Newbie Blog: What's the Difference Between Botox + Filler?


I was listening to The Girls Gotta Eat podcast this morning and they were talking about injectable treatments and how Ashley had just gotten her first filler treatment. They joked about Ashley calling injectable filler "cheek Botox." I laughed just because it's true that newbies to the industry don't know the difference between Botox and fillers. Buy hey, you have to be new at some point! (As I type this, a friend of mine is wanting to make an appointment for a consult and Botox (first time!) and she said she doesn't know the difference between Botox and fillers. WHAT THE HECK?? We've been friends for years and I guess she just never asked!

I live in this med spa bubble 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 to relax 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 a year or more, 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. Radiesse has the added benefit of giving instant results like an HA filler but also stimulates your own collagen over time.

Don't worry though, you don't have to choose which filler to use. Your injector will decide which filler is best based on the areas to be treated, your own skin quality and your desired results.

Check out tons of before and afters on our website and Instagram.