Dozens of new non-prescription creams are claiming to mimic Botox, while others, housed in syringe-like dispensers, are billed as facial "fillers." While the benefits of these dermal doppelgängers don't come close to their injectable counterparts, they may do something, says Dr. Brandt. Here's what's out there — and what works:
Wrinkle "relaxers." Ingredients like GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and the peptide Argireline (acetyl hexapeptide-3) have wrinkle-softening abilities. It's a cumulative, temporary effect, says Dr. Brandt. They'll never rival Botox in strength. What might: topical Botox. The biotech company Revance Therapeutics has developed a peptide that attaches to a Botox-like toxin and drags it down to where the muscles contract, says Richard Glogau, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco. "You would likely get an application at the doctor's office for results that last one to three months," he says. Until it's available (about two years), look for modest softening of wrinkles from products such as Fusion Beauty LiftFusion Triple Threat Intense Target Magic Wand ($39, Sephora).
Wrinkle "fillers." Instant fillers can smooth skin, but most are little more than glorified moisturizers, Dr. Glogau says. Those with hyaluronic acid don't penetrate to where an injection does, but they do bind water to skin so it looks smoother and plumper for the day. Try Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Filler ($22, drugstores) or Dr. Brandt Lines No More ($55, Sephora). Products with dimethicone, a form of silicone that sits on the surface of skin, literally fill in creases. Like makeup primers, they'll help skin look and feel smoother and more youthful — temporarily. Try Soap & Glory Fill Monty Dab-On Instant Wrinkle Filler ($13, Target).
Originally published on July 23, 2009