‘After the vaccine,people questioned what went in their body’:Botox alternatives on the rise

In a city hooked on looking young,beauty specialists are reporting a rise in the number of people seeking natural anti-wrinkle alternatives to botox treatments.

The move to natural alternatives has seen a boom in treatments such as micro-needling,where a medical-grade pen makes tiny punctures,generating new collagen and smooth skin tissue.

Sabrina is feeling happier with herself now that she’s given up botox.

Sabrina is feeling happier with herself now that she’s given up botox.Louis Douvis

Skin-needling early-adopter Sam Appel,the owner ofThe Skin Bar,said she had seen an increased interest in “non-invasive” alternatives to botox and was now treating more than 100 clients a week for needling alone.

“It’s the ultimate facial,” she tellsThe Sun-Herald.”The market is flooded with options,and after the COVID vaccine came out people really began to question what they were putting in their bodies.

“There’s less risk factors involved with[these types of treatments] than basically any other treatment[when it comes to facial treatments] because you’re not using harsh chemicals,lasers or injectables.”

Publicity executive Sabrina Damiano was introduced to botox in her early 20s while working at a cosmetic clinic. Treated to discount anti-wrinkle procedures,she dabbled with various treatments for a decade.

Now 35,she was moved to stop using botox about 10 months ago,saying social media and COVID played a role in her decision to stop.

“Personally,for me,I found that social media has played a role in stepping away from injectables,” she said.

“Everyone was starting to look the same and,for my personality,I wanted to take a more natural approach.”

In lieu of her yearly botox fix,Sabrina now opts for monthly facials and invests in skincare instead of hundreds of dollars on injectable treatments.

Trends fuelled by social media – such as high cheekbones,lifted brows,contoured faces,chiselled jawlines,and big lips – are on the decline,agrees Kiki Chakra,owner ofChakra Face and Body clinic.

The needling triggers micro-trauma in the skin,stimulating new collagen and elastin,while the heat generated by the radio frequency tightens it.

The needling triggers micro-trauma in the skin,stimulating new collagen and elastin,while the heat generated by the radio frequency tightens it.iStock

“I’ve got a couple of clients,myself included,that have had their filler dissolved. We’re seeing people wanting to start fresh. The most common thing that I hear from clients is they want to leave the house with no make-up and feel confident,” she said.

“Everyone’s sort of taking a lot more of a natural approach to beauty. We’re seeing people forgoing injectables completely or getting a slight tweak.”

Chakra said her clients were asking for a needling treatment called morpheus8,which uses micro-needles to go up to 8mm deep under the skin to emit radio frequency energy.

Dr Jack Zoumaras,chairman of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons NSW chapter,said botox was still popular for wrinkle minimisation but the amount and way people were using it was changing.

“People no longer want frozen faces. They’re wanting more expression,so I believe the amount of usage people are having is certainly on the decline,” he said.

“They want to have botox but not look like they’ve had botox.”

Dr Joseph Hkeik ofAll Saint Clinic has seen cosmetic trends come and go since opening his clinic 23 years ago and agreed that healthy skin is “in” right now.

He said mesotherapy was becoming extremely popular – where vitamins and other ingredients are injected directly into the skin.

“Our clients find that there is nothing more efficacious or satisfying than ‘baby botox’,as it is often referred to,to effectively address wrinkles and even open up eyes to give a more youthful look,whilst also ensuring that the results are naturally beautiful,” he said.

“With treatments like needling,for example,you can improve the skin’s overall health but not eradicate wrinkles.”

Plastic surgeonDr Johnny Kwei,a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons,said he did not see a change in the use of botox.

“Whether it’s injectables or collagen supplements,people are questioning what are in these products,” he said.

“When it comes to skin health,implementing sunscreen will never go out of fashion.” he adds.

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Lucy Manly is a reporter and gossip columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald.

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