Notox is the New Botox

A new era of face and body procedures is here, without the needles, but with the promise of younger, firmer, and healthier skin.

In the ever-evolving realm of beauty, a quiet revolution is underway—one that promises the skin you want, without needles or knives.

In the hallowed halls of high-end clinics and med-spas, the discerning clientele now seeks the subtle touch of non-invasive, needleless procedures that promise transformative effects similar to their more invasive counterparts.

Botox was the first quick-fix in the look-young department—it helped smoothen lines and wrinkles with comparatively lesser downtime. It quickly achieved cult status, and became the secret weapon for those who seek to defy time. But, it came with a price, aka the frozen face. Then came the era of dermal fillers. Blending artistry and rejuvenation, dermatologists worked their magic in a similar manner as sculptors, by employing hyaluronic acid fillers to contour the face and restore lost volume.

But there always remained an eager audience that wanted more youthful skin without any needles involved. And for those people, there are now options that offer results that might be less dramatic than their invasive counterparts, but still very effective. Say hello to chemical peels, laser treatments, non-surgical fat removal, ultrasound heat energy, and microneedling, among others.

Dr Rashmi Shetty, Cosmetic Dermatologist, Ra Skin & Aesthetics, explains, “The modern approach which prioritises non-surgical methods aims to achieve the best aesthetic results minus extended recovery periods. This approach can be broadly categorised into three main techniques. The first involves the application of various treatments directly onto patients’ faces. The second entails the utilisation of energy-based devices (EBDs) in a medical setting. This includes devices like radiofrequency, focused ultrasound, laser and non-laser energy-based devices, and also ablative lasers that remove layers of skin to promote regeneration.” The third category, however, involves minimally invasive methods, where small needles or injections are used. “This may involve the use of fillers to enhance facial structure, and refine features like the cheeks, or substances like tranexamic acid or Vitamin C to address skin pigmentation. PRP and growth factor concentrates (GFCs) are used to rejuvenate the skin, while they can also be applied to promote hair growth and reduce hair loss. Other options include glycolate for fat reduction and Coolsculpting, a form of cryotherapy that freezes fat cells to break down their structure and reduce fat in a specific area,” Dr Rashmi adds.

According to a report, the non-invasive aesthetic treatment market grew from $49.6 billion in 2022 to $57.27 billion in 2023—growing at an annual rate of 15.5%. This market is expected to grow at 14.7% per year and become an almost $100 billion dollar industry by 2027—and Asia-Pacific is predicted to be leading this movement.

Notox, or needleless Botox, was a breakthrough in non-invasive cosmetic procedures. Research, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology in 2022, examined the efficacy of Notox. This study compared traditional Botox injections with a needleless delivery system and demonstrated similar effectiveness in wrinkle reduction. The study also stated that patients reported reduced discomfort and shorter recovery times with the needleless approach, validating it as a viable, efficacious non-invasive alternative.

While Notox was the name given to non-injectable Botox, it has now become the umbrella term for non-invasive treatments that deliver similar results, and don’t leave you with a frozen face.

The Word. breaks down the various technologies and the best treatments you can consider.

Minimally-Invasive Treatments
If you have been struggling with active acne, acne scars, or wrinkles, ULTIMA facial can help. Dr Kiran Sethi, dermatologist, author, wellness expert, and Director at Isya Aesthetics, explains, “ULTIMA Facial is an advanced microneedling technology, which glides over the skin to create 1,920 micro-channels that allow topical nutrients to penetrate 80 percent deeper into the skin.” This technology is proven to be 104 percent faster than any other microneedling device, and it “treats skin concerns with minimum pain and zero epidermal tearing”. While the ‘micro-injury’ created by the ULTIMA facial triggers a natural repair process, thereby increasing collagen production and skin elasticity, it also leads to deeper and better penetration of products thereafter. According to Dr Kiran, “The ULTIMA facial takes about 30 minutes, and one would require four to six sessions a month to see results like improved texture, lightened scars, fading fine lines, and more.”

For the Stem Cell Facial, on the other hand, “a small graft of tissue is picked from behind the ear hairline as a ‘punch’,” explains Dr Chytra V Anand, dermatologist, cosmetologist, and Founder of Kosmoderma. The tissue is then split into micro-cells to create a solution mix, This mix is filled with stem cells, which is then injected into the face to treat fine lines, boost radiance, minimise pores, and overall skin tightening,” adds Dr Chytra.

This P3 treatment, available at ISAAC Luxe, founded by Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, is a combination of three non-surgical and minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures—including the IPL Therapy, Morpheus 8 (microneedling with RF technology), and PRP Treatment. Designed by Dr Geetika to tackle various skin concerns in a single procedure, the PE Treatment helps “rejuvenate, remodel, and re-furnish the skin”. It smoothens the skin’s tone and texture, and targets signs of ageing. This swift, cosmetically effective treatment, also targets hyperpigmentation, lightens dark patches, treats acne marks, and leaves skin plump and smooth.

The Non-Surgical Fat Reduction Treatments Using Radiofrequency and MicroCurrents

For those who seek a sculpted body without spending hours in the gym, there are plenty of options. TESLA Former – Functional Magnetic Stimulation (FMS), for one, promises a complete transformation. A new frontier in non-invasive body sculpting treatments, TESLA Former uses electromagnetic energy to tone your abs, building your muscles by burning fat. This quick and painless treatment involves placing an applicator on the targeted muscle area, such as thighs, abdomen, arms, or buttocks, and you don’t even need to remove your clothes for it! “The applicator generates intense electromagnetic waves that propagate deep into the body, through your clothes. The magnetic field forces the muscles to contract, leading to a more toned appearance. You can achieve localised fat reduction without even breaking a sweat,” says Dr Jaishree Sharad, author and Medical Director of Skinfiniti Aesthetic & Laser Clinic. Dr Jaishree advises three sessions a week in the first month, followed by two sessions a month for another two months to achieve optimum results.
Many times, during our weight loss journey, we are met with hurdles like loose, sagging skin, even though we have achieved the desired weight goals. That’s where HIFU can help. Dr Geeta Mehra Fazalbhoy, Managing Director & Founder Member of Skin & You Clinic, recommends this procedure for not just an overall sculpted figure, but also to get rid of excess fat around the knees, ‘bra bulge’, and even for a butt ‘lift’. “HIFU is a non-invasive therapy that uses focused ultrasound waves to thermally ablate a portion of tissue–which means it destroys the tissue using intense heat. For instance, for the abdomen region, HIFU’s electrical muscle stimulation system helps contour the abdomen. It doesn’t just melt fat, but also builds muscle at the same time,” Dr Geeta explains.

Emsculpt NEO is another such treatment that delivers quick results—as swiftly as in 30 minutes!—and is preferred by celebrities across the globe. Dr Geetika tells The Word., “Emsculpt NEO is one of the most advanced body contouring treatments available currently as it offers the benefits of two body sculpting procedures in one. It can simultaneously reduce fat and build muscle in one session using High-Intensity Focused Electromagnetic Technology (HIFEM) and Radiofrequency (RF).” The FDA-approved device works by rapidly heating muscles to a high temperature utilising RF technology, thus prepping the muscles for stress. Simultaneously, the HIFEM causes muscles to contract multiple times, resulting in toned muscles and a significant fat reduction. “During the procedure, the fat cells are heated at around 42 °C-43 °C, which leads to ‘apoptosis’, or the controlled death of said fat cells. You may experience powerful muscle contractions and a hot sensation in the treated area. This procedure helps permanently remove fat cells from the body,” adds Dr Geetika.

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Laser and Light Therapies
In the pursuit of luminosity, lasers have emerged as the crown jewels of non-invasive treatments. Harnessing the power of light, these devices bestow upon the skin a radiant glow and a refined texture. From fractional laser resurfacing to non-ablative treatments, the laser luminescence experience is akin to a rejuvenating symphony for the skin—a masterpiece that unfolds without a single needle prick. The AgeLess Red Carpet Glowlift Face Ironing Facial, for instance, is designed by Dr Harshna Bijlani, Medical Head of The AgeLess Clinic, to achieve a flawless face. Combining two coveted technologies—Lumecca and Forma—this facial promises an instant facelift—aka clearer, brighter, firmer skin. All leading dermatologists and cosmetologists offer laser treatments for skin rejuvenation, hair removal, among other cosmetic purposes, these treatments have gained popularity due to zero downtime.

The changing landscape of cosmetic treatments is driven by the shifting preferences of millennials and GenZ, who are now prioritising preventive measures to achieve natural-looking results minus needles and pain.