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Botox vs Fillers

Botox vs Fillers

Often used in the same sentence but rarely explained, botulinum toxin (“Botox”) and dermal fillers are both part of the ongoing conversation about how to treat signs of aging like lines and wrinkles, loss of volume, and other concerns. Though Botox and fillers are often talked about together and are performed as non-invasive injectable procedures, Botox and fillers have many differences and are used to treat and target a varied list of concerns.

What is Botox?

Also called Botulinum toxin type A (there are actually about 7 serologically distinct types of botulinum toxin: A, B, C1, D, E, F, and G), Botox is a drug made from a toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It was first approved for cosmetic use almost 20 years ago and has become one of the most commonly used solutions for patients addressing prominent signs of aging such as wrinkles.

What a lot of people don’t know is that Botox is useful for more than just forehead lines, frown lines, facial wrinkles, and other wrinkles caused by aging, but is far from a catch all solution for people seeking injection treatments. While Botox can do a lot to add volume and decrease signs of aging around the eyes and m, it’s not a permanent fix and should be explored as one of many options instead of the only option.

Please keep in mind that Botulinum Toxin has many trade names and they seem to be increasing. Some of the most common names are:

  • Xemomin
  • Dysport,
  • Reloxin,
  • Jeaveau,
  • Vistabel,
  • Lantox,
  • Neuronox,
  • Prosigne,
  • Azzalure and others.


Botox -crows feet

What Does Botox Do?

Botox is most commonly used cosmetically to address dynamic wrinkles such as those around the eyes, mouth, and forehead. Dynamic wrinkles are the pesky lines we all develop as we age as a result of simply living. Laughing, smiling, frowning…if you’ve lived long enough to be well versed in all these expressions, you’re guaranteed to develop some degree of dynamic wrinkles at some point in your life.

Botox works by paralyzing or weakening targeted muscles which reduces the appearance of fine lines and deeper wrinkles around the mouth produced by expressions such as frowning or smiling. The patient above received Botox treatment for crow’s feet around the eyes and the results are clear.

You may be surprised to learn that Botox is not only used to reduce the signs of aging. It is also used to address and treat issues such as:

  • Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis
  • Blepharospasm or uncontrollable blinking
  • Overactive bladder
  • Migraines
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • TMJ Syndrome
  • Gummy Smile

How Long Do Botox Side-Effects Last?

Botox is quick, mostly painless, and maintainable and one of the most commonly used and safest injectables on the market. However this doesn’t mean Botox is without it’s cons. One of the most favorable aspects of Botox is the small, generally very mild range of side effects. Some of the possible side effects include mild tenderness at the injection site or bruising but these side effects are mild and generally short lived. Some people may experience a more severe allergic reaction at the injection site. If you begin experiencing any of the following symptoms: hives, itching; wheezing, difficulty breathing; feeling like you may pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat – seek medical attention immediately.

Unfortunately, the results don’t last forever. We tell our clients their results last for only a few months and are not a permanent solution. In order for Botox to be effective long-term, you’ll need maintenance injections every 3 to 6 months depending on the person. Botox can also reduce a patient’s facial expressions depending on the amount used. This effect may be undesirable for some. Much of this dependent on the technique your surgeon decides to use. My motto is to keep things looking natural. The completely frozen look is not what most clients want.

Who is Botox For?

Most healthy individuals make good candidates for Botox, as the risk for complications is generally low. Like with any cosmetic procedure, there are some exceptions. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid receiving Botox treatments as not enough research has been done to ensure its safety under these conditions.

Individuals with specific allergies are also usually poor candidates for the procedure. Your surgeon may also be hesitant giving Botox treatment to those suffering from skin infections or neurological disorders such as myasthenia gravis. Of course, we always take the time to do full consultations and collect each of our patients individual health records to ensure the safety of all patients prior to any cosmetic procedure.

What are Fillers?

Chances are, if you’ve been on social media in the last few years you’ve probably heard about fillers. From Instagram influencers to Kylie Jenner’s notoriously full lips, fillers have become one of the most talked about non-invasive cosmetic enhancement options on the market. However not all fillers are the same and not all fillers do the same thing.

There are many different types of fillers on the market. From hyaluronic acid fillers like Juvederm and Restylane, to collagen stimulating fillers like Sculptra and Bellafill, there are many different options on the market. They all do have one thing in common though – providing beautiful anti-aging solutions and doing what Botox can’t by restoring youthful volume to the face with long lasting results.


What is a Filler Used For?

Filler is used in a variety of ways, but almost all filler is used to fill or enhance loss of volume or structure due to aging and lack or breakdown of collagen. Dermal fillers can fill smile lines, enhance small lips, and dramatically reduce the sagging and loss of undereye volume due to aging.

The patient pictured here has been treated with Restylane, a hyaluronic acid filler that is excellent at adding volume and a more youthful appearance to the face. Restylane works by integrating into the substance of the skin, attracting water molecules and hydrating the surrounding tissue. The effect is a fuller, more youthful appearance that also minimizes the darkness under the eyes.

Fillers can also be used to treat deep set acne scarring, add structure to the face or even fill in unwanted divots on the thighs or buttocks.

Do Fillers have Side-Effects?

There are very few risks to receiving a filler cosmetic procedure. However, side effects of dermal fillers are usually mild, though they may be more pronounced than those associated with Botox. Swelling, bruising, and rashes or irritation may occur in some patients though many of these symptoms are minor and fade with time. As with Botox, if you experience any severe symptoms in the injected areas, it is best to seek medical attention right away.

Those looking into filler should be aware that if done poorly, filler can produce asymmetry or lumpiness beneath the skin. Don’t go just anywhere for your filler! Do your research. We take time with each client to address their specific concerns and choose the products that will best fit their needs and desired results. It is not uncommon to use 3 or 4 different types of filler in one sitting, depending on the area that needs added volume. We believe that when done well,  fillers can truly turn back the clock and bring your confidence to a whole new level.

What Lasts Longer Botox or Fillers?

Though both Botox and fillers are used to reverse signs of aging, they work differently and affect the skin and facial areas in different ways.

For one thing, dermal fillers last notably longer than Botox, averaging about 18 months to Botox’s modest 3 to 6 months. Botox works by paralyzing targeted muscles which reduces the look of fine lines and wrinkles, but it can’t do much at all to reverse loss of facial volume that also accompanies aging. While Botox reduces the ability to produce facial expression, fillers work to add volume and address different muscle groups affected by the aging process.

If your main concerns have to do with loss volume in the facial muscles, or a desire to enhance certain features such as your lips, then filler treatment is likely the best option for you. If you are wary of filler and looking for an effective procedure with little to no down time or side effects, then Botox may be a great place to start, especially if you’re new to aesthetic procedures. Every patient is unique so we customize treatment plans to fit their desired aesthetic results and individual lifestyles.

filler vs botox

Can You Get Botox and Fillers at the Same Time?

Yes, absolutely! When it comes to finding a treatment plan that works for you, Botox and fillers are not mutually exclusive and can be combined in a multitude of ways. In fact, many patients will see optimal results from a combination treatment plan that may include both Botox and a dermal fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm or Bellafill. For example, a little Botox around the eyes to treat crow’s feet can look beautiful and youthful when combined with a filler to treat deep set smile lines or loss of volume in the lips or under-eye area. Using these treatments in combination to address different areas of concern also leads to a more aesthetically pleasing look. It is also not uncommon to incorporate lasers and radio frequency treatments on the same day to potentiate your results.

Overall, Botox and dermal filler are both effective and low risk procedures that can be life changing for your self esteem. We encourage all our patients to find out what their best options are and know that they can take control of signs of aging no matter what their concerns may be.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get filler to augment my lips and Botox for my lip lines at the same time?

Yes, however, I usually prefer to do these a week or two apart as there is a dispersion factor with both and mixing of the two, even if only a small amount, can interfere with the results.

What about getting a massage right after my Botox treatment?

Absolutely not. Get your massage or your hair done before the Botox or wait a week. Your skin needs ample time to heal after your injection and having any addition skin or muscles treatments right after may increase your risk of painful side-effects.

How can I get rid of bruising from the injections?

Arnica and bromelain can help but I like to bring patients back for a quick Vbeam laser treatment to resolve bruising quickly. The lady below suffered a terrible bruise after a fall. I treated her with Vbeam and in 24 hours, the bruising was much better.


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