‘Organic Botox’ Is Not the Same as Botox
Surely on our list of overused buzzwords for 2015 was “detox,” followed swiftly thereafter by “organic” “Clean eating” and “decluttering” which also rank highly in our newly curated lexicon for embracing virtuous living. “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” starlet and cover star extraordinaire, Kim Kardashian made headlines when she bought rights to a product called Biotulin, heralded “organic Botox.” It’s a cream she says yields the same results as the neurotoxin that addresses wrinkles and fine lines. It sounds fascinating, but does it actually work? Here, we talked to board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Mark Jewell about whether this “magic” cream should be given the same attention as we give to, say, unicorns.
Is there any possible way “organic Botox” can work comparably to Botox (Botulinum Toxin)? Biotulin incorporates a type of herbal local anesthetic, Spilanthol, extracted from the plant Acmella oleracea, which goes by the scientific name Paracress, explains Dr. Jewell. Botox, on the other hand, is a neurotoxin that inhibits muscular contraction and relaxes wrinkles for approximately 3 months. As to whether Biotulin’s active ingredient (spilanthol) could have any effect on the skin, Dr. Jewell points out that “this has not been characterized from a scientific perspective.”
Creams yielding the same results as that of a neurotoxin does indeed sound like a phenomenon that should be filed under marketing copy that’s too good to be true. Fun fact: A well-known beauty brand was eventually stopped legally from using the phrase “Better than Botox?” even with the question mark because it implied that it was, despite the noncommittal punctuation. So, the question is, can a cream even penetrate the skin in the same manner as a neurotoxin that’s injected? “Spilanthol may penetrate the skin and act as a local anesthetic,” Dr. Jewell explains. “The use of hyaluronic acid may increase skin moisture transiently.” So the moisture content of the skin can be upped, but muscular contractions and wrinkles will not reap the same long-term benefits of Botox or one of its competitors.
Another concern is just how cautious you should be when testing out this topical “Botox.” As for side effects, Dr. Jewell notes that Biotulin is a cosmeceutical and there is little known about its effectiveness other than the claims made on their web site. “There is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence to substantiate claims,” he cautions. This item is too new to be validated by clinical studies and tests.
So despite the mandate of Kim Kardashian being what it is in our (pop) culture milieu and the prevalence of turning to natural items for all of our beauty needs, don’t give up on your neurotoxins just yet in favor of a new organic cream. The reality-show sensation is known for her age-defying youthfulness, but it’s not likely that these effects are linked to this cream as the sole cause.
Perhaps we’ll make technological advancements making these claims of “organic Botox” a reality in the future, but alas, like flying cars, and a better dating strategy than online and swiping apps, we’re just not there yet. Here’s to hoping 2016 brings a bevy of over-the-counter beauty developments. And in the meantime, there’s Botox. To learn more about botulinum toxin, visit the procedure page