The other day I was talking with one of my pregnant friends who told me that she had to stop her Botox injection because of her pregnancy. I have never done Botox myself, however I was very curious about the alternatives so I asked my good friend– as well as facialist–Nachi Kanemaru Glick about some of the alternatives to Botox. A bit about Nachi: she’s been an aesthetician since 1995 and in 2001, she left Japan and moved to New York. In 2008, after working at several spas, Nachi started her own practice, Mist Beauty. In addition to running her business, she dedicates most of her time to raising her 1 year old daughter, Zoë. Here is what she had to say:

Most of us love our beauty rituals, whether getting our hair and nails done, laser treatments, facial treatments, or even injections.  But then comes a time–a wonderful time in many of our lives–where we shift gears and decide to start a family. The time from pregnancy through raising an infant can be such a beautiful period in a woman’s life. Yet it can also complicate those rituals that make us feel beautiful and glowing, and maintaining them can start to feel like an obstacle course. Avoid these products because of the chemicals, and avoid these treatments because the machines are not safe. What are we to do instead?  Do we let ourselves go for a few years?  Do we really have to forget about beauty?

One such treatment many fear they will have to forego when they become pregnant is Botox injections. Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding can be quite stressful and tiring, with more stress and less sleep becoming a recipe for more wrinkles. Women who become pregnant and who use Botox to fight off wrinkles might wonder what, if anything, they can do to keep frown lines and crow’s feet away while their go-to treatment is off-limits. Fortunately, there are alternatives that we can rely on to ward off unwanted lines during the pregnancy and breastfeeding period.  To understand those alternatives it’s useful to understand how Botox works.

Botox, the trade name for the neurotoxin botulinum toxin A, made its way into the beauty world in a very indirect manner. Botox works by paralyzing muscles, and as such it was initially used to fight off muscle spasms. Eventually it was realized that Botox’s effect on muscles could be utilized to temporarily make wrinkles go away. Basically, the muscles where Botox is injected become paralyzed and can no longer “scrunch up.”  Again, this is only a temporary effect and typically lasts from 3 to 6 months, at which point the injection needs to be repeated. The pitfall is that due to the lack of research done on the topic, most dermatologists tend to err of the side of safety and recommend against Botox injections during pregnancy. The same cautious approach is recommended while breastfeeding, as it is unclear if Botox will make its way into the breast milk.

So what are the alternatives?  There are several off-the-shelf products that will help you maintain wrinkle-free skin. However, being a bit of a do-it-yourself girl, and also being quite attached to the products I already have and use, I am a firm believer in the “add-in” approach. The cosmetic ingredient Argireline is sometimes referred to as the “Natural Botox.” Many of the new anti-wrinkle products on the market take advantage of this additive ingredient, as it has the same function as the botulinum toxin. Argireline is of plant-based origin, and even has a biochemical relation to Botox.  It works to reduce fine lines and wrinkles up to 27%. Another cosmetic ingredient that can help ward off expression wrinkles is Leuphasyl. Leuphasyl works by affecting the nerve cells in the treated area, and as such, muscle contraction is relaxed. This ingredient is known to work best when combined with Argireline.

If you are a DIY type like me, these ingredients can be ordered and then easily be mixed into your current facial skin cream or lotion.  However some people may find the act of self-mixing a bit intimidating, so off-the-shelf products are available that already contain one or both of the ingredients. Dr. Ci:Labo 3D-Deep Botolium Premium Lift is a wonderful skincare product that utilizes both Argireline and Leuphasyl. BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Lift is another Argireline product I would recommend. Finally, b.Glen Age Wrinkle Cream is also very effective–it contains Argireline. All these products are recommended for daily application in both the morning and evening. These products are safe for the entire face, or can just be applied to problem areas.

Whether you go the mix-it-yourself route or try one of the products I’ve mentioned, there are pregnancy and breastfeeding safe alternatives out there. While they may not be as simple as a once every-few-months shot of Botox, they will give you the peace of mind that your little one is safe, and at the same time allow you to stay on top in your battle against wrinkles. Sounds like a win-win!”

Visit Nachi at Mist Beauty (your skin will thank you), and follow her on Instagram.

As always, check with your doctor if you have questions while pregnant or nursing.




Olio Lusso By Rodin



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