Our skin is our largest organ + one of the biggest informants of what’s going on inside our bodies. That role deserves some respect — respect I never showed during my waged war against teenage acne: tanning beds, St. Ives Apricot Scrub + all.
I have a long history with my skin. I spent so much time (+ money!) at the dermatologist’s office that he started affectionately called my pimples “little guys”.
Even in my teen + early adult years, we were dancing around the idea of lasers + peels + maybe even Botox just to see if that’d make those “little guys” chill out a bit.
Knowing what I know now, I am so thankful that I didn’t start Botox then + I’m thoughtfully declining Botox now.
What is Botox?
Botox is a botulin-based drug that paralyzes your facial muscles temporarily to leave a smoother, flawless complexion.
It was invented by an ophthalmologist in the 1980s, who began using it to treat optic muscle disorders like cross-eyes. He just happened to realize that the injection areas would have smoothed out wrinkles, too.
In 1990, inventor Dr. Scott SOLD his stake in Botox to the pharmaceutical company, Allergan, for a measly $8 million dollars.
Then, starting in 2002, Botox was FDA-approved for a variety of therapeutic applications, including migraines, severe sweating, muscle stiffness + just recently urinary incontinence.
In 2012, Botox was approved for cosmetic purposes.
And, now, today’s reported sales of the drug? More than ONE BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR + counting!
Is Botox safe?
The FDA approves the use of Botox in the most commonly treated areas: most common areas treated include the wrinkled lines in the forehead, around the eyes + those annoying vertical lines between the eyebrows (the glabella).
BUT the Botox website itself yields safety warnings that “you may experience problems swallowing, speaking or breathing” which can be severe + kill you.
The full name of Botox is OnabotulinumtoxinA. So, the name itself declares that it’s a toxin — a neurotoxin, to be specific. This means that Botox is literally toxic to your nervous system because it compromises + destroys your nerves.
FDA approval aside — to me, that doesn’t sound exactly safe.
Side Effects of Botox
When Botox users have a pre-existing condition, as many happen to, they put themselves at an elevated risk of the already available side effects.
Some of those side effects include blurred vision + drooping eyelids. Others include crooked smiles, drooling + tearing eyes.
Also, have you ever seen someone with that “frozen face” look from too much Botox? That’s a real issue. Their facial muscles have been literally paralyzed stiff — which lasts months, if not permanently.
I learned from The Organic Bunny that Botox has killed 400,000+ animals a year due to animal testing.
During these tests, animals are injected with the toxin, usually suffocating to death due to muscle paralysis, while conscious. Pretty much any drug or filler is highly likely to have been tested on animals which is something I can’t turn a blind eye to.— TheOrganicBunny.com
I can’t un-read that + I think more cosmetics consumers need to see that. Botox isn’t the only animal-testing offender. 👆🏼
My logic tells me that if what I’m consuming (wearing, eating, injecting, etc.) needs to be tested that rigorously on other living creatures before I get the final product, then maybe that final product isn’t as organic as I’d prefer it to be.
I don’t believe my inputs should be testing my body’s natural abilities; I believe my consumption should be supporting my body’s natural abilities.
What I Do Instead of Botox
Fast-forward through today, I have a much more organic approach to skincare — tackling it from the inside with cleaner plant-based nutrition + from the outside with my growing Beautycounter collection.
Specifically, I’ve been using this Countertime skincare regimen.
Consider Cost vs. Performance
For example, let’s take a look at Botox up against my favorite non-invasive skincare routine:
I joined Beautycounter as a Consultant to advocate for more health-protective consumer laws + to take advantage of the 25% product discount.
You get even more of a discount when you buy a full collection, so this set is valued at $424, but as a Consultant I get it for $286.
The collection includes a 60-day supply of morning + evening skincare, where the results start to show in the first 3 days + last indefinitely.
For Botox, on the other hand, the average cost of 1-session is about $550, where the results take about 14-days to see on your skin + last about 3 to 4-months.
Even if I were to get Botox as a “get smoother skin faster” fix, I’d still be responsible for a morning + evening skincare routine, because if you’re not moisturizing those deeper lines, they’ll just come back deeper with a vengeance!
What’s more: Just because that Botox external effect wears off after 4-months doesn’t mean that those neurotoxins aren’t still floating around inside your nervous system after the fact.
Contrary to “word of mouth” reports, there is no true, hard evidence on how well our bodies filter out Botox.
Botox has only been approved for cosmetic purposes for the last 18 years — which makes this product a baby in the medical research world. We just don’t know what we don’t know. There hasn’t been enough time on the books yet.
So, that gives me all the more reason to want to be sure that whatever skincare routine I’m committing to is one that isn’t helping my toxic load earn compound interest over time.
For me, cleaner Botox alternatives are the no-brainer.
Cleaner Botox Alternatives
So, what are the Botox alternatives?
Botox is a one-of-a-kind product + there are no current “natural” injectables, so the safer alternative is to find cleaner high-performance skincare products.
While Beautycounter is my favorite safer skincare + makeup brand, largely in part because they voluntarily ban over 1800 harmful + questionable ingredients, there are other brands on the market with clean ingredients.
I have tried a lot, but admittedly haven’t tried them all, so here’s what I specifically like about Beautycounter’s anti-aging ingredients:
Bakuchiol is nature’s Retinol. It’s native to India + derived from seeds of the plant Psoralea corylifolia, bakuchiol has been used in traditional Chinese + Ayurvedic skincare remedies for centuries.
It has been shown to provide skin-care results that are comparable to retinol—without harmful side effects such as skin irritation + increased sun sensitivity.
So, you’re less likely to burn + cause more of the sun damage you’re likely trying to eradicate in the first place!
Swiss Alpine Rose
Swiss Alpine Rose boosts the skin’s antioxidant defense.
This particular flower is renowned for its remarkable ability to protect itself against dehydration + other environmental stressors at the highest altitudes of the Swiss Alps.
Given that I’m just venturing out to Trader Joe’s or the local library playdate on any given day, I think that Swiss Alps level of protection has me more than covered!
Pregnancy + Breastfeeding Safe
For me, I don’t want anything floating around in my system that could compromise my ability to conceive, carry, birth, or feed a baby.
I take a few conscious liberties myself as an individual adult, but when I’m in that precious motherhood window — like I am right now with my 8-week-old son, KJ — I don’t compromise.
I’ll take the wrinkles. But thanks to Beautycounter working so well for me, I’m glad I don’t have to.
Regardless of what you choose to use cosmetically, well-aging skin starts from the inside out with quality nutrition. And that’s important because they haven’t invented Botox for a wrinkly butt (yet)!
Vitamin C helps to produce collagen, so I load up on citrus fruits, broccoli, cucumbers + bell peppers frequently.
Eating dark, leafy greens like kale + spinach boosts our body’s natural detox abilities, too.
So, while the greens are busy detoxing, I’m keeping an eye on minimizing my sugar intake, eating gluten-free grains + shopping quality organic food labels (if buying anything packaged with a label at all).
Instead of adding toxins in, I focus on removing the toxins that are causing me to age faster in the first place.
When I do this, I’m feeding inflammation in my body less + less.
For those curious about using SPF to prevent sun damage + wrinkles, I wrote about How I Eat My Sunscreen here.
Lifestyle Edits for Young Skin
When I add some basic stretching + exercise to this equation — even just getting out to walk the dogs everyday — I’m naturally increasing my growth hormones, which slows aging down altogether.
Staying hydrated with quality filtered water helps flush out the toxins through our urine.
Keeping stress low + prioritizing sleep (on a silk pillowcase) for at least 8-hours per night gives my body the concentrated time it needs to restore damaged cells + generate new ones.
When it comes to Botox, I think it’s a slippery slope into the world of cosmetic surgery. It’s like the gateway drug. And it makes me think about how I want to spend my older years.
Is it embracing that skin has an important role (just like my pregnant belly) + that proof of a job well-done is that it’s stretched, marked + never quite like what it was before?
Or is it about chasing the next best treatment, keeping score of appointments + Botox membership deals?
What’s going to distract me the most from enjoying my possible future grandchildren, my beach house, my comfortable retirement traveling with the love of my life?
If I were to choose Botox, I’d wonder: what if I have cancerous cells floating around in my body, but the Botox toxin is causing a diversion to make my cells reduce wrinkles instead… then might my body be leaving those cancerous cells unattended way longer than necessary?
What could that mean for my health?
Instead, I’m choosing to wear that proof of a job well-done with the skin that I’m in. And I’m choosing to take care of it from the inside-out, so that any effort I make benefits my entire body, not just a few facial lines.
For me, I want my 30s to be about the start of aging gracefully.
I want to be exceptionally thoughtful about the toxic load I’m putting on my body.
I don’t want accessory or elective toxins floating around my body that could be distracting it from what it needs to do in order to keep me healthy. And I don’t want to compound that physical stress with the emotional stress of worrying about all those what if’s either.
Did you know that your entire body regenerates every 7 years?
Your cells are all newly replaced with fresh ones over the course of 7 years, so the person you were 7 years ago, is actually not the person you are today. And that is most certainly the same for your skin.
You can 100% edit your skin cells — and your entire body — through your diet, lifestyle edits + cleaner, safer skincare.
So, tell me: what do you want to know about safer skincare?
Share your questions + experiences in the comments below.