Like Botox, but without the injections

There are many non-invasive alternatives to Botox.

There are many non-invasive alternatives to Botox. Photo: Getty

Bye bye Botox. Anti-ageing alternatives are on the rise and finding favour with Australians who want to avoid injectables.

Once used as a purely medical intervention, Botox was approved for cosmetic use in Australia in 2002.

At first it was just for the rich and famous, but these days it’s common to see Botox on offer in clinics at suburban shopping centres.

However, there are many who draw the line at injectables and are trying to delay the effects of ageing with less-invasive remedies.

Here we look at the Botox alternatives that are having a moment.

Radiofrequency therapy

Also called radiofrequency skin tightening, radiofrequency therapy is a procedure that tightens the skin.

Radiofrequency waves are a form of radiation, which is used to heat the deep layer of skin called the dermis.

This non-surgical method stimulates the production of collagen, which gives skin its firmness.

Dr Joe Kosterich

Skincare specialist Melanie Grant said radiofrequency therapy helps make the skin’s surface plumper.

“Some of my go-tos for more significant laxity are radiofrequency skin tightening that heats the deep dermis to contract tissue and rapidly produce collagen and PicoWay and SRA lasers that both stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis in the skin while also addressing pigment and devitalisation,” she said.

Facial acupuncture

Acupuncture is traditionally used to treat pain through the insertion of fine needles into specific areas of the body.

In much the same way, the traditional Chinese medicine is used on people’s faces to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin.

The thin needles also stimulate blood flow to the face to promote a healthy complexion and help reduce other skin issues such as rosacea and eczema.

GP Joe Kosterich said facial acupuncture was much less invasive than other treatments.

“It’s another one of these treatments where the worst-case scenario is that you find it doesn’t do a lot and you don’t do it again, but there’s not really much downside,” he said.


Microneedling, also called collagen induction therapy, involves using tiny needles making shallow punctures into the skin.

The treatment triggers the body’s natural healing process, including a rise in the production of collagen and elastin.

Skincare specialist Melanie Grant

“Collagen induction therapy is another great option for those wishing to pad and refine the skin, particularly where scarring or deeper set lines are present,” Ms Grant said.

“Gentle peels coupled with sonophoresis hydration infusions are a great alternative for those needing an instant boost to really brighten, refine and quench and lift the complexion.”

LED light therapy

Penetrating the skin at a deeper level, LED light is said to improve tone and texture.

But you don’t have to go to a beauty salon for this treatment – LED masks are widely available in beauty stores and online.

Ms Grant said LED light therapy is a favourite treatment for revitalising, firming and strengthening skin.

“I’ve been working with it in each of my studios for over a decade and am still in awe of the results it’s capable of, especially in the way of reducing inflammation, promoting healing and barrier repair, boosting circulation, elastin and collagen,” she said.

“The best part is that there’s no associated downtime and the results are cumulative, so the more the merrier.”

Toning devices

Toning devices, also called microcurrent or ultrasonic devices, use microcurrents to massage the skin with the aim of toning and tightening facial muscles.

Some devices also combine red light therapy, which penetrates the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines.

And, of course, there’s always the simple measures.

Good nutrition, exercise and sleep go a long way towards healthy looking skin, Dr Kosterich said.

“There’s a lot of work that says regular exercise and a good diet is good for the health of your skin. Your skin is more likely to be ‘glowing’ if you’re getting enough of the antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, you’re on a diet that’s got plenty of fruits and vegetables, doing regular exercise and getting enough sleep,” he said.

“Does that guarantee you’re not getting a wrinkle? No, it doesn’t. But your skin is going to be in better health than if you’re not doing those.”

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