A question we often receive is: Are Botox® and fillers the same thing? The answer is no - Botox® and Dysport belong to a group of products called neurotoxins, while fillers are in their own category. Neurotoxins work by blocking the nerve signals where they're injected - telling your muscles to stop working so hard. Fillers restore lost volume in the areas where they're injected, while promoting collagen growth in injected areas as well.
Beyond these differences in how they work, there are differences in how and where these products are used, how long they last, and more. Here are some of the main differences between neurotoxins and fillers.
How They Work
The primary difference between the two is that Botox® (or Dysport® - they are very similar) reduces the activity of muscles in the face that cause wrinkles. Dermal fillers, however, provide volume that fills the trouble areas. They also stimulate collagen growth in the face as well as plump and lift the skin to replace collagen loss.
Where They're Used
The important things to consider when choosing between Botox®/Dysport® and facial fillers is what kind of wrinkles you want to get rid of and how. Botox®/Dysport® are the better choice for dynamic wrinkles (especially around your eyes) as they will reduce their motion and visibility. These wrinkles occur when the face is in motion or making an expression. They are usually positioned in the forehead and around the eyes (“crow’s feet”).
Fillers are ideal for static wrinkles, the ones that are still visible even when your face is relaxed. These areas are depleted and sunken in and will benefit from the fullness that facial fillers give them. Fillers will decrease the appearance of permanent lines that are in the skin (even if they are result of repetitive muscle contracture, like “smoker’s lines” around the mouth). They can also be used to improve the appearance of the cheekbones, and to add volume to lips.
Some options - like Sculptra® - have the added benefit of stimulating collagen production, creating lasting fullness over a longer period of time.
We predominantly use the Restylane® family of fillers. The main ingredient in all of them is hyaluronic acid (HA) - a substance naturally occurring in our bodies. The Restylane® fillers differ mostly in viscosity (i.e. how “liquid” or how “thick” they are). “Thinner” products are better for superficial lines, whereas “thicker” fillers are better for increasing volume. Here is a little more information about the differences between these products:
Restylane Silk®: best for lips and lines around the mouth
Restylane-L®: great product “in-between, not too soft, not too “sticky” - variety of applications
Restylane Lyft® - excellent volumizer (often used for adding fullness to cheeks)
Restylane Defyne® and Refyne®: new products that are compressible, i.e. give natural appearance to areas that move (less visible under the skin with animation).
Sculptra® (poly-L-lactic acid): This product helps to increase lost volume of the cheeks, around the mouth, etc., and is typically injected in three (sometimes more) sessions in one month intervals. Sculptra stimulates production of collagen and helps to create collagen deposits around the microscopic granules of the product, further increasing volume over time. The effects of this product are most apparent about 6 months after the injection and may last up to 2 years.
We hope that this blog post answered some of your questions about the differences between Botox® and fillers. If you have any other questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'd be happy to answer them!
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Want to see more before and after photos of different injectables? Check out our Injectables Gallery!