Botox and dermal fillers are the two most common types of injectable cosmetic dermatology treatments. However, this is the only thing these treatments have in common. Differences in the effects and the way they work are fundamentally different.
Botox uses a heavily diluted form of botulinum toxin, which is the most poisonous known substance. However, it’s around for decades and is actually proven as very safe, effective and fairly priced. Very small doses of botulinum toxin are sufficient to block the release of neurotransmitters which cause face frowning – the core cause of lines and wrinkles.
Despite being fast, inexpensive and convenient, Botox treatment has a relatively short effect, which fits in the three to six months timeframe. People with neuromuscular diseases should avoid using Botox or any other procedure involving botulinum toxin and other neurotoxins. In fact, most practitioners will refuse to perform the treatment if some of these diseases are found in the patient.
Unlike Botox, which relies on injecting a neurotoxin, dermal fillers are injections of hyaluronic acid. When we are born, our skin is abundant with hyaluronic acid, but its levels will continuously fall over time with the process of ageing and is one of the main causes of skin deterioration. Dermal filler treatment helps recover any lost volume of tissue, which leads to firm improvements. The onset of action is immediate and the effect is very lasting – twelve months and often beyond.
Major disadvantages of dermal fillers are their limited effectiveness in treating the mouth area. When applied there, the effect lasts for just six months. There also should be a considerable portion of bruises from injections, which will require some time to heal.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are more expensive than Botox and other neurotoxin based injectable treatments. These act as filling agents which tighten the skin directly, without impact to muscles or any other internal tissue. Due to that, they require a higher level of skill in practitioners, so you are advised to ask for prior qualifications, as well as references of the dermatologist you choose, or to have one recommended by a friend who has undergone the treatment and has visible results. If done improperly, the fillers will be misplaced, which appears as bumps on the surface. Some patients also have allergic reactions to substances present in the filler, which is most commonly found after the treatment.
Besides hyaluronic acid based fillers there are some other types: synthetic (have a very long lasting effect, but the risk of side effects such as bumps is greater), collagen ones (give a very natural look to your skin and face, but pretty short-lasting) and autologous (using one’s own tissue – most commonly fat, as the filler – a natural and very lasting approach, but requires re-injections once in a couple of years).