Botox VS fillers — which is which? Is there a difference between them, or is one better than the other? If so, just what is the difference between fillers and botox?
Botox has been around for a while now. It has embedded itself in pop culture because most famous personalities use it, even though some get not-so-desirable results. Still, Botox has smoothed many wrinkles throughout the years, cementing itself as a household name.
But there’s a new kid on the block — dermal fillers. Sometimes shortened to just “fillers,” this minimally-invasive procedure has become more popularized in recent years. Dermal fillers can do what Botox can — and more. That is why more and more people are trying out its wonders.
Botox VS Fillers 101:What Is the Difference Between Fillers and Botox
To the untrained eye, the effects of Botox and dermal fillers might look similar and almost interchangeable. But there are a few key differences between these procedures — from the materials used and application process to the recovery and how long they last — and knowing the difference might help you make the best decision to get your desired outcome.
Dermal Filler Meaning
Some of the most common signs of aging — fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, hollow cheeks — are from facial volume loss. The body also produces less collagen through the years, causing the skin to thin and become less elastic than it used to be. This decline makes the skin more prone to folds because of the effects of gravity pulling it down. Dermal fillers treat these signs of aging by replacing lost fat to bring back the natural contours of your face. You can use it to plump up lips, fill in cheeks, as well as smoothen wrinkles and fine lines.
Injectable facial fillers come in all shapes, sizes, and thicknesses for different applications. More robust types with larger particles are better suited to fill in hollowed cheeks, while lips and fine lines need more malleable formulations to allow movement.
One variation comes in the form of bio-stimulatory fillers, which are made from natural collagen and can be absorbed by the skin, making it an excellent remedy for deep pits caused by acne scars. There is also calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA) fillers which can hold their shape for 12-24 months, making them the longest-lasting. These are more commonly used for very pronounced nasolabial folds and can even be used on the back of the hands.
The most frequently used variety is hyaluronic acid dermal fillers. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally-occurring substance in the body. This substance makes the skin look plump and hydrated. If it’s your first time to get a facial filler, HA fillers are most likely going to be recommended for you, as they are the most temporary option letting you make adjustments to your treatment where needed.
To further minimize pain during the procedure, doctors add lidocaine into the formulation of dermal fillers. The mixture is then applied under the skin using tiny needles to reduce bruising, bleeding, and scarring for a faster recovery. The effects can last for 6-18 months up to a couple of years. Aside from lasting longer, dermal fillers are also cheaper than Botox. Just make sure to go to an expert with experience and good reviews.
Another aesthetic effect unique to dermal fillers is that it triggers the body to initiate a “healing response,” which includes increased collagen production. The most abundant protein in the body, collagen, provides the skin with rigidity to maintain its form and elasticity to bounce back into shape. So, even after the fillers have dissolved fully into the skin, its effects continue to plump the skin.
You enter an aesthetic clinic and start hearing what seems like an alien language with the words Dysport, Xeomin, and Juneau. No need to worry because these are just some of the other brands in the market that you can use to smooth your frown lines. More popularly known as just the brand name “Botox,” this refers to the product and procedure of getting a botulinum toxin injection. The approach uses small doses of a type of neurotoxin extracted from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
Botox works by blocking signals from the nerves to the muscles, effectively “freezing” them so that they can’t contract. This process makes fine lines look softer and smoother. Forehead lines, crow’s feet (near the eyes), and frown lines are some areas where we use Botox.
Getting Botox done doesn’t need any anesthesia, and it only takes a few minutes. It comes in powder form at your cosmetic practitioner’s office, where they mix it with saline. Using a tiny needle, your doctor will inject Botox into the facial muscles in the area you want to fix. This procedure is very localized (3 cm diameter), and there is
minimal discomfort — it feels like a mosquito or an ant bite. If you have a super low pain threshold, you can also get a topical numbing cream. You should be able to see the full effects of the procedure within a week or two. Just make sure that you avoid alcohol, aspirin, and other blood-thinning agents for about eight to nine days before your Botox session to minimize bruising in the area.
Depending on your body’s metabolism, you should enjoy the full effects of Botox for about 12-16 weeks, in some cases up to half a year. Botox has also been used to treat facial asymmetry, migraines, muscular disorders, bowel disorders, spasms, muscle stiffness, and excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). Do not get Botox if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a neurological condition.
There may be a few side effects you can experience immediately after the procedure:
- Pain, bruising, swelling
- These are relatively common and will eventually subside.
- A rare side effect, this only lasts a maximum of 48 hours.
- Crooked smile or eyelid drooping
- Only an incredibly small percentage of people experience this as a cause of the Botox moving around, so try not to rub the treated area for at least 24 hours.
- Weakness, numbness
- Upset stomach
- Flu-like symptoms
Botox VS Fillers Core Differences
Both are minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures administered through an injection. Botox remains one of the most commonly performed aesthetic procedures. And fillers can be used to achieve a younger, smoother look for your skin. However, the similarities end there.
- Material — As mentioned above, botulinum toxin is the primary active agent in Botox. Fillers use collagen, hyaluronic acid, and other similar naturally-occurring substances.
- Insertion — Fillers are inserted directly into the skin; Botox goes into the muscles.
- Results — With dermal fillers, you can see an impressive improvement in smoothing and making your skin more plump and youthful. For Botox, you will get similar effects but with a more artificial feel.
- Side Effects— Both procedures may be minimally-invasive, so there is less bruising and swelling, but the neurotoxin in Botox can have some interesting side effects. Make sure to avoid blood thinners like aspirin and ibuprofen.
- Cost — Dermal fillers generally cost less, but this still depends on the clinic and practitioner and the brand they use. Please don’t skimp on the cost because you might end up in shady places where they dilute the solution or use silicone, which is unsafe.
Which Is Which on Botox and Fillers:
Botox or Fillers for 11 Lines
If your 11 lines are very pronounced, it may be best to get dermal fillers to fill in the area. But if you spot them early, you can just smoothen them out with Botox.
Botox or Fillers Around Eyes
The eye muscles perform a lot of movement, so this area can be particularly susceptible to wrinkles, particularly on the outer corner of the eye, forming “crow’s feet.” Botox may be sufficient to treat these fine lines, but it is best to ask your doctor for the best course of treatment.
Botox or Dermal Fillers for Frown Lines
Frown lines can also become more pronounced with age as the skin sags and droops. You may get a combination of dermal fillers and Botox according to your particular needs.
Botox or Collagen Fillers
You can use both minimally-invasive procedures for different applications depending on your desired effects. It is best to consult your doctor about these treatments before moving forward.
Botox VS Fillers for Lips
If you have ever seen someone with plumper lips than they had yesterday — best believe those new puckers are the work of fillers. Botox can smooth wrinkles, but when adding volume to emphasize a specific feature such as the lips, getting dermal fillers will help you achieve that.
Wrapping It Up
In essence, here’s a take on Botox VS fillers: Botox makes up millions of cosmetic procedures performed each year as Botox remains among the most commonly performed aesthetic procedures. Dermal fillers have also become increasingly preferred by cosmetic aficionados recently because they last longer and are less expensive.
Fillers not only smoothen wrinkles but also restore lost facial volume and increase skin elasticity. Of course, they have different mechanisms of action — one freezes muscles while the other plumps up the skin.
Now that you know all about the differences between Botox and dermal fillers, you can have more confidence about your course of treatment. Whether you choose Botox, opt for fillers, or get a mix of both — make sure to consult your doctor so he/she can help you to keep your skin as healthy and young-looking for as long as possible.