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Can any face creams work like Botox?

Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Dermatology

No. If they did, I suppose we'd all be using them. Consider that the neurotoxin botulinum type A (Botox, PureTox, and other new formulations) is injected directly into a muscle to block its nerve receptors and temporarily paralyze it. A topical product has low odds of penetrating to the dermis and zero chance of reaching the muscle. So how can these creams and lotions possibly relax muscle contractions? Many of these Botox-lite products contain a synthetic hexapeptide called Argireline (acetyl hexapeptide-3), which theoretically works by inhibiting neurotransmitters that signal muscles to contract. Another ingredient is GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter found in the body's nervous system. GABA analogs are used in antianxiety medication, and they act in a similar way to Argireline in cosmetic use - as a muscle relaxant. Since GABA can't penetrate the skin, cosmetic chemists add a plant extract to assist it. Even so, it's a tall order for any topical beauty product to inhibit nerve-to-muscle signals in the body.

Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.