Retinol or Botox: Read this Before You Choose!

Retinol or Botox: Read this Before You Choose!

So, you're probably researching the best ways to either smoothen your wrinkles or just look and feel younger.  This can include, revamping your skincare routine, to finding something better than you are currently using now.  Nonetheless, finding the perfect skincare routine, is an endless journey.  As such, we'll painlessly guide you to making the best decision.

Retinol or Botox: What's the difference?

You probably heard of both retinol and botox from various sources. While both retinol and botox may have similar results in the end, the way it is accomplished are completely different. Retinol is a well regarded skincare ingredient, which is a derivative of Vitamin A. It targets on a cellular level. It has many skin benefits and its non invasive properties makes it a gold standard for many dermatologists and estheticians. It can be added into various form, such as gels, lotions, creams, ointments, and serums. Nonetheless, it is a well rounded cosmetic retinoid for your anti aging needs. While, Botox targets nerves, where it clocks the signals from contracting muscles from moving. It was first FDA approved in 1989, and again in 2002. It is well regarded for its face smoothening properties, and it can also be used for medical issues, such as temporarily relieving tight muscle contractions.  This injection can be just the thing if you have the need. 


How long does botox last?

Botox can last for 3 to 4 months, however, your mileage may vary. In reality, try a target for 2 to 6 months. However, there are ways to get the most out of the treatment.  As some may have experienced, maintaining your skin routine, and keeping it in tip top shape as if you did not have botox is a must. As such, Botox is not a set it forget it solution. Moisturize, hydrate, and apply sunscreen periodically. Finally, don't smoke for at least two weeks before any Botox injections.  

How much is botox?

This really depends on where you live, or where you want to get it done, as well as the MSRP of per unit cost of Botox. But, as the time this blog was written or updated, it is around $300-$ 600.

Is botox safe?

Botox, a.k.a. Botulinum toxin A is produced from Clostridium botulinum, as the name implies, is a natural neurotoxin, mind you, it is produced in a lab, where it is diluted and sterilized from the botulinum toxins. While, botulism is also called the miracle poison, it is still a poison, and long term effects have yet to be fully understood.  In short term, misuse or incorrect injections can cause a few non fatal issues, such as, "pain, hematoma, ecchymosis, and bruising may also occur in the upper and lower face and at extrafacial sites" However, these can be treated.  Other possible side effects may include droopy eye. But, otherwise, it is safe. 

Furthermore, there was a study conducted in 2020 where they analyzed the top 15 side effects reported for these Botox brands, Botox/Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, and Xeomin1 extracted through the Food and Drug Administration's Adverse Event Report System Database. With at least one brand mentioned, having clinical significance or insignificant: eyelid/eyebrow ptosis, asthenia, muscular weakness, facial paresis, dysphagia, botulism, and death. Stating that this was the first study to analyze this type of information. 

Can botox cause cancer?

It seems unlikely. As the National Capital Poison Center states that "This is the same toxin that causes botulism, but these products contain much less of the toxin than is needed to cause disease in humans." Furthermore, Dr. Sumeet Jindal says, that there is no evidence as of yet that proves that Botox can cause cancer.  

Does botox hurt?

It should not, but some of the side effects listed above are linked to botox.  But it seems that it is rare.

It should not, but some of the side effects listed above are linked to botox.  But it seems that it is rare.

While, Botox works immediately, to see results will take longer.  


What does retinol do?

Retinol works a bit differently compared the Botox, it stimulates the production of collagen and accelerates cell turnover.  It also is less invasive than Botox, however, it does take longer to see results.  As there are different grades of retinoids, which retinol is apart of, it is best to understand each type before application.  For example, prescription tretinoin is a lot stronger than retinol.  As this is stronger, it may cause further irritation to your skin.  Since retinol targets at a cellular level rather than at your nerves, it does not effect facial muscles, like botox.  But this doesn't mean that it doesn't have side effects that do cause muscular pain. Rather than completely removing the wrinkles, retinol helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles.  While Botox should be performed by a medical professional, retinol treatment can easily be applied at home. 

Can I use retinol after dermaplaning?

The simple answer is, we don't recommend using retinols or retinoids after dermaplaning. But, let me explain why.  During the derma planing procedure your old or top layer skin is removed.  On the other hand, while applying retinol topically, it sheds the top layer of skin so that new skin can replace it.   With that being said, it is different from removing dead skin cells.  This is not like adding Salicylic acid which actively removes the dead skin cells and cleans the pores out.  Talking about salicylic acids, should you use it with retinols?

Can I use salicylic acid with retinol?

Absolutely, you can use salicylic acid alongside retinol, but it's crucial to proceed with caution and moderation. Both salicylic acid and retinol are potent ingredients known for their effectiveness in skincare, but they also have the potential to cause irritation, especially when used together. To incorporate them into your skincare routine safely, start by using them on alternate nights to avoid overwhelming your skin. Additionally, consider introducing them gradually, beginning with a lower concentration of each product and then gradually increasing as your skin adjusts. 

Remember, skincare is not one-size-fits-all, so what works for one person may not work for another. It's essential to listen to your skin and adjust your routine accordingly. If you're uncertain about how to incorporate these ingredients into your regimen, consulting a dermatologist or skincare professional can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific skin concerns and needs. By proceeding gradually and paying attention to how your skin responds, you can harness the benefits of both salicylic acid and retinol while minimizing the risk of irritation and maximizing their effectiveness in improving your skin's overall health and appearance.

Is bha a retinol?

No! Retinol is a retinoid. You should not use BHA together with retinol. If it isn't already mixed in together! As mentions above, BHA does not work well with salicylic acid, a form a BHA.  It can cause further irritation, and distress on your skin.  

Can retinol cause dark spots?

The answer is not quite as simple as a yes or no.  While, retinol is known to reduce hyperpigmentation, it is also known to turn your skin more sensitive to UV rays.  That is why you should add your retinol into your night time skincare routine.  But, there is another reason why you should add it to your night time skin routine, and that is because your skin has its own time to recover a.k.a. your circadian rhythm at work!  

Melatonin activates and says let's get. o bed already at night, and our HGH (the human growth hormone) kicks in and repairs and generates more new cells.  "Studies have revealed that the maximum amount of HGH is released at midnight during 10-12 pm" But, hey doesn't it make more sense to give our HGH a little helping hand in its recovery period?  Well, vitamins such as A,B, and C are essential.  And what is retinol but a derivative of Vitamin A!  Retinol has antioxidants that can help boost the recovery period, as well as, super charging the cell turnover, it can actually speed up the process of decreasing or removing hyperpigmentation.  

Key Insights:

All in all, if you choose to go with Botox, it isn't a one or the other, but rather they can work as a complimentary team, as they do different things.  But, retinol is a cost effective and can handle fine line and wrinkles. As, you still need to maintain your skincare routine, no matter what.  


1. Ahsanuddin, S., Roy, S., Nasser, W. et al. Adverse Events Associated With Botox as Reported in a Food and Drug Administration Database. Aesth Plast Surg 45, 1201–1209 (2021).