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Needle-Free Botox? RT001 by Revance, a Gel That Delivers the Effects of Botox Without Injections is Proving Successful.

Updated on July 31, 2013
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May is in her early 40s and is often experimenting with new beauty treatments to counteract the effects of ageing and the Australian sun.

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A topical gel that delivers similar results to Botox injections is proving successful in clinical trials.

Hate your crows feet, but not as much as the thought of someone injecting into the delicate skin around your eyes?

You may be pleased to know that Revance Therapeutics has developed RT001, a gel containing botulinum toxin Type A that penetrates the skin and relaxes the underlying muscles.

Whilst there is a plethora of take-home products on the market that claim to offer Botox-like results, these products do nothing to affect the underlying muscle structure of the face. RT001 combines the botulinum toxin with a proprietary carrier peptide that transports it to the muscles beneath the skin.

Dr. Michael Kane, a consultant for Revance and a New York plastic surgeon, presented the study to an enthusiastic audience at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons' annual conference in September 2011. "This unique, painless product could greatly expand the patient population for wrinkle reduction by offering a highly effective treatment option," he said. ( "New Study Shows Topical Botulinum Toxin Gel Improves Wrinkles" /news-and-resources.printout)

Suffer from Hyperhidrosis and Hate Needles? No Sweat.

Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, affects up to 3% of the world's population, according to Revance's website. This unpleasant condition causes discomfort and embarrassment. However treatment with botulinum toxin can require 40 injections to treat the underarm area alone (ouch!). RT001 is being tested as a topical treatment which could change the lives of hyperhidrosis sufferers. ( Fingers crossed that it is successful!

Will it work?

At the ASPS annual conference Dr. Kane presented the results from Phase 2 testing. It was tested on over 550 people with 89% showing a measurable improvement in static crows feet after four weeks with no significant adverse side affects. The tests show that the results last from three to four months, comparable with documented Botox results.

It has received early critical praise from medical experts. Dr. Alistair Curruthers, a Vancouver-based cosmetic dermatologic surgeon, said at the Hawaii Dermatology Seminar in April. "Their technology enables you to get the neurotoxin across intact skin, which is something I never thought that we would see. But it really works." ( 26th April, 2012)

Jason N.Pozner MD says in "I do not usually get very excited about new technology, but I was very impressed with the early results that were presented....I can say that if it works as well as the early data suggest, this product will be a blockbuster."

Dr. Gary D. Monheit, an investigator of the product and consultant to Revance, says in the same article " I can foresee its usage for things such as fine lines on the lips and eyelids that presently difficult or impossible to treat with injectables."

However, Dr. Fredric Brandt (of Dr. Brandt's skincare range) who has been involved in the testing says "The results are good, but they probably won't be as dramatic as injections." (

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image courtesy of

When and Where Will it be Available?

Only Phase 2 testing has been completed. Phase 3 will require testing RT001 on a much broader sample than previously. Then it has to be approved by the FDA before it can be marketed, produced and distributed in sufficient quantities to satisfy what will no doubt be a very receptive market. So it could still be a few years away.

No one will say yet when it will be available, or how much it will cost. What they will say though is that it will only be available at a qualified practitioner's office. It will require application by a doctor who has an understanding of Botox use and how it will affect the muscles.

"You can't compare RT001 to a cosmetic skin cream," says Dr Kane. "This is a drug, not a take home product. If approved, patients will only be able to undergo the procedure at a physician's office." ( 'New Study Shows Topical Botulinum Toxin Gel Improves Wrinkles')

A doctor will apply the RT001 gel onto the skin, leave it on for around 30 minutes (although the optimal time is still being assessed) before removing the gel with a special cleanser. The customer will walk out with no bruising, no swelling, and no annoying little red dots!

Will it Change the Way You Feel about Botulinum Toxin as a Cosmetic Procedure?

So will people feel differently about Botox-type products once it is available in a gel form? I think many people will. The idea of having injections for the sake of beauty seems wrong to some people. Yet, many of those same people would think nothing of going to a spa for something like a facial. Having a gel smoothed onto your skin, even if it gives long-lasting results like Botox just seems less serious.

In addition to people having Botox injections who may switch to the gel, there are millions - an estimated 10% of the population- of people who are needle-phobic. Dr Kane says "Many patients want the benefits injectible products offer but shy away from needles." ( "New Study Shows Topical Botulinum Toxin Gel Improves Wrinkles" /news-and-resources.printout)

We all use day creams and night creams, serums and masks, so it will be interesting to see whether opponents of Botox may consider RT001.

The Changing Face of Botox

People love to joke about Botox. I think in years gone by, there was the opinion that more was more, and frozen-faced celebrities were becoming all too common.

Fortunately of late, there is a trend towards much more natural results, less Botox being administered to reduce the appearance of static lines, without taking away the ability to create natural facial expressions.

I often read about celebrities who say that whilst they used Botox in the past, they didn't like the way it made their face look. Chances are, they're still using Botox, just in much smaller quantities. Many clinics offer "Baby Botox" a small quantity of botox being injected, which not only gives more natural results, but costs less. My guess is that the results of RT001 will be like a "Baby Botox" treatment - good enough for me!


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