Thinking about a little self-improvement? If your thoughts are focused on how you look, or more specifically, signs of aging, here’s a hot tip: both Botox and dermal fillers can help you roll back the years.
But wait…what exactly are these treatments, anyway? More importantly, which is best-suited to your individual skin condition and concerns?
You might be surprised to learn that the answer isn’t as simple as you might think. While there are some similarities, these two procedures are more different than they are alike…and which one you choose could impact your results.
Let’s break it down.
WHAT IS BOTOX?
Botox is actually a brand name for a specific type of injectable neurotoxic sourced from Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Other brand names include Dysport and Xeomin, but all contain the same base substance at the end of the day (with or without additional ingredients).
In the human body, neurotoxins blocks signals from nerve cells to reduce movement, spasms, and in some cases, even pain. This paralytic effect reduces small muscle movements, softening and smoothing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
WHAT CAN BOTOX FIX?
Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport can be used reactively (to address existing issues) or proactively (to reduce pressure on skin, preventing wrinkles from developing). Still, the majority of patients don’t start using these products until their 20s.
We’ve already mentioned that neurotoxins can help reduce, or even prevent, fine lines and wrinkles. This includes laugh lines, marionette lines, crow’s feet, and frown lines. But this is really just the beginning! Doctors also use injectable neurotoxin to treat conditions like adult acne, blepharospasm (eyelid spasm), migraine, and extreme sweating (hyperhidrosis).
Depending on how Botox is injected, it may also mimic the effect of dermal fillers, plumping and increasing volume. This is probably why some people confuse the treatments even though they remain remarkably different.
WHAT ARE DERMAL FILLERS?
Dermal (meaning within the skin) fillers, including Elevess, Juvederm, Prevelle, Puragen, and Restylane, are injectable substances containing a variety of ingredients that plump tissue and add volume. Nearly all brands contain a base of hyaluronic acid; some also contain calcium, collagen, or medical-grade silicone.
Like Botox, dermal fillers are injected into problem areas where a lack of volume exists, such as a thin upper lip or sagging skin around the eyes. Results last anywhere from a few months to years as the body slowly reabsorbs the fillers via the natural healing process.
WHAT CAN DERMAL FILLERS FIX?
Dermal fillers are a fast and remarkably effective way to correct sagging skin, add volume where little exists, or even adjust the positioning of certain facial features. A good injector can mimic the effects of lip surgery, rhinoplasty, or even a surgical face lift by injecting fillers into certain areas of the face, hands, or decollete.
Products like Juvederm can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Adding volume just under the skin smoothens out grooves and evens out surface tension for a more youthful look. Of course, they’ll also help you get those gorgeous Kylie Jenner lips, too.
Science shows that hyaluronic acid fillers share additional benefits for skin. This essential acid encourages improved hydration and circulation, which may improve skin function. Healthier skin = a healthier glow!
OKAY, BUT WHICH ONE DO I NEED?
That depends entirely on which problem you’re struggling with! If you just want to add a bit of volume, but don’t necessarily need to reduce wrinkles, fillers may be enough. If you’re trying to prevent signs of aging or eliminate existing fine lines, you might need neurotoxins like Botox or even a combination of both products.
The best way to figure out what’s best for your individual skin care concerns is to visit your local medspa and have a full consultation. This helps your provider identify contributing factors like age, skin care routine, skin type, or any chronic skin conditions that might affect your results and needs.
RISKS & CONSIDERATIONS
The vast majority of patients can use both Botox and dermal fillers safely and reliably with the help of a skilled injector. Still, there are a few special circumstances, risks, and considerations you should be aware of.
First, let’s address the rumor that Botox and other neurotoxins are dangerous. While they are sourced from the same bacteria causing botulism, the average healthy individual with a functioning immune system needn’t fear this complication. Neurotoxins is specially formulated and engineered to provide localized action without systemic spread.
That said, if you are heavily immunocompromised (e.g., undergoing chemotherapy or diagnosed with advanced HIV/AIDS), you should tell your injector first. You may need to take special precautions or neurotoxins might not be for you.
Patients who have had allergic reactions to fillers or neurotoxins in the past should also use these products with care. Ditto for anyone who has reacted poorly to products (even topicals) containing silicon, collagen, or hyaluronic acid. There are special products you may be able to use to avoid these effects.
Lastly – and this is probably the most important point – is the importance of having your product administered by a qualified professional. Never buy your products on the web and/or attempt your own treatments. While you may save a few bucks, you could also put yourself at risk for poor results, infection, or even serious complications like tissue necrosis. It’s just not worth it!
ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS?
Possibly. If your issue is fine lines and wrinkles, surgical interventions may be an option. However, it should be noted that this type of treatment is invasive and often requires a much longer recovery period than fillers or neurotoxins. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and dermabrasion may help, too, especially if you’re just starting to see the signs of aging now. See your medispa provider for more info.