I perform many minimally-invasive procedures to treat wrinkles in my office, and I’ve noticed that there is often a lot of confusion about exactly what the difference is between a neurotoxin such as BOTOX, and a filler such as Juvederm or Restylane. My blog post today is written with the intent of clearing up that confusion.
Confusion is understandable, as the two treatments do share many similarities. Both neurotoxins and fillers are injected in the office. Both treat wrinkles. And both are temporary, meaning the results wear off over time. But the two products actually work quite differently.
As I mentioned before, Botox is a neurotoxin. This means it is actually toxic to nerves, thereby preventing muscles from contracting in the areas where it is injected. Muscle contraction is responsible for what are called “dynamic wrinkles”, i.e. wrinkles resulting from motion. Dynamic wrinkles are commonly seen between the eyebrows, over the forehead, and around the eyes. Preventing the muscles from moving stops the wrinkle from forming. Because neurotoxins cause localized muscle paralysis, I do not like to use them around the mouth as this may result in drooling or difficulty speaking and eating.
Fillers do what their name implies: they fill volume. Volume loss in the soft tissues contributes to an aging appearance. This is partially responsible for the formation of the “smile lines” which run from the nose to the corner of the mouth, and the marionette lines which run from the corner of the mouth to the chin. Ptosis or droopiness of the overlying tissue secondary to gravity is the other main contributing factor, and this can be corrected surgically. But adding volume directly under a wrinkle can significantly soften the appearance. Unlike neurotoxins, which require several days to take effect, the results from fillers are immediate.
Any questions? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to get back to you.