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What’s the Difference Between Botox and Fillers?

One of the most popular and favored methods to reduce moderate to severe wrinkles on the face caused by overextended facial muscles is Botox. Millions of people from around the world have used it, and continue to use it on a regular basis. There are many misconceptions regarding what it is and what it can do. The goal of this article is to convey a clear understanding of how cosmetic injections work, what they are capable of, and the differences between them.

It is important to understand that although Botox and dermal fillers are both put into effect by use of injections, they are very different from each other.

Botox is used to paralyze targeted facial muscles in order to prevent them from causing wrinkles. Dermal fillers are used to fill areas of the face that sag due to loss of collagen and elasticity.

Botox is effective for wrinkles caused by overactive facial muscles. Dermal fillers are effective for wrinkles caused by aging.

What Exactly is Botox?

Botox is actually a form of bacteria that has been purified and weakened. Another, more formal name for it, is botulinum toxin type A. A couple of other brand names that are derived from botulinum toxin are Xeomin, Jeuveau, and Dysport.

In tiny amounts, botulinum toxin is harmless. However, not much more than a nanogram can be fatal in humans. Unless a person is a qualified, trained, dermatologist they should never administer Botox on themselves, or anybody else.

When Botox is injected into the muscle, the toxin causes the affected area to become temporarily paralyzed. This paralysis causes the muscles to relax and loosen their grip. Once the muscles are no longer engaged, the wrinkles that they were causing diminish. 

Some of the types of issues that the injections can help to address are:

  • Crow’s feet
  • Neck bands
  • Chin dimples
  • Forehead lines

The wrinkles that will be affected by the injection are known as dynamic wrinkles. What this means is that they are caused by circumstances that are dependant upon the activity of the muscles in the face. In other words, dynamic wrinkles are the outcome of variable circumstances. The Botox changes the environment that the wrinkles are created from, and is able to remove the problem at its physical root.

What are Dermal Fillers?

Some of the more popular dermal filler brand names are Juvederm, Restylane and Belotero. Unlike Botox, dermal fillers are used to fill in places of the skin where the collagen has diminished and the skin has folded over the area that has been reduced.

As people age, their ability to reproduce collagen diminishes. As a result, the skin that was once taut over the tissue beneath it will begin to sag and hollow out. One of the most effective ways to put the plumpness back into the skin is to inject a filler into the affected area and bring the skin back up to where it was before. 

Dermal fillers can be used for a plethora of different reasons ranging from severe wrinkles, caused by lack of collagen, to adding volume to the lips or cheeks for aesthetic reasons.

Not all of the injections have to be specific to the face. People get dermal filers on other parts of the body as well. 

One of the more popular ingredients in dermal fillers is hyaluronic acid. Humans naturally produce this substance, however, in the process of aging, it begins to diminsh and dwindle away.

Other ingredients of dermal fillers that are available on the market are:

  • Calcium hydroxylapatite
  • Polyalkylimide
  • Polylactic acid
  • Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres (PMMA)

Polyalkylimide is not a substance that the human body creates naturally, however, it can mimic organic tissue in a way that is compatible with human tissue.

Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres (PMMA) are tiny spheres that are made out of polymer plastics. They are used as semi-permanent filers because they do not become absorbed by the body and do not wither away.

Calcium hydroxylapatite and polylactic acid are both natural substances that can assist the body with natural occurrences such as building more collagen or producing more elasticin.

Botox Vs Dermal Fillers

Is Botox a fix for facial wrinkles? - Mayo Clinic Health System

Since Botox and dermal fillers are completely different from each other there really is no comparison, other than what each is able to do for a person. Some patients use both of these solutions to fight the battle against aging and wrinkles.

Botox will only be effective on dynamic wrinkles. What this means is that if you have wrinkles on your face because of aging and the lack of collagen, Botox will not be a solution to the problem. 

Wrinkles caused by aging and lack of substance under the skin are known as static wrinkles. This means that the wrinkles are not part of a dynamic event that changes from one instance to the next. Whether you are squinting, or not squinting the static wrinkles will still be present. They have nothing to do with the muscles in the face. Therefore, if you were to paralyze the muscles around them, they would still be there.

Since dermal fillers are only beneficial for filling up gaps that are present from the lack of collagen, they would not be an effective solution for dynamic wrinkles. If you were to inject a filler into the area where the dynamic wrinkles were present, the most likely outcome would be a swollen area where the wrinkles are, only to pronounce them even larger than they were before with an extra lump.

Temporary Results with Botox

Botox was not designed to be a permanent solution. The botulinum toxin only paralyzes the muscles for a span of time that can be between four and six months. The average span of time that the effects hold is between three and four months. After this, the person would have to visit the dermatologist and have another session.

A long-lasting effect for dynamic facial wrinkles could be to focus on activities that could possibly train the face to relax and not stay engaged. For instance, mindfulness and meditation could be beneficial activities that would directly affect the way that the person lives and reacts to different situations.

In most cases, people that have dynamic wrinkles have no idea that they are contracting the facial muscles responsible for the wrinkles, and would have no idea of how to stop themselves from doing it. This is why Botox is one of the leading remedies for dynamic wrinkles today.

How Long do Dermal Fillers Last?

Since there are so many types of dermal fillers it is difficult to give a general idea of how long they last. It all depends on the type of filler, the person that got the treatment, and the quality of the treatment done.

In general, Juvederm can last up to two years, whereas other temporary fillers will last between 6 months and a year.

The PMMA beads are built to last for a long time so it could be several years before the effects wore off.

None of the fillers are meant to be permanent solutions. Our bodies have a way of breaking down substances that come into them. Time and circumstances do not provide an optimum environment for long-lasting filler solutions.


It is important to keep in mind that there are risks involved with any kind of injectable treatment. Certain people could be allergic to compounds that are within the solution. Allergic reactions can be deadly. Never try to self administer an injectable, or trust a person that is not a certified, qualified professional to administer an injection. Ask questions and have conversations with your doctor about any of your health concerns.