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Rivkin's RX: Is "Organic Botox" Real?

January 12, 2016

What is “Organic Botox” and Should I Try It?

I recently read that Kim Kardashian bought the rights to distribute a so-called “organic botox” called Biotulin. The company says that Kate Middleton has used it, too. Can I replace regular Botox injections with this gel that’s simply applied to the skin?

Rivkin’s Rx:

This product does include moisturizing ingredients that can plump the skin and make fine lines look a little less noticeable in the short term. But I’m skeptical about the company’s claims that it works like Botox to relax facial expression by simply numbing the skin when applied.

Here’s why: Numbing the skin, muscles or nerves has nothing to do with Botox or the way it works. In fact, Botox and its benefits have nothing to do with the nerves responsible for sensation (like numbing). Instead, Botox works to smooth the appearance of wrinkles by weakening the muscles and the nerves responsible for movement.

When we inject a very small amount of Botox into the skin, we target the specific muscles responsible for movement—like the forehead lines that greatly deepen when we show surprise. Now, most of us over emote, so even after Botox has been injected, we can still express the full spectrum of emotions, from shock to happiness. For four or more months after the treatment, the patient doesn’t move these muscles as much as they normally might, so over time, wrinkles don’t develop as deeply. We have a lot of clinical research and more than a decade of using Botox in the field to show that this works to slow the development of fine lines and wrinkles.

Bottom line? In order for a product to work like Botox—and give skin smoothing results for months—it needs to weaken the muscles, not numb the skin.

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