Can Any Beauty Treatment Even Come Close To Botox?

Many treatments today claim to be better than Botox. But is that even possible? Skin care experts weigh in.

TikTok influencers love to claim they’ve found an at-home skin care treatment that’s better than Botox in terms of erasing lines and wrinkles. It’s tempting to buy into these “miracle” treatments because Botox is expensive and invasive. Plus, it’s an attractive option for anyone who doesn’t want to inject a neurotoxin into their face.

Some purported Botox alternatives going viral on TikTok, like flaxseed, are low-risk because they are inexpensive and their potential side effects are minimal. Other ones, like LED light therapy, require investing a lot of money even though the results are uncertain.

We asked some top skin care experts whether any at-home treatment could match Botox’s results.

The answer is unequivocal: “No at-home treatments are as effective as Botox,” said Dr. Phyllis Pobee, a cosmetic medicine specialist and medical director of RenewRx, an aesthetic medical clinic, who’s based in Ontario, Canada.

That’s because Botox “temporarily paralyses muscles to reduce wrinkles, which is a specific action not replicated by over-the-counter products,” she explained.

Unless you are holding Botox parties in your living room — which is not advised — “at-home Botox is not really possible,” said Dr. Mary Alice Mina, a dermatologist at Baucom & Mina Derm Surgery in Atlanta.

Even though there’s no over-the-counter replacement for Botox, “there are things you can do to help improve your skin and signs of fine lines and wrinkles” without Botox, said Dr. Nazanin Saedi, a board-certified dermatologist and clinical associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. But don’t expect the same dramatic, long-lasting effects.

We asked the experts to weigh in on a few of the most recent products and treatments that claim to be just as good as Botox. Here’s what they said.


Influencers on TikTok claim that a DIY face mask made out of flaxseed and water makes skin look as good as a Botox treatment.

According to Pobee, “Flaxseed is beneficial for skin health due to its omega-3 fatty acids.” However, she said flaxseed users shouldn’t expect the same results as Botox and that it “may support overall skin health but does not directly affect muscle activity or wrinkles.”

Microcurrent devices

Microcurrent devices such as the NuFace Trinity, Solawave wand, TheraFace Pro and LYMA Laser work by strengthening and toning the skin because they stimulate facial muscles, causing them to contract. Microcurrent devices also boost circulation, which can temporarily improve the appearance of your skin.

“It’s all about working out and defining the muscle. It would take consistent usage to see any results,” Saedi said. While microcurrent devices can help improve your skin’s appearance, don’t expect the same results as Botox.

“Their effects are much subtler and less targeted compared to Botox,” Pobee said.

You also shouldn’t expect any results to last long. Improvements in skin appearance from using microcurrent devices generally only last between 24 and 48 hours. In contrast, Botox treatments usually last between three and four months.

LED light therapy

Spend some time scrolling TikTok and you will probably see someone wearing a full-face mask emitting a glowing red light. These masks look strange and can be pricey, but they do have some benefits.

“LED light therapy can promote collagen production and may improve skin texture and tone,” Pobee said. However, Mina noted that to get these benefits, you have to use powerful lights and have “consistent use daily for many months.”

Still, even the most powerful LED light therapy mask won’t produce the same results as Botox. That’s because LED light therapy does “not immobilise facial muscles,” so “it won’t mimic Botox’s effects on dynamic wrinkles,” Pobee said.

As Saedi noted, even “committed, consistent use” of LED light therapy masks is only likely to see “minimal” improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Facial exercises

There is some evidence that facial exercises, like face yoga, can help you look younger. However, Pobee said that while they “may enhance muscle tone and circulation, facial exercises are unlikely to significantly reduce existing wrinkles or prevent new ones in the same way Botox does.”

Saedi added that those who follow a “committed workout regime” might see some results but they are likely to be “subtle,” unlike the dramatic results seen with Botox.

How long results last is “variable,” Pobee said. She explained that many people who see improvements after trying facial exercises are likely to see those changes fade after just a few hours, while those who are “diligent” about performing facial exercises may get results that last “for a few days to a week.” However, getting those results is “highly dependent on factors like age, skin elasticity and the specific exercises performed,” she added.

Face tape and wrinkle patches

Face tape and wrinkle patches work in two ways. Some pull the skin until it is taut and wrinkles are smoothed out. Others immobilise facial muscles overnight in an attempt to prevent wrinkles from forming.

“These can temporarily smooth out skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but they don’t have the long-term effects of Botox” because “their action is more superficial,” Pobee said.

Saedi added that, along with possibly irritating the skin, the effects of facial taping are lost as soon as the tape is removed. As for wrinkle patches, she said that the benefits for most of them are lost “rapidly” once removed, usually within a matter of hours.

Creams and serums

Influencers claim that various creams and serums offer Botox-like effects, “usually by aiming to boost collagen production or hydration,” Pobee said. While these can benefit skin health, she warned, “They don’t offer the same direct action on muscle activity” as Botox and won’t produce the same effects.

Saedi recommended looking for creams and serums “that deliver hydration and are packed with anti-ageing ingredients such as retinols, vitamin C, peptides and growth factors.”

Nevertheless, she said, “While beneficial for skin health, creams and serums don’t offer the same direct action on muscle activity” as Botox and won’t yield the same results.