Natural Alternatives To Botox For Wrinkle Prevention

Botulinum toxin injections are popular to ward off fine lines and achieve smooth, wrinkle-free skin… but not without side effects. There are a variety of natural alternatives to Botox available for those looking to address “elevens” or “crow’s feet” without resorting to shots. The topic of wrinkle prevention is a controversial one and a lot of people are very anti-Botox to ward off wrinkles, for good reason.

What are the potential side effects of wrinkle-reducing injections? Is “preventative Botox” legit? What are the best ways to reduce the appearance and formation of wrinkles?

Keep reading to learn more about wrinkle prevention!

Natural Alternatives To Botox

Note: This article contains affiliate links, meaning In On Around will make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps me maintain the site. As always, I value full transparency & only work with brands I love and trust.

What Is Botox?

Botox® is a widely used cosmetic treatment aimed at diminishing wrinkles and fine lines on the face. It is made up of Botulinum Toxin A (which is a neurotoxin), a substance that temporarily paralyzes the muscles responsible for wrinkles. Once injected, it binds to the receptor and prevents the nerve from telling the muscle to contract. [1]

It’s become a VERY popular treatment! In fact, over 7.4 million people in the United States are receiving botulinum toxin treatments! [2] According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), the US is ranked #1 for non-surgical products performed at a global level. It’s very popular in America!

The effects of the treatment typically last only four to six months. In addition to being used for cosmetic purposes, Botox injections are also used to help alleviate symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), chronic migraines, overactive bladder, hyperhidrosis, and lower limb spasticity.

The intramuscular injection was approved for use by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002, and it is now widely available both on and off the market. The most common areas for Botox injections are the “elevens” (the lines between the eyebrows), crow’s feet around the eyes, smile lines around the mouth, and furrows on the forehead. The cost of treatment can range from $300-$600 on average – it’s certainly not cheap!

Botox = the most frequently performed cosmetic procedure in the US. [3]

What Causes Wrinkles?

Pesky wrinkles! Wrinkles can form due to a number of different reasons, such as:

  • Natural aging – over time we lose elasticity in our skin and produce less collagen, which can cause our skin to become weaker
  • Smoking – HORRIBLE for your skin (… not a shocker!)
  • Stress – it can take a major toll on your body, especially your skin.
  • Lack of proper hydration – our bodies are primarily made of water, so make sure you’re hydrating!
  • Excess sun exposure – the right amount of sun exposure is essential, but I always prefer to wear high-quality mineral-based SPF on my face whenever I go outside… winter or summer. Non-negotiable.
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals – everything you put in, on & around your body matters.
  • Air pollution – especially if you’re reguarly exposed to toxic fumes or polluted city air.

About 80% of clinical signs of aging are caused by UV and sun exposure. [4]

Clostridium Botulinum Toxin – Explained

Clostridium botulinum is a dangerous type of bacteria that produces a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin. This toxin is one of the most potent poisons known to man, with just a small amount capable of causing severe illness or death. Botulinum toxin can cause a condition called botulism, which can lead to muscle weakness, difficulty speaking and swallowing, and even respiratory failure. It is considered a high-risk pathogen and can be found in certain canned goods, smoked fish, and honey (since it grows in the absence of oxygen).

Ever come across a bulging can of food? Trash it! Otherwise, you can be in a very serious situation.

Clostridium botulinum = poison secreted by bacteria

Community Poll

I polled over 312 women on Instagram to see if they have ever had Botox or Dysport injections. Here are the results:

Yes, I’ve had an injection: 69 votes (22% of answers)

No, I’ve never had an injection: 243 votes (78% of answers)

Botox Poll

Other Common Wrinkle Injections

Dysport, Xeomin, and Daxxify all use the same active ingredient as Botox®, botulinum toxin. They’re all common wrinkle treatments. [5] The main differences among these options are the formulations of the drugs, as well as how quickly they dissipate. Daxxify was recently approved for use by the FDA in September 2022.

Xeomin is commonly marketed to be a “uniquely purified” anti-wrinkle treatment that’s “cleaner” and “safer.” It’s called a “Natural Botox Injection” – this is simply not true. There is simply no way to make a “clean” neurotoxin – it’s an oxymoron.

Organic” botulinum injections don’t exist! It’s deceptive marketing in the cosmeceutical industry.

For clarity, dermal fillers fall into a different category with different end results (although fillers can also migrate from the injection site to another area of the body).

Botox® Ingredients

According to a study, each vial of Botox® contains: [6]

  • 100 Units (U) of Clostridium botulinum type A neurotoxin complex
  • 0.5 milligrams of Albumin (Human)
  • 0.9 milligrams of sodium chloride in a sterile, vacuum-dried form without a preservative

According to a study in 2006, the human albumin used in Botox is/was purchased from a division of the Bayer Corporation (…red flag alert!). [7] There’s no way to know if they’re still sourcing from them. If you weren’t aware, Bayer is the SAME company that owns Monsanto, the creators of RoundUp which uses glyphosate. To read more about glyphosate, check out: Is There Glyphosate In Organic Food? Glyphosate 101

Allergan, the pharmaceutical maker of Botox, is owned by AbbVie Inc, which split off from Abbott Laboratories. It’s big, big business!

Side Effects Of Botulinum Toxin Injections

First of all, botulinum toxin injections do not erase wrinkles. The results are only temporary. In fact, you can even grow resistant to it (known as Botox resistance or Botox immunity). The body can form antibodies against the toxin, causing you to build up a tolerance when you’d require increased doses over time.

Let’s dive into some potential side effects, especially related to botulinum toxicity:

  • Can migrate to unwanted areas (unwanted spread or diffusion) [8]
    • There is a risk of a distant spread of the toxin effect (it’s listed on the warning label)!
  • Can react with certain medications
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Allergic reactions or anaphylaxis (which can be serious), such as:
    • Itching
    • Rash
    • Asthma
    • Breathing difficulties
  • Flu-like” symptoms
    • The term “flu-like” was used in botulinum toxin literature around 2011 in order to calm any patients who presented signs of botulism. [9, Nevertox]
  • Dry eyes or double vision
  • Bruising
  • Discomfort during and after injection
  • Swelling
  • Dropping of the eyelid or eyebrow
  • Neck pain
  • Headache
  • Drooling or difficulty swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Facial muscle weakness or numbness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Speech difficulties

From the Botox Cosmetic website:

Warning Botulinum Toxin

… and more. There have been SOME reports of death and comas, especially since it can migrate into the Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord). [10]

Only 1-10% of people who experience side effects actually report their side effects to the FDA. [11, 12] FDA approval does not mean it’s safe. Whether you’re getting the injection for cosmetic reasons or medical reasons, there is still a risk of potential side effects. There is a black box warning on the box, however, most patients will never see it.

In addition, the account @nevertox on Instagram has great information on the potential side effects of injections. She runs a popular support group for Botox/Dysport Side Effects with over 25,000 members. She is a great source for additional information.

Can Botulinum Toxin Injections React With Medication?

Yes, botox can react with certain medications. Be very cautious! It should not be used in individuals taking certain antibiotics, blood thinners, or muscle relaxants as these medications can increase the risk of bleeding or bruising at the injection site.

Also, people who are taking medication that can cause muscle weakness, such as myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome, should not use Botox.

Botox is a DRUG & should never be used unless absolutely necessary. There are side effects.

Is “Preventative Botox” Legit?

Botox injections are marketed to have a “prophylactic effect,” meaning they help “prevent” future wrinkles. I haven’t come across any large-scale clinical studies to show that this is actually true. In fact, with muscle atrophy, botulinum injections can potentially AGE you in the long term. It can cause thinner and flatter muscles or facial disfigurement. If you’re willing to take the risk with the side effects, please be sure not to overdo it.

It’s not known if Botox is “safe” for less than 3 months between injections. Some companies are pushing it month to month, which is unethical and unsafe. If you get injections, make sure you have at least 3 months between injections and only get it done by a qualified practitioner.

“Preventative” Botox is a SCAM – it’s a marketing & sales ploy.

Can You Get Wrinkle Injections While Pregnant?

No, it is absolutely NOT advised to get any Botox, Dysport, or other wrinkle treatment injections while pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s also important to avoid wrinkle injections if you’re trying to conceive.

In a rabbit study, a daily injection of 0.125 U/kg/day (days 6 to 18 of gestation) and 2 U/kg
(days 6 and 13 of gestation) produced severe maternal toxicity, abortions, and/or fetal malformations. [13] We don’t know if Botox is excreted in human milk, so it’s best to avoid it if you’re breastfeeding a baby.

Botox CAN be life-threatening for certain people – always talk to your naturopathic or functional doctor before deciding to move forward with the procedure. Those with neuro-muscular disorders should avoid it altogether.

10 Best Botox Alternatives

If you’re a breastfeeding mother, or simply looking for a less-invasive alternative to Botox, there are a number of options available. However, it’s important to be aware that many products that promise youthful skin are scams. Many of the expensive creams on the market contain the same ingredients as the cheaper drugstore options, but with a higher price tag due to branding.

Aesthetic physicians or nurses may recommend other fillers or chemical peels as alternatives to Botox, but it’s important to note that these options can come with their own set of potential health risks and may not be any better. It’s always best to consult with a medical professional to determine the best course of action for your individual needs and concerns.

These natural alternatives don’t isolate or paralyze the muscle; however, they can help stimulate collagen production and improve the skin’s overall appearance.

Using a multi-pronged natural approach will give you the best results.

1 – Follow Skincare Best Practices

Following general skincare health tips is tip #1! Here are some of the best skincare tips:

  • Wear SPF – You can learn more about sunscreen here: Holistic Sun Safety Tips & Non-Toxic Sunscreen
    • Sunscreen is the HOLY GRAIL anti-aging product. Make sure you’re using non-toxic mineral-based sunscreens on a daily basis, which I discuss in the article above.
  • Avoid smoking (… at all cost! And second-hand smoke)
  • Stay hydrated with high-quality filtered water – You can learn more about water purifiers here: AquaTru vs. Berkey – What To Look For In A Water Filter or Purifier
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet – You can learn more about diet here: How To Eat An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
    • Eating a truly healthy diet is, by far, the best thing you can do for your skin. Skincare comes from the inside out!
    • For skin health, a diet rich in vitamin C, protein, minerals, collagen, and healthy fats are essential.
    • Bone broth can be a great addition to your diet, especially since it’s rich in collagen.
  • Focus on sleep-quality

2 – Bakuchiol

Bakuchiol is a natural plant-based alternative to retinol (a phyto-retinol), which is commonly used in anti-aging skincare products. It’s been shown to have similar anti-aging benefits to retinol, but is gentler on the skin! It can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots, improve skin texture and tone, and boost collagen production.

What About Retinol?

Retinol can be irritating to the skin and potentially harmful for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or looking to conceive. I discuss retinol in more detail here: Bakuchiol Vs Retinol – The Best Phyto-Retinol For Anti-Aging.

Retinol (a form of Vitamin A) is commonly used in anti-aging skincare products due to its ability to improve the appearance of fine lines and boost collagen production. Retinol can cause irritation, dryness, and redness, especially when first starting to use it. It can also increase sun sensitivity, so it is crucial to use sunscreen when using products that contain retinol.

Be very cautious around the retinol products marketed on social media, especially on TikTok.

3 – Face Yoga

Face yoga is a very natural and non-invasive way to achieve a more youthful and radiant appearance. This practice involves a series of exercises that target specific facial muscles in order to tone and tighten them.

You know the age-old saying, if you don’t use it, you lose it? If you don’t work out & massage your face, the muscles and skin will begin to suffer. Just make sure you use a high-quality face oil to reduce skin tugging!

The exercises are designed to increase blood flow to the face, which can help to improve skin texture and tone.

Additionally, face yoga can help to reduce stress and tension in the face. Face yoga is also beneficial for promoting the production of collagen, an essential protein that helps improve the overall elasticity and firmness of the skin. With regular practice, face yoga can be a great way to naturally achieve a more youthful and refreshed look without the need for invasive treatments.

Exercise your face the way you would exercise your body!

4 – Wrinkle Patches

Wrinkle patches (also called face taping) are a non-invasive anti-aging technique that involves applying patches or tape to specific areas of the face that are prone to wrinkles, such as the forehead and around the eyes.

The patches work by gently pulling the skin to smooth and reduce the appearance of wrinkles while preventing you from wrinkling the skin. The patches or tape are usually worn overnight on a daily basis. They provide a gentle, sustained tension on the skin to prevent the skin from creasing. It’s completely non-invasive and painless.

With regular use, wrinkles patches can be a great way to naturally train yourself to avoid lifting up your eyebrows or using excessive facial movements which can cause wrinkles over time.

Luckily, these wrinkle patches are typically very inexpensive, especially when compared to botox.

Best Wrinkle Patches

  • Frownies (single-use)
    • I’ve been using Frownies for about 6 months and I like them! They’re not 100% fool-proof, though. If you’re layering on a lot of serums or skincare products, sometimes the patches can have a difficult time sticking, so wait for the skin products to be absorbed first. The patches have a slight adhestive smell, so if you’re particularly sensitive, you may want to opt for the other options below.
    • It’s almost like putting paper mache on your face. It’s made of a natural kraft-like paper that adheres to the skin.
    • This company has a loyal following and has been around for over 100+ years!
  • Pacifica Reusable Brow Mask (reusable)
  • Wrinkles Schminkles (reusable)

There are many wrinkle patches sold on the market – be careful to check the ingredient list because some will add chemicals to the patch. You want to look for natural adhesives or 100% medical-grade silicone.

5 – Red Light Therapy

This is a SUPER powerful modality. It doesn’t cause muscle paralysis like botox, instead, it helps to build collagen from the inside out. Lumebox is my favorite option (and this link saves you $250)!

Red light therapy can improve skin texture and tone, reduce fine lines, and promote healthy skin cell function. The red light is absorbed by the skin, which triggers a process called photobiomodulation, which can help to reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process. This can lead to a reduction in the appearance of sun damage, age spots, and hyperpigmentation, as well as improve skin elasticity.

Additionally, red light therapy can help to boost circulation, which can improve the overall health of the skin and help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells. It can also improve the functioning of the mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell, which is associated with increased energy production, wound healing, and anti-aging.

To learn more about my favorite Red Light devices, check out: Red Light Therapy At Home: Uses, Benefits, and Risks

6 – Gua Sha

Gua sha is an ancient Chinese healing technique that involves using a smooth, flat tool, typically made of jade or rose quartz, to gently scrape the skin in a specific pattern. The tool is gently pressed against the skin and then pulled in a smooth, upward motion. This helps to promote blood flow, oxygenation, and collagen production in the skin.

Just make sure you use a high-quality face oil to reduce skin tugging!

It can help plump up the skin, improve its overall tone, and promote lymphatic drainage, which can reduce puffiness and inflammation. Gua sha can also be used to target specific areas of the face, such as the jawline and cheeks, to help lift and sculpt the face. It is a non-invasive, natural way to achieve a more youthful, radiant look. It can also help to reduce stress, tension, and tension headaches.

To learn more about gua sha, check out: Gua Sha vs Jade Roller For Lymphatic Drainage [Do They Work?!]

7 – Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help neutralize free radicals in the skin, which can cause damage to the skin cells and contribute to the aging process.

Vitamin C also helps to stimulate collagen production, brighten the skin, and even out skin tone. It can help to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and age spots caused by sun damage, while protecting the skin from further damage by providing a barrier against environmental factors, such as UV rays and pollution.

Other serums with squalane, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, green tea, caffeine, and peptides can also reduce wrinkles.

To learn more about Vitamin C Serum, check out: How To Use Vitamin C Serum Properly For Dark Spots

Always make sure your face is protected from the long-term sun exposure.

8 – Microneedling

Microneedling is a minimally invasive technique that uses micro-fine needles that are rolled across the skin. These needles penetrate the outer layer of skin and cause micro-tears. These mini skin pricks help to trigger the skin’s healing process and increase collagen production. You can use a derma-roller, like from Beauty By Earth, at home to achieve a similar effect, just make sure it’s completely clean.

You can even layer micro needling with Vitamin C Serum to allow the serums to penetrate deeper into the skin!

9 – Cosmetic Acupuncture

Cosmetic acupuncture is a form of acupuncture that is used to improve the appearance of the skin and reduce signs of aging. It involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the face and body to stimulate the flow of Qi (energy) and blood. This can help improve circulation and reduce inflammation. Additionally, cosmetic acupuncture can also help to reduce puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.

There’s a reason it’s been around for centuries!

10 – Reduce Skin Pulling With Silk Pillowcases

Silk pillowcases are believed to have anti-aging benefits for the skin and hair. Silk is a natural fiber that is gentle on the skin and can help to reduce friction or tugging. It’s important to reduce friction on the skin as much as possible.

This also means you should forego pulling or picking your skin (…yes, I know, it can be hard). Pulling your skin will do more harm than good.

Final Thoughts – Is Botox Safe?

All in all, the choice to get botox or not is yours – no judgment here! Many med spas will play down the potential side effects. Whether you’re pro or anti-Botox, we need informed consent. Do your research and talk to your doctor first.

Are the potential risks worth the results for just ~3 months? You can be the judge of that. That said, there are certainly more holistic remedies in your quest for younger-looking skin.

Wrinkles may be a sign of age but with the right attitude, they’re nothing to frown about. If you’re contemplating getting Botox, ask yourself why. Are you getting Botox because you’re trying to align with society’s definition of beauty? Growing older is an honor & a privilege. You can choose to age gracefully, without any shame.

Pin this “Natural Wrinkle Prevention?” pic on Pinterest for future reference!

Alternatives To Botox Wrinkles

Frequently Asked Questions – Natural Alternatives To Botox

Click on the below FAQs to learn more about wrinkle serums, frown lines, frownies forehead, topical botox, forehead wrinkles, wrinkle patches, fine lines, anti-aging, and more.

What Causes Wrinkles?

Alternatives To Botox

Many things can contribute to wrinkles, such as natural aging, smoking, stress, dehydration, excess sun exposure, exposure to toxic chemicals, and more.

Is Clostridium Botulinum Toxic?

Alternatives To Botox

Yes, Clostridium botulinum is a very dangerous type of bacteria that produces a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin. This toxin is one of the most potent poisons known to man, with just a small amount capable of causing severe illness or death.

Can You Get Wrinkle Injections While Pregnant?

Alternatives To Botox

No, it is not advised to get any Botox, Dysport, or other wrinkle treatment injections while pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s also important to avoid wrinkle injections if you’re trying to conceive.

Can Botulinum Toxin Injections React With Medication?

Alternatives To Botox

Yes, botulinum toxin can react with certain medications. Be very cautious. It should not be used in individuals taking certain antibiotics, blood thinners, or muscle relaxants as these medications can increase the risk of bleeding or bruising at the injection site.

If you’ve had Botox, do you regret it?

Let me know your thoughts and key takeaways in the comments below!

You can watch our web story here.


Want to read more? Check out my other articles here!

Other references on Alternatives To Botox: Vogue, Healthline, FDA,, Allure, Epiphany, Chat News Today, Organically Becca, Everyday Health, Glamour, SHAPE, Ethos Spa, Byrdie, Verywell Health, TZR, Heal Thy Self, Grand View Research, Botox Cosmetic, Vibrant Skin Bar, Qazi Clinic, San Diego Cryotherapy, Eluxe Magazine, Green + Simple, Daily OM, USA Today, Refinery29, Dr. Adams, Heaven On Earth Aspen, Skin Renewal Studio, Maria Marlowe, Franz Skincare, Dr. Taz, NY Times, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Nevertox

Copyright In On Around LLC 2023 ©. The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided by this website should not be used as individual medical advice and you should always consult your doctor for individual recommendations and treatment. The information contained in this site is provided on an “as is” basis. Related to this site, there are no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness, or timeliness. In On Around LLC assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this site.

About Catherine Power

Catherine Power is the Founder and CEO of In On Around. She is a Harvard-educated Ingredient Safety and Environmental Toxins expert. Catherine has a background in Food Science, Personal Care Quality, and Regulatory Compliance.

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