Botox is a purified form of the botulinum toxin that is obtained from bacteria. Though it is deadly in larger amounts, the tiny, regulated amount of Botox given to correct wrinkles has been used safely for decades.
Botox works by blocking nerve signals in the muscles where it is injected. When those nerve signals are interrupted, the affected muscle is temporarily paralyzed or frozen. Without movement of these selected muscles in the face, certain wrinkles may be softened, reduced, or even removed.
Botox and other treatments made with botulinum toxin are sometimes called neuromodulators or neurotoxins.
Treatments made with botulinum toxin are sold under the brand names Botox Cosmetic®, Dysport®, and Xeomin®.
Dermal fillers, sometimes called soft tissue fillers, are substances designed to be injected beneath the surface of the skin to add volume and fullness.
Calcium hydroxylapatite, which is a mineral-like compound found in bones.
Hyaluronic acid, which is found in some fluids and tissues in the body that add plumpness to the skin.
Polyalkylimide, a transparent gel that is compatible with the body.
Polylactic acid, which stimulates the skin to make more collagen.
Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres (PMMA), a semi-permanent filler
Each one of these is designed to treat different signs of aging or other cosmetic issues.
The time they take to work, as well as how long they last, also vary. Some fillers last 6 months, while others last up to 2 years or longer.
People should discuss their individual needs and expectations with their doctor to determine what filler would be the best choice for them.
Different types of dermal fillers are designed to treat varying signs of aging. Depending on the filler selected, they may:
plump up thinning lips
enhance or fill in shallow areas on the face
decrease or remove the shadow or wrinkle under the eyes caused by the lower eyelid
fill in or soften the look of recessed scars
fill in or soften static wrinkles, especially on the lower face
Static wrinkles include those around the mouth and along the cheeks. These wrinkles are usually a result of a loss of collagen and elasticity in the skin.
This freezes muscles to stop creases and wrinkles caused by facial expressions. These are typically found in the upper face, such as the forehead and around the eyes.
These use hyaluronic acid and similar substances to “fill in” or plump areas that have lost volume and smoothness. This includes wrinkles around the mouth, thin lips, and cheeks that have lost fullness. They may also be used on forehead wrinkles, scars, and other areas that need extra volume for a smoother look.
Botox results last 3 to 4 months. Dermal filler results vary, depending on which filler is used.
Because Botox and fillers are different substances designed for different uses, they can sometimes be combined in one treatment. For instance, someone may use Botox to correct lines between the eyes and a filler to correct smile lines around the mouth.