not all facial yoga programs may recommend such long workouts, but it does require consistency to see results.

If you’re highly motivated and have the time to dedicate, facial yoga could be a great natural and non-invasive Botox alternative.

#3: Sleep

Sleep’s role in reducing the signs of aging, enhancing appearance, and boosting self-esteem is often underestimated.

However, research has shown getting enough sleep is one of the most effective ways to delay the signs of aging.

That’s because sleep is when your skin repairs, detoxifies, and rejuvenates.

This is likely why sub-optimal sleep has been shown to contribute to many of the issues driving the Botox trend, including:REF#1528 REF#1529 REF#1530

  • Skin aging
  • Diminished skin barrier function 
  • Reduced collagen production
  • And lower satisfaction with appearance

According to the Sleep Foundation, just one night of poor sleep can result in:REF#1531

  • Paler skin than usual
  • Wrinkles and fine lines around the mouth
  • Hanging corners of the mouth
  • Drooping or hanging eyelid
  • Red or swollen eyes
  • Dark circles below the eyes

Plus, a small study investigating social perception and sleep deprivation showed that sleepy-looking people are seen as less attractive and less healthy.REF#1532

So, before you spend time and money on various anti-aging treatments, consider improving your quality and quantity of sleep.

Learn more in: 

    #4: Red Light Therapy

    Red light therapy (RLT), also known as cold laser therapy, soft laser therapy, low-level light therapy is a type of low-wavelength light therapy used for various skin and health concerns, including aging.

    It is believed to work by supporting cell energy production, which may help boost cells’ functions such as healing, resisting free radical damage, and growth. 

    When cells and skin cells are healthy, this can result in numerous health and cosmetic benefits.

    The science of red light therapy is relatively new and far from settled; however, there is evidence it may help with:REF#1533 REF#1534 REF#1535 REF#1536 REF#1537 

    • Fine lines and wrinkles
    • Boosting collagen production
    • Reducing UV damage
    • Scarring
    • Wound healing
    • Inflammatory response
    • Rejuvenating skin
    • Improving skin’s texture and tone

    Red light therapy devices can be purchased from various companies in different sizes. Typically, continued use is recommended for best results.

    More research is needed, but preliminary studies coupled with anecdotal evidence suggest red light therapy may be a helpful non-invasive, and non-toxic tool for reducing the signs of aging and improving skin health.

    #5: Facial Gua Sha

    Gua Sha, also known as guasha, coining, spooning, scraping, or jade rolling, is a Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment that’s become a modern beauty craze.

    Gua Sha treatments involve using smooth stones, such as jade or quarts, to massage or scrape certain areas of the skin (Facial Gua Sha) or body (Gua Sha) to reduce pain, increase circulation, promote lymphatic drainage, and stimulate the flow of Qi (energy) to restore balance.

    Regarding beauty, it is believed Gua Sha stimulates specific facial meridians that promote circulation, thereby improving appearance, boosting skin brightness, and even temporarily reducing signs of aging. 

    According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, meridians are energetic pathways that connect the body’s organs and systems.

    Despite its recent popularity, research on its potential benefits for skin health is lacking.

    However, there is evidence it increases circulation and lymphatic flow and may have anti-aging effects under proper stimulation.REF#1538 

    Although Gua Sha body treatments are typically performed by a licensed practitioner, Facial Gua Sha is a gentler and simpler process that can be done at home.

    If you want to try Gua Sha, you can find Gua Sha tools, such as jade and quartz rollers, at affordable prices at various beauty supply stores.

    Some users have reported temporary redness or light bruising, so gentle strokes as you master the technique, and make sure you use lotion or balm so the tool glides on the skin without pulling.

    #6: Natural Skincare

    Natural skincare or “clean beauty” products can be amazing weapons to fight signs of aging.

    But which are the best for fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and mature skin?

    We couldn’t possibly list all of them here, but here are few age-defying natural ingredients to look for:

    #1: Retinol alternatives

    Retinol, a highly concentrated and purified form of synthetic Vitamin A, is one of the most popular ingredients in mainstream skincare lines.

    However, Retinol is a manufactured product that can cause skin sensitivity, irritation from the sun, and other side effects. It’s also not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which leaves many people looking for alternatives.REF#1539 

    Here are some natural retinol alternatives to try:

    • Rambutan: A type of fruit similar to lychee that’s packed with vitamin C and A
    • Bakuchiol: A botanical extract shown comparable to retinol for photoagingREF#1540 
    • Beef tallow-based skincare products: Beef tallow is rich in natural Vitamin A, which proponent claim, can have similar effects to retinol.
    • Rosehip oil: This is a natural source of vitamins A, C, and other antioxidants.
    • Carrot seed oil: This is a natural source of vitamins A, C, and other antioxidants.

      #2: Precious plant and flower oils

      Many all-natural serums and creams are made with precious plant and flower oils. However, these ingredients aren’t just added for their scent and moisturizing properties.

      Plant and flower oils have many proven benefits for mature skin. Here are some examples:

        • Raspberry seed oil has natural sun-protective properties and contains powerful age-fighting antioxidants such as vitamins A, E, C, and anthocyanins.REF#1541 REF#1542 REF#1543 
        • Apricot kernel oil is high in vitamins A, C, and E which promote collagen production, reduce free radical damage, and boost moisture levels. It supports skin microbial balance, aids inflammatory response, and is rich in skin-nourishing essential fatty acids.REF#1544 
      • Oregano oil has been shown to promote normal aging and inflammatory function of the skin, support healthy collagen, elastase, and hyaluronidase (an enzyme that promotes moisture levels) production, encourage skin structure, and has antioxidant properties.REF#1545 REF#1546

      #3: Natural antioxidants

      Antioxidants, used topically and internally, may support youthful skin by fighting free radical damage.REF#1547 

      Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage healthy cells, including skin cells, leading to aging and other health concerns.

      Some natural antioxidants to look for in skincare products include:

      • Alpha lipoic acid
      • Coffee
      • Copper
      • CoQ10
      • Curcumin/Turmeric
      • Green Tea/ECGC
      • Mushrooms
      • Vitamin A and caretenoids
      • Vitamin C
      • Vitamin E
      • Resveratrol
      • Selenium
      • Quercetin
      • Zinc

      These may be listed on labels as-such, or may be present within a natural ingredient, such as a seed oil or fruit extract.

      Learn more in: What Are Antioxidants? How The Work And Their Benefits

      #7: Herbs and Supplements

      You may have heard that beauty is an inside job. This means lifestyle can play a role in how our skin appears and ages.

      Certain herbs and supplements may help in conjunction with eating a healthy, balanced diet, exercising, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.

      For example:

      • Supplements containing antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E, Zinc, Selenium, Quercetin, Resveratrol, or Green Tea/ECGC may help support youthful skin.
      • Vitamin D has been shown to possess various age-defying properties, including protecting skin against photoaging (sun damage).REF#1548 
      • Ayurvedic herbs, such as Turmeric and its active component, Curcumin, have long been used for beauty and have been shown to reduce the formation of wrinkles and skin aging.REF#1549
      • Supplemental collagen may help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging but further research is necessary to confirm these benefits.REF#1550 

      Herbs can also be helpful when used topically. Learn more in: How To Use Herbs For Skincare + 8 Of The Best To Try

      Can Natural Alternatives Work As Well As Botox?

      As discussed at the beginning of the article, no known natural substance performs exactly the same way as Botox.

      However, as you’ve just learned, many tools and therapies may provide similar benefits without the same risks.

      Want to learn more ways to support skin health as you get older?

      Check out the following articles:


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