Not Botox: Smoothing Away the Wrinkles

by Sue Chung Patient Expert

Let's start be agreeing that wrinkles aren't necessarily "bad." I loved my grandmother's wrinkles. I loved how the lines etched into her face showed off the depth of her life's experiences. A few wrinkles for each of her five children, another few for each of her twelve grandchildren.

However, when wrinkles begin showing up prematurely due to sun damage, it seems less like a badge of honor and more like a reminder of our poor sun protection choices.

With the advent of Botox and other forms of cosmetic surgery, we can now choose to live without wrinkles, but do we really want 100% wrinkle-free lives?

Botox costs anywhere from $200-$300 per injection and must be repeated every six months. In addition, I've met Botox users face-to-face. They do boast smooth foreheads, but remain, well, expressionless. When used correctly and applied by a talented dermatologist, Botox users don't always look "frozen." But try having a long conversation with someone who cannot lift her eyebrows in surprise or furrow her forehead in concern.

So if we choose not to use Botox, are there any topical products that can help improve the appearance of wrinkles while allowing us to maintain our expressions? Most of the anti-wrinkle products on the market today provide only empty promises. Creams cannot completely erase your wrinkles. But while they can't take you back ten years, a few products can temporarily reduce the prominence of your wrinkles.

The Alternatives

Freeze 24/7's Anti-Wrinkle Cream is not only a great moisturizer for dry skin but also utilizes gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a substance our bodies release as a muscle relaxant. While it's expensive (a little over $100), consider using it in place of your regular face cream if you're firmly anti-injection. This product impressed 100% of users in a clinical study, all of whom saw a decrease in wrinkles within 10 minutes of application.

Desert Essence, a small company based in California, offers a line of natural products that fight wrinkles. While most are offered in standard moisturizer and cream consistencies, one product provides an interesting alternative to wrinkle creams. Age Reversal Instant Lift & Firm Serum feels like a very thin jelly. When applied directly to bare skin, it tightens and temporarily lessens the appearance of wrinkles. The serum is oil-free and after it dries, you can apply makeup over it.

Finally, Rene Russo (along with a few other celebrities who refuse to admit they have wrinkles) swears by Frownies. At first, the idea of little stick-on paper pads easing wrinkles seemed far-fetched. That is, until I tried them. One side of the triangular pad contains a skin-safe, vegetable-based adhesive. After moistening, apply to skin and sleep on it. By using these pads to hold your muscles in place, you can wake up to a smoother face. The best part? They're inexpensive-about $20 for 144 pads. Just don't forget to peel them off in the morning before stepping outside to get the paper.

Check Dr. Hema's Botox Blog for more information on botox safety and uses.

Sue Chung
Meet Our Writer
Sue Chung

Sue wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Healthy Skin.