The Difference Between Botox and Injectable Fillers

March 13, 2019 - 11:09am Updated: March 13, 2019 - 12:12pm

Essential information for the discerning cosmetic injection client.

Botox™ is a manmade purified protein, mimicking Botulinum toxin A, manufactured by Allergan. It is not Botulism food poisoning nor an extract of it. Botox™ is injected in small doses into specific muscles and blocks the nerve impulse from the brain to the motor (activity) part of that muscle.

This means the muscle can temporarily not contract like before, but sensation in the area is normal. A specific muscle is injected to obtain a specific effect, and a few millimetres either way can be the difference between a great result and uh-oh!

In this sense Botox™ is very specialised - make sure you choose an injector with in-depth training in human facial anatomy. Botox effect is not permanent, which has pros and cons: it means the client has to repeat treatments to maintain the cosmetic effect, but it also means an oops result is not permanent.

Botox cannot be displaced from a muscle site once it has been bound to it - which means your results do not change while the Botox™ is active and until such a time as it is metabolized. Our muscles and with muscle action, we break down the Botox™ molecules and the effect of the nerve block reverses, with full muscle function returning, if the treatment is not repeated.

It was found that after 6 months post-injections no Botox™ was detectable in human muscles; this was found when muscle biopsies were done in numerous patients and clients to track the longevity of the medicine.

This, unfortunately, does not mean the Botox™ effect will last 6 months off the bat – in fact most people have a 3-month result for the first treatment.

In a nutshell: Botox™ blocks nerve action, which stops muscle motion that helps lift a brow up or remove expression lines cause by muscle action.

Injectable fillers (and I use Juvederm™ manufactured by Allergan) is an injectable gel made up of Hyaluronic (you-lee-ronic) Acid which is a natural component of our body. Hyaluronic Acid is a sugar crystal that holds water and helps with hydration and plumpness of tissues. We find Hyaluronic Acid in our skin, joint spaces, most components of the body except hair and bone. At age 25 we have lost 25% Hyaluronic Acid in our skin, we’ve lost 30% by age 30, 50% by age 50 and so on. We consequently lose volume in these areas in the same percentages.

Think of a balloon slowly losing air over time and it sags and droops – the same thing happens in our face as we lose our Hyaluronic Acid. A bit of a depressing thought, but luckily, we have manmade Hyaluronic Acids to replace what we lose over time.

This body-friendly molecule is very well tolerated when injected. By using Injectable Fillers, physicians have been able to dramatically cut back the need for plastic surgery/facelifts. Fillers should be injected very precisely by a thoroughly trained physician to obtain a pleasing effect. The cost of a Soft-lift™ (combining Botox™ and Juvederm™ to give the effect of a non-surgical facelift) is a fraction of the cost of surgery (surgical facelift), without the downtime or the risk of permanent injury. The effects from injectable fillers are not permanent, but it is much longer lasting than Botox™. In a nutshell: Fillers are used to re-inflate areas of volume loss in the face.

These two modalities cannot be used in each other’s stead: Botox™ does not replace lost volume and fillers cannot stop muscle motion, so most clients need both for a pleasing cosmetic result.

Skincare Basics
By Dr. Burger - Hummingbird MediSpa