Cosmetic injectable treatments are the most popular aesthetic procedures performed throughout the world. Yet for all its popularity, far fewer people are clear on the differences between specific products. Our medical spa, which is overseen by the board-certified plastic surgeons at St. Louis Cosmetic Surgery, offers BOTOX Cosmetic and a range of dermal fillers as anti-aging treatments for women and men. And those differences are precisely what motivates our recommendations for one over the other (or a combination of both).
While both BOTOX and dermal fillers have the same general goals — reducing signs of facial aging — the products work in very different ways to achieve these outcomes.
Fillers and BOTOX: What’s the Difference?
BOTOX Cosmetic injections are the most common treatment. Everyone knows that BOTOX is effective at reducing wrinkles — but in the right context, so are dermal fillers. To understand the differences, it’s helpful to first talk about how wrinkles develop.
- “Dynamic” wrinkles gradually develop as our faces change expressions throughout the day, year after year. The repeated contractions of tiny muscles in the areas of the eyes, the forehead, and the mouth create fine lines such as crow’s feet, vertical “worry lines,” and horizontal forehead wrinkles.
- Static wrinkles are the folds and lines that you can see when your face is at rest. They develop as we get older, as the natural substances that provide the skin with structure and volume are less available naturally. This includes collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. Nasolabial folds, which run between the outer edges of the nose and the mouth, are a classic example of static wrinkles.
BOTOX works for those dynamic wrinkles by blocking the signals nerves send to the facial muscles, so they don’t contract. That minimizes the lines and wrinkles, so the skin appears smoother. BOTOX injections performed by experienced and trained providers produce results that look natural.
Fillers work on the static wrinkles, replacing lost volume via formulations of those same natural substances that gradually become in short supply, such as hyaluronic acid. The smooth gels of dermal fillers have different consistencies depending on the concerns you’re looking to improve. For example, a filler used to augment thinning lips is different than fillers designed to replace volume lost in the cheeks.
How Long Do Results Last?
As in their indications, BOTOX and fillers differ here, too.
BOTOX takes about 5 to 7 days to see the results of the injections, and those results typically last about 4 months. Periodic treatments can maintain a more youthful appearance of your skin, and there is some evidence that periodic treatments can also begin to extend the longevity of your results in subsequent treatments.
Filler injections produce almost immediate results, which can last between 6 months and 2 years, depending on the type of fillers used. Regular touch-up treatments can also be scheduled to maintain the results indefinitely.
Which Treatment Is Best for You?
Our providers create a customized treatment plan based on your concerns, cosmetic goals, and skin type. In many cases, combining fillers with BOTOX is the optimal approach — because dynamic and static wrinkles develop concurrently. The most common fillers such as JUVÉDERM® and Restylane® products are made using hyaluronic acid; some fillers use different substances. Sculptra® Aesthetic, for example, uses poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) to treat moderate to severe volume loss in the midface.
If you want to learn more about how you can benefit from injectable treatments, which usually take 30 minutes or less at our office, request a complimentary consultation online or call (636) 530-9020 to set up your personal consultation at our St. Louis practice.