Fillers vs. Botox: What’s the Difference?

Inside scoop on fine line fighters

There is a big difference

Which One is Best for You?

When it comes to the fight against fine lines there are seemingly endless options for giving your complexion a youthful boost. We’ve all heard of Botox thanks to the spate of celebrities who use it, but what about fillers, the other option for smooth, line-free skin? If you’re not sure what the difference is, or how to tell which option is best for you, we’re here to help.

To learn more we turned to some well-known experts in the field: Doctors Jean and Alastair Carruthers, known for discovering Botox for its cosmetic use today and their colleague, Dr. Shannon Humphrey.

Betting on Botox

One of the most familiar ways to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, Botox Cosmetic is a brand of neuromodulator (other brands include Dysport® and Xeomin®). “These treatments work by causing facial muscles to relax temporarily,” explains Dr. Alastair Carruthers. “Botox effectively treats frown lines, forehead lines, crow’s feet, lip lines, and many other wrinkles that result from facial expression.”

You’ve seen how Botox can take years off your favorite stars (and maybe even a few or your friends), but is it right for you? The advantages speak for themselves. “Botox is an excellent treatment for many types of patients,” says Dr. Jean Carruthers. Someone in their late 20s or early 30s might choose Botox to help prevent wrinkles and enhance their complexion. Older patients may opt for the treatment to soften existing lines and prevent new ones from forming, she explains. “In truth nearly every cosmetic patient can benefit from Botox as a component of their cosmetic treatment and maintenance plan.” Most importantly, Botox has an excellent established safety record and is the most popular cosmetic procedure worldwide.

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Focus on fillers

Like Botox, fillers are an injectable treatment used to tackle some of the most frustrating signs of aging, but unlike Botox they don’t relax facial muscles, but instead work to fill creases and “plump” the skin. “Soft tissue fillers can be used to restore a semblance of youth through the replacement of lost tissue volume well as filling folds and wrinkles,” explains Dr. Humphrey. Whether you want Angelina Jolie’s luscious lips, or you’re hoping to rid you face of frown lines, there’s a filler that can help. We’ve listed some of the most popular below.

  • Restylane®: Restylane is a dermal filler made from hyaluronic acid, a natural sugar that enables skin to retain its shape and volume. The hyaluronic acid molecules in Restylane bind to the body’s natural stores of water, gradually “plumping up” the skin — and giving it a smoother, more youthful appearance. Restylane is very effective at improving the appearances of wrinkles and creases around the mouth and lips, as well as those under and around the eyes.
  • Juvederm®: Like Restylane, Juvederm also contains hyaluronic acid, which plumps up the skin, filling and smoothing out any surface wrinkles. The smooth injectable gel helps restore the skin’s volume and smooth away facial wrinkles and folds, including those highly visible ones around the mouth and nose and on the forehead. Note there are two types of Juvederm: Juvederm Ultra, which is used to correct moderately deep facial wrinkles and to add fullness to the lips, and Juvederm XC, a denser formula helpful for improving the appearance of much deeper facial folds.
  • Radiesse®: Radiesse is a long-lasting dermal filler that consists of tiny calcium particles suspended in a smooth gel. When injected under the skin, it not only smoothes wrinkles, but also stimulates the skin’s own production of collagen, the protein essential for youthful-looking skin.
  • Sculptra®: Sculptra is one of the longest-lasting fillers and stimulates the production of collagen, the protein responsible for skin’s volume and structure. Sculptra helps correct wrinkles and folds, particularly the deep ones that run from the nose to the lip (nasolabial lines), the lip to the chin (“marionette” lines), and vertically and horizontally across the forehead.
  • Perlane®: Perlane is the “sister” product of Restylane. It too contains hyaluronic acid, but in slightly larger particles. The larger particles mean Perlane can treat even deeper wrinkles. It’s another filler effective at improving the large nasolabial folds between the nose and the mouth and also “worry” lines that can appear on the forehead. The filler is also used to enhance the volume and size of lips.

Botox and fillers: Can you get both?

While you might think that Botox and fillers can only be used separately, they’re actually better together (kind of like chocolate and peanut butter, or strawberries and champagne). Botox is often used in conjunction with fillers (and even lasers) to enhance the overall results of those treatments. “Botox and fillers are a perfect combination,” says Dr. Carruthers.

Botox and fillers perform differently, so a combination of those treatment works better than either treatment alone. Botox paralyzes the underlying facial muscle, while fillers plump the skin and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. “Together they provide the most soft and natural looking improvement in facial appearance and age related cosmetic concerns. In many cases soft tissue filler will last longer when used with Botox,” Dr. Carruthers explains. Talk to your doctor to determine which treatment path is right for you.

Between Botox and fillers you should have no trouble finding a skin smoothing solution that works for you. Wrinkles and fine lines don’t stand a chance against either, and if you really want a put stop to aging skin — use a combination of both.


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