Almost a decade ago, after waking up with two frown lines etched between my brows every morning for months, I knew it was time to give Botox a try, and I’ve been using it ever since. I’m not alone as muscle relaxing injections are one of the most popular non-surgical treatments, with an estimated 900,000 injections being carried out in the UK each year.
Despite this injectable muscle relaxer fast becoming a staple in our beauty regimes, many of you probably have no idea that Botox is actually a brand name. However, since up until now all botulinum toxin (a literal poison that paralyses muscles) brands on the market – Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, Jeuveau – have worked, and performed in much the same way, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were all the same.
How do these muscle relaxants like Botox work?
“Neurotoxin injections are made from a toxin produced by the bacteria clostridium botulinum, and have the ability to weaken nerve signals. As a result, the muscles injected with this toxin can’t contract, which prevents the onset of wrinkles or deepening of existing lines,” explains one of my go-to injectors, Dr Marwa Ali, advanced aesthetic doctor at The Wellness Clinic, Harrods.
I, like most people, started with a small amount between my brows, but over the years I discovered the many off-label (but extremely popular) benefits of botulinum toxin and now I get my jaw, brows, chin, nose, upper lip, and forehead injected with the stuff.
The benefits of Botox
Surprised? Well, not only does it keep my forehead smooth, alongside a daily dose of plumping Vichy Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum, £26, Cult Beauty, but it helps alleviate the stress induced tension in my lower face, with one dose injected into the masseter muscle that runs from each cheekbone to the corner of each side of the jaw.
When injected into the skin rather than the muscle, it blocks neurotransmitters from activating sweat glands, which I very much appreciate as my nose and upper lip can get uncomfortably sweaty. While injecting in and around my brows helps lift my naturally hooded eyes, and deposited in the chin stops it being so animated when I talk, which has meant I have yet to develop a deep crease or permanent dimpling.
“This powerful toxin can treat migraines, enlarged muscles (think over-developed calves and shoulders), sagging necks, downturned mouths, gummy smiles and even raise the tip of the nose,” adds Ali.
Is Daxxify the new and improved Botox?
It typically takes around two weeks for maximum results to kick in with Botox, and the effects last anywhere from two to four months. This leaves devotees like me wishing there was an alternative that worked faster and lasted longer. Cue, Daxxify.
Set to hit our shores this year from the US, the excitement is palpable. This new Botox alternative is FDA-approved (so okayed by the US regulatory body for medicines) for the treatment of frown lines between the brow but like other muscle relaxers it will no doubt be used off-label too. But unlike its peers, it’s formulated without using human serum albumin (a protein derived from blood) to deliver the botulinum toxin to the nerve cells, and utilises peptides instead. This allows the toxin to ‘stick’ to receptors more effectively, which is what makes this muscle relaxant go the distance.
If you metabolise Botox quickly because you have a fast metabolism or an excessively active lifestyle, or like me you’ve been using it for years (the more muscle relaxing injections you have the shorter the effects last), then Daxxify could be for you.
Equally, if you’re booked and busy and two treatments a year appeals more than four – this new generation neurotoxin is worth considering when UK practitioners finally get their hands on it.
How to use Daxxify
I’ll be first in line when Daxxify finally drops over here. However, I should point out that just like the first-gen neurotoxins such as Botox, Daxxify can (when not administered properly), cause droopy eyelids or crooked eyebrows, and this could then last up to three times longer: a major potential drawback.
Plus, if you haven’t ever had a neurotoxin treatment before, I’d advise you start with one that has a shorter lifespan, so you can ensure you like the results and you can get comfortable with your injector and their ‘style’ of injecting.
It’s also worth noting that while the government has pledged to regulate non-surgical cosmetic treatments and start a system of licensing beauty clinics and practitioners, it has yet to announce when this will begin. Meaning any Tom, Dick or Harry can administer botulinum toxin.
“Be sure to seek out a well-trained medical professional who has an in-depth knowledge of facial anatomy and who knows exactly how and where to place neurotoxins to leave you with a fresh, well rested natural look,” urges Ali.
There aren’t any super serums or magic moisturisers that can replicate the muscle-relaxing effects of Daxxify or Botox. But for those who want a needle-free alternative to help smooth the skin and prevent wrinkles these are my picks:
Green People Nordic Roots Truffle Night Cream, £32
Dehydrated skin is almost always littered with fine lines. The trick to keeping those lines at bay is to not only drench skin with hydrating actives like the glycerine and apple cellular water found in this night cream, but to also repair and protect the skins barrier to keep hydration levels where they should be, and this does just that.
Q&A Seaweed Peptide Eye Gel, £6.50
Collagen acts like scaffolding for the face, keeping our skin firm and plump. Like muscle relaxing injections it can stop the skin from sagging, so the more you have the better. Supported by collagen building peptides, this leaves the skin around the eyes firmer and brighter.
Kate Somerville Mega-C 30% Vitamin C Brightening Facial, £62
One thing botulinum toxin users tend to have in common is glowing skin (or at least foreheads), because the smoother the skin, the better light reflects off it. Using vitamin C is a sure-fire way to acquire a glowing complexion sans needle, as it’s notorious for brightening and evening out skin tone. And at 30 per cent potency, it’s little wonder that after using this mask twice, 97 per cent of testers reported their skin had a healthy glow.
Skin + Me Personalised Daily Treatment, £29.99
Prescription-grade retinol is your fastest route to boosting your collagen stores, and the more collagen you have, the less lines and wrinkles you’ll sport. All that stands between you and smoother skin is a five-minute online consultation that allows dermatologists to add a personalised combination of ingredients to your tretinoin-base.