I went up to University of Oklahoma a few weekends ago to visit my daughter for mom’s weekend. Mostly we just ate our way through the weekend, a pedicure here, a manicure there, a few girly TV shows thrown in. It’s always a lot of fun. On the second evening I was sitting at a table with a mom and grandma pair and they asked what I do for a living. When I told them I work at a medspa they asked, “So what’s the difference between Botox and filler?”
I have lived in this med spa bubble for about 5 years now and I totally forget there’s this whole other world (that I used to be a part of) with people who haven’t really given a thought to Botox or filler.
So this is a blog for newbies. What IS the difference between Botox and filler?
Botox is a neurotoxin that is injected into the muscle and relaxes it. When the muscle relaxes, the overlaying skin becomes smoother, and you have less wrinkles. Dysport and Xeomin are two other brands of neurotoxins, made by different companies. They are all variations of the same neurotoxin protein.
After your Botox treatment, it takes 5-10 days for the results to kick in. And as long as you are dosed with the appropriate amount of units, your results should last about 3 months. Everyone is different with this, though. You can read more about that in this earlier blog post.
What is dermal filler?
Dermal fillers are injectables that replace lost volume. Most are made of hyaluronic acid (HA), which is a naturally occurring substance in your body. It is a basic element in connective skin tissue, in spinal fluid, in the eyes, and in joints. HA has the ability to draw and hold water and it helps to nourish and moisturize the skin.
There are many types of HA dermal fillers being used in the US, and they all have different molecular makeups that range from very small molecules (a very delicate filler) to larger molecules (a stronger filler that is better for providing structure and volume). These fillers can be injected into areas like the lips, under the eyes, the cheeks, jawline, lip lines, neck lines, chest, and more. Results are immediate, and should last 9 months to 2 years, depending on which filler is used, what area is treated, and your own metabolism.
There are a few other fillers that are not HA’s and they all have their own unique properties. For instance, Sculptra is a biostimulator and works by stimulating your own collagen over time. So while results are not immediate, you do get the benefit of having your own collagen regrow, subtly, over several months, which can look very natural. Sculptra can be used in the face and body areas.
Radiesse is another non-HA filler and it’s great for providing structure in areas like the jawline, hands, and cheeks. It can also be used in a hyper-dilution for treating crepey skin on most body areas.
Lastly there is Bellafill, which is a semi-permanent filler, with results proven to last at least five years. It is also the only filler FDA approved to treat acne scars.