While med spas and salons across the country remain shut down, many of us are experiencing some growing pains as we patiently wait until it’s safe to start getting treatments again. We’re waiting to get our nails done, our roots colored, our legs waxed, our pores cleaned out, and our Botox touched up.
Everybody has one beauty treatment that they can’t wait to return to and for many (including me), that treatment is Botox. Since Botox will still be on hold for a while, I wanted to share a viable alternative that I personally have used for treating and preventing wrinkles. It’s a method I used to recommend to my clients long before Botox became popular.
The Simple Alternative to Botox
Meet facial patches. The concept behind these patches is that they block facial movements to train your muscles to make fewer movements over time.
For starters, muscles in the face are no different than muscles in the body. If you are exercising them with movement, they will get stronger. On the forehead, for example, every time you make a facial expression, you are causing these muscles to get stronger, and the stronger they get, the deeper your wrinkles will appear.
When something is adhered to the skin to block facial movements, it sends a signal to your brain that creates biofeedback to tell your muscles to relax. When the muscles relax, it causes atrophy, which over time will lessen their strength. In addition, when you’re regularly wearing the patches, it triggers a nerve pathway to help negate the urge to make certain facial movements. This means that even when you’re not wearing the patch, you will develop a consciousness that allows the nerve and the muscles to slow down their communication. You’re simply training your brain to think in a different way. All of this will help your wrinkles look less noticeable, which is the ultimate goal.
Some patches also offer an occlusive transdermal benefit to create a moister environment within the skin for additional softening of lines and wrinkles.
Even though patches and Botox work entirely differently, patches can, in theory, be considered a natural, needle-free alternative to Botox. Keep in mind that they can’t replace Botox, but they’re a viable substitute. And in these times, we beauty enthusiasts will take what we can get, right? I know I’ve certainly been using them to hold me over until my appointment—whenever that may be.
Can Patches Make Botox Last Longer?
I used facial patches before I started getting Botox around my eye area but until now, it had never really occurred to me to try the two together. I know that patches prevent muscular movement, but I wondered if adhering a patch to the skin could actually extend the effects of Botox.
I spoke with Dr. Shirat Ling, a cosmetic physician at Innate Beauty, who had this to say: “No, patches won’t make Botox last longer because Botox works entirely different than patches. Botox works chemically, whereas patches work more from the brain side. The theory with Botox is that it permanently blocks the existing neuromuscular junction receptors. Muscles like the conversation between the nerve and them, so the nerve grows new buds to re-establish the communication. The patches can keep you from wanting to make that movement so that the muscles are less likely to contract.”
In summary, facial patches can never replace the effects of Botox. That said, every move you make with your face, from smiling to squinting to frowning, puts wear and tear on your skin’s muscles and elasticity, so anything you can do to prevent muscle movement (including wearing facial patches) will certainly help. Consider giving patches a try!
Which Patches to Try
The brand that I have known about for years is Frownies. They are old school and pretty basic, but they do the trick. They have since rebranded their packaging with a fresh update, but I still had one of their old boxes. Sio offers patches with more modern technology, so those are worth checking out, too.
What Can I Do to Prevent Wrinkles From a Skincare Standpoint?
Whether or not you get Botox, there are things you can incorporate into your everyday skincare routine to prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Peptides are long or short chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. These send signals to your cells to produce collagen, which helps support the skin. My favorite type of peptide is palmitoyl tripeptide-38 because it is one of the most well-researched. Most peptides also help the skin retain moisture and repair itself. If you want firmer-looking skin, peptides are some of the best active ingredients to use. I recommend using a peptide serum in the evening to help your skin regenerate while you sleep. Peptides are also good ingredients to look for in eye cream.
Retinol is derived vitamin A. It communicates with your cells to affect gene expression and increase collagen production. Retinol is one of the most well-researched anti-aging ingredients available and with continued use, it can dramatically improve the skin’s appearance. It does this by improving fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, large pores, and skin texture. This magic ingredient is the ‘go-to’ for preventative visible aging and can deliver incredible smoothing and resurfacing results, as long as it’s used consistently and correctly.
Want to look 24% younger? Hands down, sunscreen is the very best topical anti-aging product on the planet. The rays given off from the sun are the number one reason why the skin ages visibly. It’s not due to smoking or genetics and believe it or not, it’s not even the passage of time. The sun will always be your skin’s worst enemy so you must wear it every single day, rain or shine, inside or out. And be sure to apply it generously. A thin layer won’t do the trick.
When it Comes to Wrinkle Prevention, What Else Can I Do?
Pay attention to how you sleep. After sun exposure, it is thought that the second cause of wrinkle formation on the skin is due to sleeping. Essentially, how your face is positioned on the pillow will have an impact on your skin. Here’s how I sleep on my pillow at night to avoid wrinkles.
If you’re struggling with what to do between now and your next Botox touch-up, I hope you found this post helpful! You might also be interested in the 10 skincare rules I swear by.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”