By Nancy Crane

Botulinum toxin, known as botox, has become very popular as a quick fix method for reducing wrinkles and renewing the aging face. But, are the potential risks really worth the wrinkle free brow?

Botox does indeed produce results.  An individual getting an injection can expect to have a smooth, wrinkle-free face for about 3 to 6 months.  However, one must remember that Botox, which sounds trendier than the real name—botulinum toxin, is actually a bacteria.  In fact, Botox is derived from Clostridium botulinum, a potent neurotoxin that causes the life threatening paralytic disease botulism.  When a small amount of Botox is injected into a muscle, it essentially blocks nerve signals that tell your muscles to contract.  This temporarily weakens or paralyzes the facial muscles; this paralysis is what causes the skin to appear smoother. 

Used faithfully by the beautiful Queen Cleopatra of ancient Egypt, aloe vera gel is an all-natural anti-wrinkle alternative to the modern Botox injections.  Aloe vera is said to tighten and brighten the skin while actually enhancing collagen production.  Wrinkles are often derived from skin lacking moisture.  Aloe vera is a natural humectant, locking moisture into the skin while supplying vital beauty building nutrients that renew the skin.  The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reports no significant side effects of the topical use of aloe vera; this makes it a nearly risk-free beauty treatment option.  To obtain the greatest benefits from aloe on the skin, break open an aloe vera leaf and squeeze it to extract the gel.  Massage the gel onto your clean face just before bed; leave the gel on until the morning.  As the gel dries, you will feel the skin smooth and tighten—an instant face lift.  Wash clean in the morning.  You can re-apply aloe as a daily moisturizer.  It is okay to use it for a clean, smooth primer prior to makeup application.

Benefits: The Botox injection takes just a few minutes and is less painful and less expensive than plastic surgery options. The results last from 3 to 6 months.

Potential Side Effects:

  • Drooping eyelid
  • Headache
  • Bruising
  • Nausea
  • Facial pain
  • Redness
  • Weakness in facial muscles
  • Reduced blinking

The risks of repeated Botox injections are unknown.

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