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Injectables 101: Botox vs. Fillers

Over the past 18 months, as virtual meetings became commonplace and more people have had the opportunity to constantly stare at themselves on camera, the phenomenon known as the “Zoom effect” has had many turning to Botox for the first time. If you’re among those who are new to skin injectables, your head may be swimming by all the options of what can make your face look younger, smoother, and firmer. 

So let’s break it down. In terms of skin injectables, there are two main categories: neurotoxins and dermal fillers. What’s the difference, and how do you know which you need?

What is Botox?

Botox belongs to the category of neurotoxins. Neurotoxins are substances that alter the function of the nervous system — in this case by blocking the chemical signals from nerves that would ordinarily tell muscles to contract. As a result, these muscles won’t move once injected with the substance. Since facial movements lead to lines and wrinkles, paralyzing the muscle softens these lines and prevents them from getting worse.

Despite being classified as neurotoxins, these injectables are extremely safe to use at the highly diluted concentrations they are FDA-approved for, and in the hands of qualified injectors. 

Botox is most well-known because it’s been around for the longest, but it’s not the only neurotoxin injectable available. You may also hear about Jeuveau, Xeomin, and Dysport. All of these brands contain the same active ingredient, but there are differences in the formulations that may lead someone to prefer one over another. For example, Xeomin is considered the “purest” injectable, as it has fewer additives, which may be more appropriate for those with skin sensitivities.

When to use neurotoxin injectables?

If you have lines around your eyes (crow’s feet), forehead lines, or furrows between your eyebrows that you want to soften (or if you want to prevent any of these!) neurotoxins are for you.

Most neurotoxins last an average of three to four months, though some people may see results lasting up to six.

What are Fillers?

Dermal fillers are gel-like substances made of both natural and synthetic materials that are injected under the skin to add volume. The most common filler ingredient is hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally-occuring substance produced in the body that functions to retain water. Fillers can also be made with collagens (natural or synthetic), calcium hydroxylapatite (naturally found in bones), poly-L-lactic acid (a synthetic compound that helps stimulate collagen production), and more.

When these fillers are injected under the skin, they plump up the area where injected. This additional volume can help smooth out wrinkles and provide lift in specific areas.

Since there are a range of fillers, each consisting of different substances, a particular one will be more suited to treat a specific area or to achieve a specific result. For example a softer filler would be used in the lips, and a filler with a firmer consistency would be better for cheekbones.

Brand names of popular fillers include Juvederm, Volbella, Vollure, Voluma, Radiesse, Sculptra, and Restylane. 

When to use fillers?

Fillers allow you to augment facial features and enhance the contours of your face. Thin lips? There’s a dermal filler for that. Want more prominent cheekbones? Filler. Want a more sculpted jawline? Filler. Have hollows under your eyes that always make you look tired? Filler. 

Dermal fillers also replace lost volume in the face and fill in lines. If you have shallow or deep facial folds, including marionette lines, nasolabial folds, and other facial wrinkles, fillers are what you need to smooth those areas back out.

Fillers are eventually absorbed by the body and its effects will gradually fade away. It will take anywhere from 6 months to two years for this to happen, depending on which filler is used and the area that was injected.

The Summary:

The main difference between Botox and fillers is Botox “freezes” your muscles to soften or eliminate wrinkles, and dermal fillers add volume to your face. As for which one you need? It is not always an either/or choice. There are cases where you would benefit from using both together. A trained and qualified injector will listen to your concerns, consider your facial anatomy, and give you the best recommendation as to what injectables will be best suited for your goals.

New to Botox? Come see us.

Here at Hawaii Blue Medical Aesthetics, we love serving Botox “newbies” as well as our loyal clientele. Even those who have a fear of needles can rest easy in the hands of our highly skilled injector. We offer numbing and use small needles to minimize any discomfort. We do everything we can to make your experience as painless as possible, with results that you will LOVE. 

We’re here to answer all of your questions with a consultation. Schedule yours today at our Newport News or Virginia Beach clinic to get started. Before you know it, you’ll be scheduling Zoom calls just to look at yourself!  😍 😄


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