Is there really such a thing as Botox in a bottle, and do they work?
With so many anti ageing products going viral on Instagram and TikTok.
Is the holy grail anti-ageing cream that has eluded us for so long now a reality?
With ingredients like snake and bee venom, peptides and stinging nettle.
Can they really deliver that wow, tightened effect?
Or is it just more pseudo-science and unsubstantiated claims by the skincare industry?
For this article, we’re going to dive into all things anti-wrinkle.
Well, assess the value and potency of this new generation of line-busting ingredients.
And determine the low down, the inside scoop, so to speak.
On whether these anti ageing creams match up to Botox.
Anti Ageing Cream
First, a caveat: we appreciate that anti-ageing no longer sits well with many consumers because it’s considered ageist!
The more succinct pro-ageing is acceptable as a selling point.
So, whilst we acknowledge the new terminology such as skin-plumping, anti-wrinkle, and line-reducing.
Just for this article, we will stick to the terminology anti-ageing.
What do we want from anti-ageing ingredients?
- we want to improve our skin texture, smooth out any surface roughness, reverse hyper-pigmentation and dull dark spots,
- tighten and tone loose areas of our skin,
- reverse those pesky expression lines, boot fibroblasts to generate new collagen and elastin
As we age, we all want to restore that youthful glow and improve the areas that differentiate between old and youthful skin.
How do new anti-ageing creams work?
The latest anti-ageing creams use several mechanisms to smooth out fine and wrinkles.
- Some less natural creams help temporarily ‘blur’ out your lines using a ‘Polyfilla’ like a layer of silicones and polymers to smooth and fill lines and pores, making your skin’s surface look flawless.
- Some formulas like betox skin shot contain bee venom and proteins or sugars that form an invisible film that temporarily tightens the skin’s surface, pulling it taut and making lines magically disappear. These tensors have impressive and immediate lifting effects on your skin.
- You can plump out lines with humectants that flood your skin with moisture by attracting and locking water, such as hyaluronic acid, urea, or sodium PCA, into your skin’s layers. When applied regularly, they can help improve your skin’s structure. It is important not to underestimate humectants like those found in our Quench plumping peptide gel, as they offer more than a temporary cosmetic fix.
- Peptides are essential signalling molecules made up of chains of amino acids that inhibit neurotransmitters. Essentially, this means that they can help relax muscle fibres in your skin, preventing the micro-contractions that create the folds that set over time.
Tensors Offer a Temporary Tightening Effect
Temporary tightening ingredients can give dull, lacklustre skin a youthful boost.
Some of these latest-generation tensors turn plant proteins and sugars into polymers that tighten, lift and hold.
The best thing about these tensors is that they go beyond the temporary effect these types of ingredients have always been limited to.
The following ingredients in your anti ageing creams can offer some remarkable temporary results for your skin.
- soy protein
- xanthan gums
- algae extract
- fish collagen
- hydrolysed wheat
- polysaccharides or sugars
- carrageenan, xanthan or agar gum
- fermentation technology
These ingredients create a skin-contracting bio-film to form on your skin.
They can also help restore your skin’s microbiome health, moisturise, and calm your skin while giving it a temporary lift.
The wrinkle-relaxers with toxin-like ingredients
But the question remains: can anti ageing creams offer a botox in a bottle-like effect on your skin?
The tensors we discussed above only offer a temporary fix.
So, we need to focus on the following more expensive neuromodulation ingredients that promise these long-term benefits.
So let’s dive deeper:
Referred to as Syn-Ake (1), this ingredient is a small synthetic peptide that mimics the functionality of the temple viper’s venom.
The molecule is so tiny it can penetrate deeply to relax muscle fibres, often with effects visible in the first few weeks.
It must be blended in the correct concentration and formulation to achieve this effect.
Neuromodulating Bee venom
Our hero ingredient at NC HQ is used in our Betox lifting skin shot.
Betox contains a mix of proteins and other active substances, including apamin, that act as a mild neurotoxin.
The mechanism of action is different from other ‘neuromodulating’ toxins in skincare, as this study (2) suggests.
Bee venom acts by inhibiting the activity of enzymes that participate in skin ageing.
Power Lifting peptides
Some peptides are potent, helping to relax the tissues of your skin to inhibit the expression of wrinkles and fine lines.
This study (3) found that they contract your skin a little, like how Botox stops muscles from moving and creates folds in your overlying skin.
They kick-start all kinds of functions in your skin, like increasing collagen production and transporting nutrients into cells.
When it comes to selecting a formula containing peptides that are neuromodulating and that will help to lift your skin, price is an indication of quality because good quality lab-designed peptides are expensive.
Many brands and products skimp on concentrations, so we recommend becoming your own label detective and check out your ingredients list.
If you find them at the bottom of the list, you’ll know you won’t get the results with that formula.
That’s why so many peptide-based anti-wrinkle products are disappointing; you want to ensure they are close to the top of the INCI list of your chosen product.
DNA age delay skin shot is a formula with a high concentration of peptides to help create that tensor, neuromodulating effect.
When to Use Peptides
Another reason is they are being formulated incorrectly: Peptides can easily be destroyed by your exfoliating acids like AHAs and BHAs, and not many manufacturers seem to understand this.
For this reason, here at the Naked Chemist, we will never recommend combining a peptide and an exfoliating acid.
We also caution against combining peptides and vitamin C.
If you love using exfoliating toners or serums, apply these in the morning and use your peptide at the opposite time of day.
If you’re keen to learn more about peptides, we created a whole article here.
Stinging Nettle Toxin
This is another natural toxin now widely used in skincare and can potentially halt the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres.
However, there is no evidence or publication on nettatoxin, which appears to be a commercially registered claim having a wrinkle-relaxing effect.
As far as we know, nettle has no proteins or peptides.
To conclude. The naked truth
So now we have unpacked all of this. What exactly is the low down?
Is there really such a thing as Botox in the bottle, and do they really work?
When formulated well and in the right quantities, peptides, bee venom and snake venom are the quickest routes to tighter, smoother skin.
But there is a caveat because we always come from a skin science perspective when approaching ingredients and their role on the skin here at NC.
While studies are being carried out with good feedback on these tensor and neuromodulating ingredients to visibly reduce lines and wrinkles when used regularly over long periods.
We believe that, realistically, lines and wrinkles are just one marker of photodamage.
Therefore, the most effective way of fighting ageing and all its many visible signs, including fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, photo ageing, loss of elasticity, and so forth, is with a combined approach.
And it goes without saying you need to be using UV protection. Why? Because robust studies over many years support it.
So, to effectively inhibit your expression lines, we recommend having a multi-pronged approach to fight signs of ageing.
Reducing expression lines and every other sign of ageing is best achieved by making long-lasting, structural changes rather than focusing on just one expression of skin ageing.
This is achieved through, among other things, barrier-repairing agents such as ceramides and collagen boosters such as retinol, specific peptides, snake venom and bee venom.
Do that consistently daily, and your best-looking skin will always follow.
- Cosmetics with snake venom
Cosmetic Applications of Bee Venom
A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study Investigating the Efficacy and Tolerability of a Peptide Serum Targeting Expression Lines