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ALTERNATIVES TO BOTOX

By Jenna Beem, L.Ac &    |   Dr. Lillian Lee, PhD., L.Ac

Here are some of the more commonly used facial rejuvenation procedures:

BOTOX

Botox is derived from the botulism neurotoxin. It is used in small, non-lethal doses. The neurotoxin it used to reduce wrinkles and expression lines by paralyzing the muscle below the wrinkle. This works to reduce or eliminate the wrinkle at the same time as minimizing the ability to express emotions fully on the face. As the Botox wears off, one must continue with treatments indefinitely to retain the results.

DERMAL FILLERS

As we age we lose facial volume and collagen. Dermal fillers, also known as cosmetic fillers or soft tissue fillers, are a non-surgical injectable treatment. These fillers are either naturally derived or synthetic. They're injected underneath the skin to help diminish facial lines, restore volume and fullness in the face.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), dermal fillers are the most common non-surgical procedure after BOTOX, and, like BOTOX, are used as part of an ongoing anti-aging maintenance routine.

There are many different types of dermal fillers available and the following table is a summary of those most commonly used fillers.

TOPICAL PROCEDURES

There are many systems out there to stimulate collagen production and resurface the texture of the skin. Microdermabrasion, laser and topical creams are a few categories available. Important factors to consider when choosing are does the procedure create change at the dermal layer of the skin? Most creams and topical substances will not reach the dermis due to the protective barrier of the epidermis. This skin layer is designed to keep things out. Laser and microdermabrasion techniques have the potential of reaching this level by creating micro traumas to the skin. When the skin’s natural healing mechanism is triggered, the body works to create more collagen and elastin. So the next consideration is how much trauma is necessary to achieve results? What is the length of healing time? What are the side effects? How toxic are the substances? How long do the results last? Is the body healthier as a result of the procedure? To answer these questions fully, ask a qualified licensed provider.

FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE

With facial acupuncture, not only is the quality of your skin improved, your overall health is enhanced. With every facial treatment, your whole body is addressed. This unique property of facial acupuncture separates it from the other options in the market. There are no toxic substances. You will have the ability to express the full range of your emotions on your face. This is important because expressing empathy, and other emotions, is important to your communication with others.  Aside from occasional bruising, the common side effects mostly include health benefits rather than risks. There is no healing or recovery time after the treatments. During the treatment series, you get to live your normal (perhaps more relaxed) life and no one will know you are doing anything to your face. Over the weeks, they may simply notice how great you look but not understand exactly what changed. By the end, many people see significant improvement in their healthy appearance.

Here's a chart on facial acupuncture for comparison to the other procedures. As you can see, the treatments are done in a series. The frequency of treatments matters for the overall effectiveness of the technique. If you choose facial acupuncture, it's important to complete the full series at twice a week through an entire skin cycle (28-40 days). When you do a natural healing technique like acupuncture, you are retraining the body to work in a new pattern. It's like learning a new language. If you study once a month or less, you may learn a few words and phrases but you may never really learn the language. However, if you study frequently over a period of time, the results are usually impressive. The body works the same way. When you do acupuncture treatments twice a week, the body holds these healthy changes far more effectively than if you were treated sporadically. And for something as short-lived as skin cycles, it is especially important to maximize the treatments during this time period for optimal results.

Sources

  1. Bridges, Lillian. Face Reading in Chinese Medicine, 2e. Churchill Livingstone Elesevier Ltd. 2012. Print
  2. Haner, Jean. The Widsom of Your Face: Change Your Life with Chinese Face Reading! Hayhouse Publishig. 2008. Print
  3. Lucus, Martha, P.hD. Mei Zen Facial Acupuncture Class. San Francisco, CA, 2014. Class
  4. Lucus, Martha, PhD. Vanity Calamity Publisher, 2222, Print
  5. Tan, Richard The-Fu. Acupuncture 1, 2, 3. Richard Tan, O.M.D., L.Ac. Publishing. 2007. Print
  6. Wakefield, Mary Elizabeth. Constitutional Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture Class. New York City, NY. 2013. Class
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