Dermal Fillers or BOTOX: Which Is Right for You?


If you’re looking to get rid of wrinkles and lines without surgery, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, about 10 million BOTOX® and filler treatments were performed in 2017 on both women and men. All that demand means you have plenty of options when it comes to selecting the best product for your goals.

But sometimes, all those choices can lead to confusion — especially when it comes to understanding the differences between BOTOX and dermal fillers. After all, they’re pretty similar in lots of ways: Both BOTOX and dermal fillers are used to treat wrinkles, both are injected, both can be administered right in the office (even during your lunch break), and neither BOTOX nor fillers have any downtime — which means you can get back to your normal routine right after your treatment session. So how can you tell which product is right for you?

BOTOX vs. Fillers: What’s the difference?

From a patient perspective, the primary difference between these two types of injectables lies in the type of wrinkles they treat. BOTOX works on so-called dynamic wrinkles — lines and folds that form when you smile, frown, or make another facial expression. When you form an expression, the nerves in your face “talk” to your facial muscles and tell them to contract or relax, depending on the expression you’re making. As your facial muscles contract, they tug on the skin, and lines and wrinkles form as a result. These are dynamic, or movement-related, wrinkles, and that’s the type of wrinkles BOTOX is used to treat.

Dermal fillers are used for static wrinkles — lines and folds that are visible whether or not you’re making an expression. These wrinkles form as a result of sun exposure, age, gravity and even genetics. Plus, fillers can also be used to restore volume in the cheeks and other areas, filling in hollows and even “lifting up” surrounding areas, and some fillers can be used to plump up lips or fill in tiny “pucker” lines that form along the lip edges.

Where they’re used

BOTOX and fillers also tend to be used in different areas of the face. For instance, since BOTOX is used to treat wrinkles associated with facial expressions, it’s primarily used in the upper face to treat crow’s feet (those tiny “crinkle” lines at the corners of your eyes), frown lines between your eyebrows, and forehead lines and folds. Fillers are usually used on the lower part of the face, mostly around your nose, mouth, chin, and the cheek area.

How they work — and how long they last

Knowing where BOTOX and fillers are used and the types of wrinkles they treat is really just about all you need to know when it comes to determining which product is right to help you achieve your goals. But it’s also worth understanding how each product works to smooth out those pesky wrinkles and lines. BOTOX uses a very dilute form of botulinum toxin, a chemical found in nature. The name may be a bit scary, but BOTOX has been safely used for many years to treat dynamic wrinkles — even before it gained FDA approval for wrinkle treatment in 2002, it was successfully and safely being used off-label to treat wrinkles in the upper face. Plus, BOTOX is used in other areas of medicine to treat spasms, tremors, and even excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis).

Fillers use different chemical formulations, depending on the manufacturer and where they’re used. Many fillers (including popular Juvederm® and Restylane® fillers) use hyaluronic acid (HA), a chemical that occurs naturally in the body. HA formulations fill in wrinkles, and they also help the skin retain moisture so it feels and looks more resilient and more supple. HA fillers usually last anywhere from six to 12 months.

Other fillers use synthetics, like poly-L-lactic acid, a collagen “stimulator” filler that lasts up to two years, or polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), which contains tiny spheres and remains in place indefinitely. Dr. Karen recommends the popular filler Sculptra®, which uses PLLA to fill wrinkles and achieve fullness.

Treatments customized just for you

Even though they’re used differently, BOTOX and dermal fillers can be used together to treat both types of wrinkles, which means your treatment can be customized to your unique needs and goals. Ready to look and feel your confident best? Book your consultation appointment online today.

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