Dr. Marilyn Merola








Why I’m Okay With Offering Botox and Filler As A Naturopathic Doctor

Aesthetic Medicine

There’s a known stigma around botox and filler. When we hear those two words, most of us immediately think of a celebrity or socialite that went a little overboard with these treatments (like “catwoman” Jocelyn Wildenstein or the Bogdanoff twins). I’ve had patients come to me saying that they’re interested in filler or botox but they’re nervous to get it. They’re afraid of looking like a “Real Housewife of the OC.” There’s this misconception that if someone gets botox or filler that they’ll look fake. It’s a realistic concern given how the aesthetic industry is in this day and age.

There’s actually a term used by Dr. Harris, an aesthetic injector in the UK that I admire and respect, to describe this trend in the aesthetic industry. It’s called “alienization.” It refers to people who get aesthetic procedures done, particularly botulinum toxin A and dermal fillers, that make them look like, well, creatures from another planet. These are aesthetic results that go against the patient’s natural facial anatomy. There are many reasons why this can happen and maybe I’ll dive more into this in another blog post. But for now, just know that even though “alienization” frequently occurs within this industry, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have natural-looking results with botox and filler. It’s 100% possible. And I’m noticing more and more aesthetic injectors who are leaning towards normalization again rather than alienization.

So, why is a naturopathic doctor like myself offering treatments like botox and filler? Here are a few reasons.

  • Form of self-care. A botox or filler appointment is a time that prioritizes you. It’s not selfish to want to look good. Injectables can be life-changing for some people, especially if they have a physical feature that they’ve been insecure about for years. Find the right injector who will work with you to achieve natural-looking results that enhance your beauty rather than alter it, and help you age gracefully.
    • I briefly want to touch upon Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Roughly 75% of patients with BDD will seek treatment with aesthetic procedures. Often times they are never satisfied and continue seeking out more treatments to try to “fix” their appearance or previous procedures done. In this case, aesthetic treatments are not recommended since they can worsen BDD symptoms and have severe consequences. Instead, they should work with a mental healthcare provider who can help them work on self-love and self-acceptance.
  • Better mood and increased confidence. When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good about the way you look, you have more confidence and ambition. Compared to surgery, injectables are a less invasive option to help enhance one’s beauty and ultimately improve mood. For instance, clinical trials have shown that botulinum toxin A is a quick and relatively safe treatment to help reduce depressive symptoms, especially in women. The reason behind this isn’t known for sure, but there are a several theories for why this may help.
  • Clean beauty. I’m very selective with the injectables that I offer at Pure Health in Encinitas and Palm Springs. There are multiple products to choose from if someone wants botox or filler. I personally offer the following products: Xeomin (incobotulinumtoxinA); Radiesse (calcium-based filler), RHA (hyaluronic acid-based filler).
    • Xeomin (pronounced zeo-min) is a type of botox that is uniquely purified to have the accessory proteins removed. My patients have great results with this type of neurmodulator that has lower immunogenicity (meaning less likely to trigger an immune response).
    • Radiesse is made with calcium hydroxylapatite, which is the same mineral found in our teeth and bones. This amazing filler is also known as a biostimulatory filler; it creates a scaffolding structure under the skin and tells your body to make new collagen and elastin.
    • RHA stands for Resilient Hyaluronic Acid. It uses Swiss-innovation and a gentle manufacturing process to create hyaluronic acid that closely mimics the natural HA found in our skin. It’s the only FDA approved dermal filler for dynamic lines (meaning lines that occur with movement). The result is natural-looking both in motion and at rest.

If a patient isn’t quite ready for injectables like botox or filler, then there are other great natural alternatives that can be recommended. My favorite natural aesthetic treatment is microneedling (aka collagen induction therapy) with platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP is taken from your own blood, so it’s the most natural treatment alternative you can try for rejuvenating the skin. While nothing works quite like botox for wrinkles, this can help with fine lines in addition to acne scars, hyperpigmentation, skin laxity, and more.

Until next time beauties!

Dr. Marilyn Merola, ND

Marilyn Merola, ND

If you’re interested in becoming a patient at Pure Health please call our front desk at 760.322.3520 to set up an appointment. I also offer complimentary 15-min aesthetic consultations to answer any questions you might have about the treatments before booking.


4403 Manchester Ave, Suite 107, Encinitas, CA 92024


Thursday & Friday 9:00AM-5:00PM
Saturday 9:00AM-noon

Harris S. Alienization. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2022;10(1):e4025. Published 2022 Jan 12. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000004025

Li Y, Liu T, Luo W. Botulinum Neurotoxin Therapy for Depression: Therapeutic Mechanisms and Future Perspective. Front Psychiatry. 2021;12:584416. Published 2021 Apr 23. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2021.584416

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