- Botox®: the wrinkle relaxer
- Dermal fillers: the volume restorers
- A rundown of key differences between Botox® vs. dermal fillers
- Choosing the right injectable treatment for you
- Botox® and dermal fillers complement each other
In the quest for youthful, rejuvenated skin, Botox® and dermal fillers have emerged as two popular non-surgical cosmetic treatments. Both promise to reduce the signs of aging. However, they work in fundamentally different ways. Understanding the differences between Botox® vs. dermal fillers is crucial for anyone considering these procedures to achieve their desired cosmetic goals.
While reading the information below, remember that both Botox® and dermal filler results are temporary.
Botox®: the wrinkle relaxer
Botox®, short for botulinum toxin, is a neurotoxic protein derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Alternatives on the market include Xeomin™ and Dysport™. These are all adaptations of botulinum toxin type A.
While it might sound intimidating, Botox® has been used safely and effectively in medical and cosmetic procedures for years. In medical aesthetics, it is primarily known for its ability to reduce wrinkles and fine lines caused by muscle movements.
How Botox® works
Botox® works by temporarily blocking nerve signals in the muscles where it’s injected. When these nerve signals are blocked, the muscle is unable to contract fully, leading to a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
This mechanism makes Botox® particularly effective for treating dynamic wrinkles, which are wrinkles that appear or worsen when facial muscles contract, such as those around the eyes (crow’s feet) and between the eyebrows (frown lines).
Botox® results typically last between 3 to 4 months.
Common uses of Botox®
While there are more, below are the most common uses for Botox®:
Botox® can significantly reduce the appearance of vertical lines between the eyebrows, also known as “11 lines” or “frown lines.”
Botox® is highly effective in smoothing out the fine lines that form around the eyes when smiling.
Horizontal lines on the forehead can be softened or eliminated with Botox® injections.
Botox® can be strategically placed to lift the eyebrows, creating a more youthful and alert appearance.
Botox® is also used to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) by blocking the sweat glands’ nerve signals. Common treatment areas for this concern are the palms of hands and feet, and the underarm region.
Dermal fillers: the volume restorers
Dermal fillers, by contrast, are injectable substances that are used to add volume to the face. They fill in areas that have lost volume due to aging or sickness.
Unlike Botox®, which works on muscles, dermal fillers target areas of the face that have lost fat, collagen, or hyaluronic acid.
How dermal fillers work
Dermal fillers are typically made from various substances, with hyaluronic acid being one of the most common.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring sugar molecule in the body that helps retain moisture and maintain skin’s plumpness. It forms as a gel. This gel can be made thicker and stronger, so it lasts longer under the skin, where it is injected. The best hyaluronic acid dermal fillers can last up to 18 months.
Other common substances used for dermal fillers include polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) and poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). These behave differently than hyaluronic acid, but are all biocompatible with our bodies.
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As a whole, when dermal fillers are injected into the skin, they replenish lost volume and stimulate collagen production, resulting in a smoother and more youthful appearance.
Dermal filler results can last anywhere from 6 months to 5 years, depending on the substance being used.
Common uses of dermal fillers
While dermal fillers can be used for variety of purposes, below are some of their most common uses:
Dermal fillers are often used to soften the lines that run from the nose to the corners of the mouth.
These are the lines that extend from the corners of the mouth down to the chin. Dermal fillers can help soften their appearance.
Many people opt for dermal fillers to add volume and definition to their lips, creating a fuller and more youthful look.
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Dermal fillers can add volume to the cheeks, restoring youthful contours and reducing the appearance of sagging.
Dermal fillers can minimize the appearance of dark circles and hollows under the eyes, making you look more refreshed.
Dermal fillers can be used to alter the shape of the nose’s profile. It does this by filling in ‘dips’ in the nose, or adding volume to the tip of the nose. This procedure is called a “non-surgical nose job.”
A rundown of key differences between Botox® vs. dermal fillers
Mechanism of action
Botox® works by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles. Dermal fillers add volume to specific areas of the face by filling in wrinkles and creases.
Botox® is primarily used for dynamic wrinkles caused by muscle contractions.
Dermal fillers address volume loss, facial contour and static wrinkles (those that are present even when the face is at rest).
Duration of results
Botox® results typically last around 3-4 months.
Dermal fillers can last anywhere from 6 months to 5 years, depending on the type of filler used.
Treatment frequency required to maintain results
Botox® treatments require more frequent touch-ups to maintain results, whereas dermal fillers offer longer-lasting effects.
Cost and value
The cost of any injectable treatment will depend on several factors, such as the size of the area being treated, the current condition of one’s skin and the amount of change requested.
In general however, the price per treatment for Botox® can be less than that for dermal fillers. However, Botox® needs to be re-injected more frequently in order to maintain results.
Ultimately, price should not be a factor when deciding on Botox® vs. dermal fillers. It’s best to speak with a professional who can assess your case, and make recommendations for what will work best for you.
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Natural look vs. frozen look
When administered correctly, both Botox® and dermal fillers can provide natural-looking results.
That said, overuse of Botox® can lead to a frozen or unnatural appearance.
In apposition, an overuse of dermal fillers can result in exaggerated features, such as overly large lips that are hard to eat or talk with.
Choosing the right injectable treatment for you
The choice between Botox® and dermal fillers depends on your specific concerns and goals. Keep in mind, they can also be used together (and they often are).
Here are some factors to consider:
Wrinkle type or concern
If you have dynamic wrinkles caused by muscle movements, Botox® may be the better choice.
If you’re dealing with volume loss or static wrinkles, dermal fillers are more suitable. Dermal fillers are also a more common pathway to achieving desired facial contours.
If you prefer a longer-lasting result and are comfortable with less frequent touch-ups, dermal fillers may be preferable.
Your personal preferences, pain tolerance, and desired outcome all play a role in determining which treatment is right for you.
Since this factor is based so much on individual factors, it’s best to speak with a professional.
Seek a doctor with a variety of options, so you know you’re getting what you need, rather than being pushed on one solution they may carry.
Botox® and dermal fillers complement each other
Botox® and dermal fillers are two distinct, but complementary tools in the world of non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
While Botox® is ideal for addressing dynamic wrinkles by temporarily relaxing muscles, dermal fillers excel at restoring lost volume and smoothing out static wrinkles.
Your choice between the two should depend on your unique concerns, goals, and consultation with a skilled practitioner.
Regardless of which option you choose, both Botox® and dermal fillers have the potential to help you achieve a more youthful and refreshed appearance without the need for invasive surgery.
See more on our blog:
- What are facial fillers made of and are they safe?
- What is a Botox® ‘lip flip’ and is it better than lip fillers?
- 12 Surprising places where fillers and Botox® are being injected