What is Botox?

Botulinum toxin injections and dermal fillers are some of the most common anti-aging treatments. Botox is a neuromodulator whereas soft tissue fillers are gel-like substances that replace lost volume under the skin.
Botulinum toxin injections and dermal fillers are some of the most common anti-aging treatments. Botox is a neuromodulator whereas soft tissue fillers are gel-like substances that replace lost volume under the skin.

Everyone's face changes as they get older. Skin loses elasticity and starts to sag. You may lose volume, making your face look thinner. Wrinkles and fine lines will appear.

If you want to turn back the clock to make your face look younger, there are multiple options for anti-aging treatments. Minimally invasive injectable treatments are popular because they work well without any downtime. You can have them done in a dermatologist's office, and results can be nearly immediate. 

Botulinum toxin injections and dermal fillers are some of the most common anti-aging treatments. In 2020, more than 4 million people got Botox or other botulinum toxin injections, and over 3 million people had dermal fillers.  Both treatments work to minimize the signs of aging but they work differently.

Botox is one brand name for an injectable form of botulinum toxin. Other botulinum toxin products are known as Dysport or Jeuveau. The ingredients for each brand are similar, as are the effects.

Botulinum toxin is a neuromodulator. That means the serum interacts with nerves and blocks their signals. When the nerves in a muscle don't send signals, the muscle relaxes, and its movements are limited. This can change the surface appearance of the skin.

Your doctor will inject a small amount of Botox or other botulinum toxin directly into a muscle. It takes about two weeks for the serum to have an effect. Once it does, the muscle relaxes so that the skin over it looks smoother. Muscle movement will be reduced, so any wrinkle formation will slow down. The effects of Botox last about three months.

Uses of Botox

Botox is frequently used for smoothing out the appearance of dynamic wrinkles on your face. These are the wrinkles that develop from years of repeated muscle movement. The FDA has approved botulinum toxin treatments for use on crow's feet and the frown lines between the eyebrows. Some doctors use Botox for other areas of the face as well. 

Botox also has medical uses, including:

What are soft fillers?

Soft tissue fillers, which are also called dermal fillers, are gel-like substances that replace lost volume under the skin. They are effective at reducing the appearance of wrinkles and lines. They are also used to plump lips and build volume around the cheekbones, temples, or jawline. 

There are multiple types of fillers available. The approved ingredients for fillers include: 

  • Calcium hydroxylapatite (brand name Radiesse)
  • Hyaluronic acid (brand names Captique, Esthélis, Elevess, Hylaform, Juvederm, Perlane, Prevelle, Puragen, and Restylane)
  • Polyalkylimide (brand name Aquamid)
  • Polylactic acid (brand name Sculptra)
  • Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres (brand name Bellafill)

Your doctor will select a filler that will best solve your concerns. Fillers are all temporary. They last anywhere from three months to a year.

Uses for fillers

Fillers are versatile, and doctors use them for a lot of anti-aging treatments. Your doctor will inject them under the skin, and results are visible right away. Some popular uses of fillers include:

  • Hiding fine lines in the face
  • Reducing the appearance of some scars
  • Plumping lips
  • Adding volume to the forehead for smoothing and lifting bows
  • Adding fullness to cheeks
  • Filling in deep lines around the mouth and chin
  • Hand rejuvenation procedures

Combining Botox and fillers

You can have both Botox and fillers at the same time. The two treatments can work together to give you the results you want. Your doctor will tell you which injectable is appropriate for each area of your face. You might be able to have both treatments done during a single appointment. 

Both types of injectables can be administered in your doctor's office. You may require some numbing cream to make you more comfortable during the appointment. Some people have minor swelling, bruising, or redness after injections, but you can resume normal activity right away.‌

Risks of Botox and fillers

Both Botox and fillers have very good safety records. There are risks of side effects if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the injectables. Discuss any allergies you have with your doctor before treatment.

Both of these treatments are temporary. Certain types of fillers can be dissolved by injecting a solution into the filled area so you can reverse the effects if you don't like that. Botox can't be reversed, but the effects of Botox wear off within 3 or 4 months.

Before you get injectable treatments, make sure the person administering them is qualified to do so. It's safest to get injectables in a medical office, not a spa, salon, or a private home.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/30/2021
References
SOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology Association: "BOTULINUM TOXIN THERAPY: FAQS." "FILLERS: FAQS." "FILLERS: OVERVIEW."

American Society of Plastic Surgeons: "Botulinum Toxin." "Dermal Fillers." "PLASTIC SURGERY STATISTICS REPORT." "What are the risks of botulinum toxin injections?" "What are the risks of dermal fillers?" "What types of dermal fillers are available?"

Harvard Health Publishing: "Why your face ages and what you can do."

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "Botox Package Insert."