Botox Alternatives: 7 At-Home Wrinkle Treatments That Work

When the Ancient Greek players or members of Shakespeare’s performing troupe noticed a few fine lines or even deeper creases forming along cheeks and on their foreheads, there wasn’t much they could do about it. But in the 21st century, we have options that these actors did not. 

Whether you’re a professional performer or just a regular person, you move your face around a lot. And when you do, your skin moves with it, causing natural creases in the flesh. 

This is a good thing! Your skin is made to be flexible, so you can laugh, smile, talk, and generally live your life to the fullest potential. 

On their own, these small wrinkles aren’t a cause for concern — but when those creases start to linger when you bring your face back to its natural state… that’s when you might start to wonder. 

If you’re tired of wrinkled skin that moves more than you want it to, botox injections might be the solution you’re looking for. But not everyone has access to these treatments. Today, we’ll take an in-depth look at what exactly Botox is and how it works — and how you can achieve the same results with skincare-based Botox alternatives you can do in your own home. 

What Is Botox?

Botox is the brand name of a medication called botulinum toxin , or botulinum toxin type A. While there are other brands of this toxin — Dysport and Xeomin being the most common — Botox is the most popular. 

Botox treatments inject this toxin into the dermis — the lower layer of skin between the outer epidermis layer and the inner layers of fat and muscle. The toxin then works by paralyzing the nerves in this layer of skin, effectively freezing your facial muscles and preventing movement in the treated skin. 

“By using Botox in precise muscle groups, paralysis of the muscle will occur, resulting in muscle tightening that will limit movement. The dermis will tighten with the muscle, resulting in a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles,” notes Johannah Gregg, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner. 

By limiting movement in your face, your skin is no longer able to crease like it normally would when you make various facial expressions. This means that Botox can relax the fine lines and wrinkles that would otherwise appear on your skin when you scrunch your eyebrows or stretch your lips into a smile.

What Are the Downsides of Botox?

While Botox is generally safe to use, it is still an injectable treatment, so it comes with some risks. There are a handful of side effects associated with Botox injections

Pain, Swelling, or Bruising

After receiving your treatment, you may notice some irritation at the injection site. Swelling, bruising, or general pain in the area are all common. This isn’t always a cause for concern — the irritation is just your body’s natural reaction to the injectable treatment. 

This kind of irritation is often short-term and will ease within the first 48 hours after treatment. 

Headaches

You may also experience headaches after your Botox treatment, especially if you’re injecting the botulinum toxin directly into your forehead. While dermatologists aren’t exactly sure what causes these headaches, many believe they happen when certain facial muscles over-contract, working directly against the Botox injection. This side effect is also a short-term one. 

Flu-Like Symptoms

Surprisingly enough, you might feel like you’re coming down with the flu after your Botox treatment. While it’s not out of the question that you’ve caught the illness (though it would be an unlucky coincidence), it’s more likely that this is a side effect of the Botox injection itself. 

Because you’re introducing a new substance — and a toxin, at that — to your body, your immune system might kick into gear to try to protect you from it. When this happens, you can experience the same fatigue, body aches, and chills that are typically associated with the flu. While this is one of the lengthier side effects, it is still generally considered short-term. 

How Can You Address the Appearance of Wrinkles at Home?

There are many reasons you may not want to visit a plastic surgeon or board-certified dermatologist to get rid of your forehead lines and facial wrinkles. Thankfully, you don’t have to. 

While you can’t administer real Botox treatments at home, you can opt for alternative methods from the comfort of your own bathroom. 

Rather than introducing toxins to your skin, you can get the same facelift effect with botox alternatives rooted in the science of skincare. 

But not just any serum or cream will do — it’s all about picking the right active ingredients that will reduce the appearance of fine lines and support your skin’s natural elasticity. We’ve put together the top skincare products you can use to achieve the youthful-looking, healthy skin of your dreams. 

1. Use Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is one of the most popular skincare products for smoothing out facial lines and minimizing the look of wrinkles and creases in the skin. 

Your body naturally makes this acid to keep your skin, eyes, and joints hydrated and functional. It’s what chemists call a humectant — a substance that attracts water to it. In fact, hyaluronic acid can bind up to 1,000 times its weight in water! That makes it one powerful hydrator. 

Not only does this natural moisturizer keep your skin nice and hydrated, but hyaluronic acid also works to keep your skin flexible . This is how it’s able to lift wrinkles and smooth your skin: by allowing your skin to move and bounce back as you work your facial muscles, you keep your skin supple, meaning it won’t linger in those creased positions for long. This trait makes hyaluronic acid one of the top skincare products for people interested in anti-aging effects. 

You can find hyaluronic acid as the star ingredient in the M-61 Hydraboost HA Serum Pads , which aim to firm your complexion and have been shown to provide up to 48 hours of lasting hydration.

2. Support Your Collagen Production

Another great way to maintain your skin’s supple and youthful look is to support your body’s natural collagen production. 

Collagen is a type of protein that provides structure for the connective tissues throughout your body, including your bones and other major organs and tissues. Think of it like the building blocks for your skin: it’s what keeps the different internal layers of your skin strong and protects the blood vessels and skin cells within.

Without collagen, your skin loses this internal support, making it looser and generally weaker. Your skin can start to sag and lose its ability to bounce back — which means you become prone to wrinkles, fine lines, deep creases, and more. 

Unfortunately, this is a natural process in your body. As you age, your cells will start to produce less and less collagen , and the collagen your body does produce will be of a lower quality than when you were younger. That’s why it’s important to stimulate production with collagen skincare supplements

There are many skincare ingredients that support your skin as it makes collagen, including: 

  • Antioxidants, including vitamin A 
  • Niacinamide 
  • Bakuchiol

The M-61 PowerGlow Pro+ Niacinamide+Neuropeptide Cream is a great way to incorporate niacinamide into your routine to brighten your skin — in a clinical study of 30 participants, 100% said skin clarity improved, and 97% said skin looked smoother, more radiant, and more youthful.

3. Use Topical Vitamin C

Another great skincare ingredient to try when looking to reduce the appearance of wrinkles at home is vitamin C. 

Vitamin C and antioxidants like it are some of the best skincare ingredients for boosting the production of collagen in your skin. Remember that collagen is directly responsible for the structure and strength of your skin, so without it, you’re more likely to develop things like forehead lines and frown lines. 

However, using a vitamin C serum can counteract those effects. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, has been proven to stimulate collagen synthesis , especially when applied topically. 

Different from eating an orange or other foods high in the nutrient, when you apply vitamin C directly to the skin , it can absorb into the exact area you want to support. This not only means you’ll see results faster than oral delivery methods, but your skin will receive a higher concentration of vitamin C — so you’ll get even more benefits. 

Incorporate vitamin C into your routine with the M-61 Vitablast C 30% Serum Concentrate , an advanced 30% vitamin C brightening serum treatment.

4. Try Retinol

Like vitamin C, retinol skincare products work hand in hand with collagen to strengthen skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. But unlike vitamin C, which only stimulates the production of new collagen protein strands, retinol also protects against the decay of existing ones

Retinol is a form of vitamin A that supports cell turnover and naturally exfoliates your skin by removing dead skin cells and replacing them with new ones. While cell turnover is great for prompting your body to keep making new collagen proteins, it also works to regulate a type of enzyme called metalloproteinase that naturally degrades your skin’s collagen. By keeping this enzyme at healthy levels, retinol slows the breakdown of collagen in your skin. 

The 111Skin Wrinkle Erasing Retinol Patches are an easy way to help minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles with retinol in your everyday routine. These patches use innovative microcone technology, which is clinically proven to provide 2x the absorption speed and depth of active ingredients of topical skincare.

5. Incorporate Peptides and Ceramides

If you can’t already tell, collagen is the big player when it comes to keeping your skin fresh and wrinkle-free. Another way to support collagen production (and reduce the appearance of wrinkles in the process) is by adding peptides and ceramides to your skincare routine. 

Peptides are short chains of amino acids that are natural skin smoothers. Your body produces these amino acid chains naturally, but many skincare products include them among their ingredients because of their job as messenger molecules. 

Messenger molecules play a key role in keeping all the different cells and substances in your skin in communication with each other. Your skin relies on this communication to produce new compounds, including collagen. 

On the other hand, ceramides are a type of lipid (or fatty acid) that lock in moisture and keep out unwanted impurities by supporting your natural skin barrier. As a part of this bodyguard role, ceramides work alongside antioxidants to fight free radicals in your skin, which, if left unchecked, can break down collagen. 

To experience the benefits of peptides, reach for the PCA Skin ExLinea Pro Peptide Serum , an advanced neuropeptide spot treatment that minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

6. Exfoliate With AHAs and BHAs

We already mentioned how important cell turnover is to smoothing your skin and reducing signs of aging. To get the best results from this wrinkle treatment, it’s important to use the best exfoliants you can. 

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are a favorite when it comes to skin exfoliation. 

Both types of acids work to exfoliate your skin by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells. When skin cells that are no longer healthy cling to the surface of your skin, they can cause an unwanted dry texture — but more than that, they can prevent proper cell turnover. To avoid lingering wrinkles from dead skin cells, try exfoliating your skin with these powerful acids.

The Noble Panacea The Elemental Cleansing Balm and Exfoliating Refiner features AHA and PHA to refine and exfoliate skin for a smooth texture and appearance. 

7. Wear SPF

The last way to avoid wrinkles and keep your skin looking fresh is to protect it from UV radiation — in other words, wear sunscreen. 

Sun exposure can cause all kinds of problems for your skin, including wrinkles and fine lines. These develop because UV radiation can actually damage your individual skin cells , weakening their walls or even killing them immediately. 

Dead or damaged skin cells can’t function properly, meaning they aren’t able to bounce back like healthy skin can. This can cause creases to linger in your skin as you move your face around, contributing to both wrinkles and fine lines. 

Reach for the EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum Facial Sunscreen SPF 46 for effective sun protection that won’t leave a white cast.

The Bottom Line

While Botox is a great option for reducing signs of aging, you don’t always need an injectable treatment to ease your wrinkles and fine lines. The technology behind skincare is more powerful than ever, meaning these products can produce the same results as botulinum toxin. 

If you’re looking to avoid your next trip to the plastic surgeon or just want to support your skin from the comfort of your own home, don’t be afraid to give a skincare-based botox alternative a try. 

Sources:

Botox Injections - Botulinum Toxin | Medline Plus

Botox Injections | Mayo Clinic

3 Short-Term Side Effects of BOTOX | Silver Creek Dentistry

Flu-like symptoms following botulinum toxin therapy | National Library of Medicine   

Hyaluronic Acid: What It Is, Benefits, How To Use & Side Effects | Cleveland Clinic

Collagen: What It Is, Types, Function & Benefits | Cleveland Clinic

Skin collagen through the lifestages: importance for skin health and beauty | Plastic and Aesthetic Research

Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross-linking by normal human fibroblasts | National Library of Medicine

Vitamin C and Skin Health | Linus Pauling Institute

Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments | National Library of Medicine

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs): chemical-biological functions and (Q)SARs | National Library of Medicine

Peptide messenger molecules | Library of National Medicine

Ceramides as Mediators of Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Cardiometabolic Disease | National Library of Medicine

How does the sun and UV cause cancer? | Cancer Research UK