Botox Versus Fillers – What's really the difference?

Botox Versus Fillers – What’s really the difference?

It’s one of the questions I get asked most in clinic. It’s a popular mistake to group Botox and Dermal fillers together as one, afterall, both are injectables. In fact, both are very different and are used to treat different problems related to aging of the skin with different results. Note the word ‘different’ here.

I wanted to take some time to explain in detail the difference between Botox and Fillers, and why it’s important to know what you’re asking your practitioner for.

As two of the most popular and requested non-surgical procedures available today, it’s easy to see why they may seem similar.

Let’s start with Botox.

Officially called Botulim Toxin, Botox is most used to treat facial lines and wrinkles by relaxing the muscles that are responsible for creating them. It was approved by the FDA as a cosmetic treatment back in 2002, and is injected in extremely small concentrations into localised areas of the skin (forehead, eye area, around the mouth etc). It then works by blocking nerve signals in the muscles where it is injected. The muscle temporarily relaxes, and the skin becomes smoother. When the muscles relax, wrinkles appear softer in appearance and fine lines reduced. Botox is, however, semi-permanent, with its effects lasting anything from 3 to 6 months depending on the patient. Continued treatment is recommended to make lines and wrinkles appear less prominent over time as the muscles shrink. Botox is also an effective preventative method as it stops new lines and wrinkles from forming. Unlike fillers, the effects of Botox are not visible immediately; it takes time for Botox to start working and relax those muscles – results should be seen within 5 days, although the best results can take a little longer. Results are (read: should be) subtle and natural, making you look more youthful and well-rested.
Botox can also be used for medical purposes such as to block sweat glands as an effective treatment of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). It can also be used for the treatment of migraines, where Botox is injected into several points in the scalp.

In contrast, Dermal Fillers lift and plump the skin, adding volume and smoothing out lines and wrinkles. Common areas for fillers include cheeks, mouth and lips and jawline. Dermal fillers are an effective anti-ageing treatment alongside Botox because they help to replenish volume lost to ageing and result in a more youthful appearance. Dermal fillers are also injected under the skin. However, whereas Botox reduces muscle activity that causes wrinkles, dermal fillers increase volume beneath the surface of the skin, making it appear plumper and younger. Our dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic acid – a natural by-product of the human body and a molecule that is found naturally in the skin. Hydrating and plumping Hyaluronic acid is the closest thing to magic you can find. By injecting Hyaluronic acid into the face, water is drawn to the area, rehydrating and plumping the skin from the inside out giving a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘beauty starts from within’. Results with dermal fillers, in contrast to Botox, are immediate although some post-treatment swelling can be expected so results do take a little more time. Fillers are also not permanent but last significantly longer than Botox at approximately 12 months (patient dependent).

It’s easy to see why the lines (pun intended) between Botox and fillers are often blurred, so it’s important to understand each treatment before committing to injectables.

Please remember to always ask whoever is injecting your face about their qualifications and experience. Inexperience leads to issues and it’s important to confirm your practitioner is medically trained and qualified. As a qualified nurse practitioner with over 20 years’ experience, I have seen (and treated) many unnecessary mishaps over the years from patients coming to me unhappy with the work they have had done elsewhere. This is either down to being misinformed on the treatment or opting for a cheap fix over quality, which ends up more expensive down the line.

Not only is our clinic Care Quality Commission registered but both myself and the team are always on hand to answer any questions you may have, before, during or after treatment – in fact, the more questions the better!