Beauty

The Future of Skincare, Pt.1: No-Needle Botox

From wrinkle-freezing Botox creams to DNA-specific treatments, the new frontier of face savers is jaw-dropping (and sag-lifting!) We've got our crystal ball ready

no needle botox

Despite its wrinkle-killing powers, Botox gets a pretty bad rap. There’s the needle fear factor, as well as, you know, the small but scary possibility of a frozen face. But what if you could get the same instant, youthful results from a pot, not a prick?

California-based Revance Therapeutics is working on a new topical gel that uses the same wrinkle-smoothing agent (botulinum toxin type A) that’s in Botox and Dysport. The challenge? “If you put pure botulinum toxin on top of the skin, nothing happens, because the molecule is too large to make it across the skin barrier,” says Dr. Richard Glogau, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco and lead researcher for the clinical trials. But good news: “Revance came up with a proprietary peptide that can transport the toxin into the dermis and the tissue underneath.”

That means the active ingredient—which must be applied by a doctor for safe, monitored use—can penetrate deep enough to soften crow’s feet (the area for which Revance is pursuing Health Canada and FDA approval). So far, a study involving 270 subjects found that 89 percent saw what is deemed “statistically significant improvement” after one treatment, with smoothness that lasts about four months, similar to injected Botox. And you’ll still be able to look surprised, angry, happy and human, says Dr. Glogau. “It leaves a little more movement. My guess is that it will be used on not only crow’s feet but potentially also the forehead, upper lip and neck, where people are looking for improvement but don’t want a paralyzed look.”

Allergan, the company that makes Botox, has a similar potion of its own in clinical trials. But only Health Canada will decide if and when they will land. Though Revance expects to launch its gel in 2019, competition could speed things up, says Dr. Shannon Humphrey, a Vancouver-based dermatologist. “Consumer interest is high, so it’s a race to the finish line.”

For Now

Related:

The Future of Skincare Pt. 2: DNA Treatments
Real Talk: What’s With Facial Rollers?
I Tried It: Botox For Totally Clueless Beginners