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Ask DAA: What is the Difference Between Botox® and Facial Fillers?

Cosmetic facial injections have become an extremely popular way to look younger, and it’s no mystery why – they’re quick, they require little or no downtime, and they’re effective enough to make a difference yet subtle enough to look natural. But many of our patients who are considering cosmetic facial injections for the first time don’t understand what their options are, and they often confuse Botox® with facial fillers. However, these two products are very different, so we’re setting the record straight and helping all of our patients (present and future) to understand their choices for minimally-invasive facial rejuvenation.

botox cosmetic and facial fillersWhat’s the difference between Botox® (or similar injections) and facial fillers?

Both of these popular facial injections are effective for smoothing facial wrinkles, but they take two different approaches to the issue. Botox® and Dysport® are used to relax targeted facial muscles above, in between, and around your eyes. These muscles cause creases after years of repeated facial expressions, leading to crow’s feet, frown lines, and forehead creases. Relaxing these muscles can both smooth the existing wrinkles and prevent them from becoming more pronounced. Facial fillers (also called dermal fillers), on the other hand, address the loss of facial volume and skin firmness which occurs with age and which can cause wrinkles around the mouth, nose, chin, and cheeks. These injections give the treated area a more youthful plumpness and fill in the targeted fine lines and wrinkles. For women of any age, even from their early 20s, facial fillers can also be a successful way to add volume to the lips.

What are different cosmetic facial injections made of?

All of the products we use at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta (DAA) are safe and FDA-approved, but the different injections use different materials to meet their goals. Botox® and Dysport® are all made from purified forms of a protein produced by natural bacteria called clostridium botulinum. These medicines do not cause any harm to the cells. When injected into facial muscles, they affect the area where nerves join these muscles, blocking them from receiving the messages from the brain that are telling them to contract. Facial fillers, on the other hand, can be made from different materials based on the goals of the specific medication. For example, Restylane®, Juvéderm™, and Belotero Balance® consist of hyaluronic acid, which occurs naturally in the body but decreases with age. Another filler called Sculptra® is made from poly-L-lactic acid, which builds results over the course of multiple treatments, and yet another dermal filler, Radiesse®, is made of calcium-based microspheres which help your body produce more of its own collagen.

Do different facial injections treat different areas?

Yes. Because muscle-relaxing injections and fillers treat different types of wrinkles, they’re also used for different areas of the face. Botox® and Dysport® are most successful for wrinkles around the eyes and forehead which are caused by repeated facial expressions, like crow’s feet, forehead creases, and frown lines between the eyes. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, are best used for wrinkles throughout the lower half of the face, like smile lines, marionette lines, and the little vertical lines above the upper lip. Some fillers are also used to add volume to the cheeks, like Restylane® Lyft and Juvéderm®, while other fillers, including Restylane® Silk, are formulated to improve the fullness of the lips.

How long do results from Botox® and facial fillers last?

Because different injections work in different ways, their results vary significantly as well. Botox® and Dysport® produce results that are expected to last anywhere between three and seven months. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, have more variation. For instance, Restylane® and Juvéderm® are expected to last up to six months, while Radiesse® may last a bit longer, perhaps even one year, and Sculptra® and Juvéderm® can both last even longer, perhaps up to two years in some patients.

With a veritable sea of facial rejuvenation options available, the key is finding the right cosmetic dermatology provider who can help you determine the best treatment to fit your needs. At DAA, we’ve performed more than 20,000 cosmetic facial injections, and have the expertise to produce the best and safest results possible. To get started on your way to feeling more confident in your appearance, schedule a consultation at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta. Or, for more helpful information and tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and check out our Specials and Events page to see current discounts on our aesthetic treatments.