Here are four beauty alternatives to Botox in time for the 2018 awards season

Dr. Marc Mani, a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon, has developed a technique called MIST (Minimally Invasive Stromal Transfer) that uses an individual’s stem cells to help smooth away wrinkles and other facial lines.


If you’ve noticed in your holiday photos that your face is lacking warmth and expression, it might be time to scale back on those Hollywood red-carpet beauty favorites, a.k.a. Botox injections.

So what’s a person to do to smooth fine lines and wrinkles in time for the Golden Globes and the rest of awards season?

While the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported that 2016 sales of injectables were up 10% over the previous year, alternatives to Botox and other injectable treatments are continuing to pop up in high-end spas and medical beauty clinics in the Los Angeles area.

“I deal with actresses who are petrified of Botox — and with good reason,” said Dr. Marc Mani, a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon. “Botox blunts expression. The idea was to find something that takes care of fine lines without freezing muscles.”

Beauty and cosmetic experts are increasingly mentioning natural alternatives to chemical-laden injectables.

“You want to look naturally youthful,” Mani said. “Injectables look good in a selfie or a movie. But close up, it’s horrible. The face doesn’t move like it’s supposed to.”

Here are four alternatives to Botox, fillers and other injectables.


Dr. Marc Mani created the MIST (short for Minimally Invasive Stromal Transfer) procedure that uses "stem cells under and within the skin."
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

MIST, short for Minimally Invasive Stromal Transfer, is a procedure devised by Mani that involves the pain-free transferring of processed fat cells from the flank area of a patient into the face using three different instruments, each designed to target different skin layers.

“It’s basically injecting stem cells under and within the skin,” Mani said. “It makes fine lines softer, enhances blood supply and over the long term keeps skin healthy.”

The in-office treatment takes a couple of hours. Some patients see a slight redness of the skin, akin to a slight peel, which dissipates in a couple of days. It can take two months for the full effects to be seen as new blood vessels form. Mani advises having the procedure every year unlike most chemical injectables, which have to be repeated every six weeks. “And it’s completely natural because you’re using your own fat,” he said.

Cost: $3,500 and up per visit

How often should you get this treatment? Once a year.

Dr. Marc Mani, 9675 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, (310) 203-0511,

Vampire facial

Nataly Gold, owner of iGlow Med Spa in Beverly Hills, has noticed a spike in demand for her platelet-rich plasma treatment, commonly referred to as a vampire facial. “We take the patient’s blood, spin it in a centrifuge for several minutes to separate the PRP, which is packed with stem cells and growth factors, from the red blood cells,” she said. “PRP is known as the fountain of youth because it gives the skin the building blocks to generate.” Platelet-rich plasma is injected into the face, after which a micro-needling device glides across the skin, causing the stem cells to react and rejuvenate.

The treatment has to be completed three times in an 18-week period, and results are said to be most dramatic after the first 28 days.

“You can’t be allergic to it because it comes from your own body, and it can be done on any skin type or color,” she said.

Cost: $900 to $2,800 per treatment

How often should you get this treatment? Usually you should get three treatments over an 18-month period (with results lasting about a year).

iGlow Med Spa, 9400 Brighton Way, Suite 201, Beverly Hills, (310) 652-0544,

Second Skin

Products from French brand Biologique Recherche are used to create a facial called Second Skin, offered at the Peninsula Spa at the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel.
(The Peninsula Beverly Hills)

Among the more exclusive offerings at the Peninsula Spa at the Peninsula hotel in Beverly Hills, Second Skin uses products from French brand Biologique Recherche and electro-spun hyaluronic acid on custom-cut patches for targeted areas of the face. A dose of Sérum Seconde Peau is massaged into those patches. The result? Almost immediate regeneration.

“It’s very popular because it’s completely different from most facial treatments, and you can see results on a daily basis,” said Sudie Tehrani, lead aesthetician at the Peninsula Spa. “Our clients are not doing a lot of [fillers]. They’re health conscious and don’t want to take the risk of side effects.”

Cost: $445 per treatment

How often should you get this treatment? Whenever your skin looks like it needs a pick-me-up.

The Peninsula Spa at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, 9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 551-2888,


The Beauty Bar Medical Clinic in West Hollywood offers a HydraFacial which promises almost immediate results.
(Beauty Bar Medical Clinic)

The HydraFacial is a top treatment at Beauty Bar Medical Clinic in West Hollywood. The treatment is said to be non-invasive as well as take 30 minutes and get rid of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with a combination of water, vitamins and peptides.

“It shows that you don’t have to have harsh chemicals injected into the body in order to get rid of lines,” said Jeremy Tebbutt, operations manager for the Toronto-based clinic, which opened its first U.S. location in West Hollywood in February. “You get the results of an invasive procedure without the invasiveness.”

An attachment on a machine “sucks the junk out of your face,” he said, while re-introducing nutrients. He added the procedure is especially sought after by celebrities before they hit the red carpet because of the immediacy of the results.

Cost: $175 per treatment

How often should you get this treatment? Whenever your skin looks like it needs a pick-me-up.

Beauty Bar Medical Clinic, 8527 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 694-9841,

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