When it comes to combating wrinkles, injectables have been all the rage for several decades now – so much so that Botox has become a household brand name. Of course, Botox isn’t the only injectable anti-wrinkle solution; Dysport and Xeomin, products that use the same main ingredient as Botox (Botulinum toxin A), have also been on the market for some time. Moreover, dermal fillers like Juvederm and Restylane offer a different category of injectable altogether. With that in mind, which type of injectable is better for wrinkles: Botox (and its counterparts) or dermal fillers?
On the surface, Botox and dermal fillers have a lot in common: they’re both injected into the skin with the goal of reducing and preventing wrinkles. However, these injectables function quite differently. The main ingredient of Botox, Botulinum toxin A, is a paralyzing agent. When injected into one’s facial muscles, the toxin cuts off key nerve signals, preventing specific muscle groups from moving. As a result, the targeted muscles relax and soften for an extended period of time, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, fill the face’s soft tissue with substances that increase volume (e.g., hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHA), poly-L-lactic acid, polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), etc. Plumping up targeted areas minimizes wrinkles, giving the skin a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Now that we’ve gone over the functional differences between Botox and dermal fillers, we must determine whether one option performs better than the other in regards to wrinkle reduction. The simple yet unsatisfying answer is that both injectables hold the potential to be equally as effective. They do, however, differ in terms of how long it takes to witness results and how long said results last. On average, Botox results are visible within 1-2 weeks following treatment (though some patients express immunity to these effects). The effects of an initial Botox treatment tend to last about 4-6 months. Additional treatments are required to maintain and extend these results.
For the most part, the effects of dermal fillers last longer than those of Botox (one year or more), but this will vary from one person to the next (it also depends on which type of filler is used and where it’s injected). It also takes about the same amount of time to notice results after injection (about two weeks), though some patients see a difference in a matter of days. Like Botox, additional treatments are necessary to keep up appearances.
The outcomes of Botox and dermal fillers are sometimes distinct as well. Dermal fillers tend to deliver more “natural” results because they trigger the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin. While Botox results can also look quite natural, they can also contribute to puffiness and facial stiffness. In either case, the key to natural-looking results lies with the practitioner’s skill, how much material is injected, where it’s injected, and how the patient’s body responds.
Like any cosmetic treatment, both Botox and dermal fillers can have certain side effects. Patients may be more likely to receive these side effects depending on their medical history and use of certain medications. As such, it’s crucial to discuss Botox and dermal fillers with your dermatologist to properly assess the possible pros and cons.
Botox side effects include bruising at the injection site, drooping eyelids, headaches, and more. You shouldn’t receive a Botox (or similar) injection if you are pregnant/nursing, prone to deep scarring, or have weak facial muscles or a neuromuscular disease (e.g., multiple sclerosis). Side effects for dermal fillers include bruising, infection, itching, scarring, sores, numbness, and redness. In very rare instance, dermal fillers can also result in severe complications such as stroke, skin discoloration, blindness, and more, so they’re considered somewhat riskier than Botox injections.
Neither Botox nor dermal filler injections are covered by health insurance providers since they are cosmetic procedures. So, patients have to empty their own pockets for either treatment. Generally speaking, dermal fillers are the more expensive option, ranging from $600 to $1,200 per treatment. Botox injections tend to cost about half that much.
So, which option is better for treating wrinkles? The answer depends on your specific needs, priorities, and risk profile. All else being equal, Botox offers a cheaper, albeit less enduring (on average) solution for reducing wrinkles. Dermal fillers may cost more, but they often last longer and offer more natural-looking results. You must also take potential side effects of both treatments into consideration with your dermatologist to ensure you do what’s best for your health. At Premier Dermatology Partners, our experts are committed to helping our patients find ways to look and feel their best. Botox/Xeomin and dermal fillers are both included in our offerings.
To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.