Comparing Botox® and Other Popular Wrinkle Reduction Treatments
As we age, our skin weakens and loses some of its elasticity, leading to wrinkles. There’s nothing wrong with having wrinkles, but some people would rather retain their smooth, youthful-looking skin. While we can’t control time, we can control some of its effects on our skin. Botox® is perhaps one of the most well-known wrinkle reduction treatments on the market, but it’s not the only one. There are in fact several ways to prevent the formation of wrinkles and reduce those that are already present. Let’s explore and compare each of these wrinkle reducing treatments and methods.
Botox is a popular branded cosmetic treatment derived from the neurotoxin botulinum toxin (BTX). The substance is delivered via injection into one’s facial muscles. It may seem odd that a toxin could be used to one’s benefit. Indeed, BTX can be deadly and cause a severe form of food poisoning known as botulism. But in small amounts and with proper administration, BTX is safe and quite effective against wrinkles.
A Botox® injection paralyzes targeted nerves in the face. When the nerves can’t send signals to the facial muscles, these muscles remain relaxed. This helps prevent lines and wrinkles from forming and can greatly reduce the appearance of forehead lines, frown lines, and “crow’s feet” lines around the eyes. The results of Botox usually only last a few months, so ongoing treatments are required.
Not everyone can afford Botox, and some might be turned off by the rare but potential risks and side effects like fever or botulism-like symptoms. The good news is that there are other ways to reduce wrinkles.
Retinoids are versatile drugs that can be used specifically to fight wrinkles or to keep the skin healthy in general. These topical or oral medications speed up skin cell growth and maintain the structure of collagen, the substance that keeps skin elastic and youthful. Because retinoids promote overall skin health, they can also treat acne and lighten pigmented spots and scars. Retinoids can be purchased over the counter or prescribed by a dermatologist. Prescription retinoids tend to be much more potent than non-prescription types.
When our bodies slow down collagen production, our skin loses some of its structure. One of the ways to lift our skin back up is to reinvigorate collagen production. There are different ways to achieve this, and a chemical peel treatment is one of them. Chemical peels are rubbed on the face, containing various acids that gradually peel away the upper layers of skin. In an attempt to heal itself, the body will start producing more collagen, revealing a new layer of younger, smoother, brighter skin. Some pain and discomfort may be associated with chemical peels, but this is largely a safe and low-risk procedure.
Light energy from lasers can also stimulate collagen production. Similar to chemical peels, laser therapies like Fraxel Re:store target older, damaged skin cells and nudge new cells to grow in their place. These therapies have been successful not only in wrinkle reduction, but also for clearing up acne scars, reducing pigmentation and melasma, and more.
Microdermabrasion is a relatively simple and safe procedure that involves scrubbing away the outer layers of skin with a rough material. As the fine texture rubs against the skin, the dead skin cells loosen and get sucked up by a small vacuum. Microdermabrasion can help mitigate wrinkles and fine facial lines as well as acne scars, stretch marks, age spots, uneven skin tone, and more.
Dermal fillers (also known as hyaluronic acid fillers or wrinkle fillers) are injected into the facial tissue, specifically the dermis, which is the middle layer of skin. Unlike Botox injections, however, these fillers do not affect one’s nerves or muscles. Instead, they immediately plump up the skin by restoring volume and hydration to the dermis. While results are fast and effective, they may only last 6 months to a year, so multiple treatments are necessary to maintain full, youthful skin.
Other Ways to Mitigate Wrinkles
In addition to the wrinkle reduction treatments outlined above, there are other ways to take care of your skin and overall health that will keep wrinkles at bay. Here are some noteworthy tips:
- Use dermatologist-recommended moisturizers for your skin to keep it hydrated
- Get your fill of antioxidants (vitamins C, A, E, etc.) to keep your skin healthy and reduce inflammation
- Avoid excessive sun exposure
- Quit smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough proper sleep
At Southeast Dermatology Specialists, our goal is to help you live confidently in your own skin. Reducing wrinkles is just one part of that process. Contact us to learn more about our services, providers, and to get more advice on wrinkle reduction.