Dermatologist verifies whether viral flaxseed mask is a natural alternative to Botox

Does a natural alternative to Botox exist? While one TikTok creator claims that it does, a dermatologist is saying otherwise.

On Nov. 13, Victoria Benitez (@victoria__benitez), co-founder of the online wellness community BeSpokenSociety, took to TikTok to create what she’s described as “Botox that you make at home” using just flaxseed and water.

To achieve the correct consistency of her DIY facial mask, Benitez thoroughly mixes the two ingredients in a pot. In addition to its use as a mask, she claims that the mixture can be used as a natural shampoo.

“I just can’t fake it how much I love it,” she says while applying the mask to her face and then hair.

Benitez also recommends putting flaxseed in your water to get your intake of dietary fiber (flaxseed is 40% fiber, per a 2023 study published in the National Library of Medicine), in addition to using the excess to make soap and flaxseed bread. Mayo Clinic recommends using ground over whole flaxseed, as it is easier to digest.

Benefits of flaxseed

Flaxseed is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which lubricate the surface cells on your skin. When regularly consumed, per Healthier Steps, flaxseed can aid in the prevention of wrinkles and other signs of premature aging.

The fibrous crop, according to Mayo Clinic, is commonly used to relieve constipation and improve digestive health. Flaxseed can also “help lower total blood cholesterol.”

In a follow-up video posted on Nov. 14, Benitez demonstrated how to make the mask in more detail. She suggests adding more water than flaxseed to get the proper consistency.

What does an expert think about Benitez’s mask?

Dr. Teresa Song, a board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical, spoke to In The Know by Yahoo about whether or not she recommends this at-home flaxseed mask.

“Although the benefits of oral flaxseed have been studied with potential anti-inflammatory properties, topical usage of flaxseed currently does not have substantial supporting scientific evidence,” Song said in an email. “It is also important to note that flaxseed oils are actually very sensitive to heat and are produced by a process called cold pressing. Therefore, it is questionable if the nutrients are preserved in the mask after it has been boiled in hot water for 10 minutes.”

‘The video claims that it has similar effects to botox, which is a false claim…’

While flaxseed masks have been reported to improve skin pores and acne breakouts, such results are currently anecdotal, according to Song.

“The video claims that it has similar effects to botox, which is a false claim as there are no other ingredients on the market that can work as effectively as neuromodulators,” she added. “Neurotoxins are injected into the muscles to relax the movements and improve fine lines. Scientifically speaking, topical creams or masks can not penetrate deep enough to reach that level.”

Benitez’s original video, which got more than 4.8 million views, 566,300 likes and 247,600 saves in just four days of posting, has garnered a ton of attention from curious TikTok users. While some are interested in trying this at-home mask themselves, they wonder if it’s actually effective or if it’s just that Benitez is young.

“The way you just violently start smearing this everywhere kind of scared me but your skin looks amazing sooooo,” @brimariekoz wrote.

“20-40 yr olds thinking they need youth serums is the most disturbing part of being alive today,” @user998825047 also commented.

According to Song, should you choose to create and apply this DIY mask, do so with caution.

“Until further studies evaluating this ingredient topically are available, I would be hesitant to recommend this as a common practice,” she said. “If you do choose to apply this DIY mask, I recommend spot testing to ensure you are not allergic to [or] irritated by the ingredient, as flaxseed may vary by brand, and to wash off the mask after 15 minutes to avoid potential irritations from prolonged exposure.”

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