What’s the Difference Between Facial Fillers and Botox?

The short answer from a cosmetic dermatologist
Woman getting facial filler injection

Q: How are facial fillers different from Botox?

A: Botox and fillers may seem similar, but both agents are designed to do two different things.

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To understand the difference, you should know that there are two main types of facial wrinkles:

  • Dynamic wrinkles are caused by muscle activity seen with motion (think crow’s feet at the corner of your eyes or the lines on your forehead when you raise your eyebrows). These types of wrinkles are from facial movement.
  • Static wrinkles are lines or folds that can be seen when the face is relaxed (think laugh lines). These types of wrinkles are from the skin losing elasticity and collagen as we age.

Dynamic wrinkles are best treated with Botox. The three most common areas are in the upper face around the eyes, between the brows and the forehead.

Static wrinkles are often treated with both Botox (to treat the underlying muscle) and a filler to treat the lines at rest. Fillers are also used to treat volume loss in the lower face (like cheeks and smile lines). They can also be used to enhance volume, like in sunken cheek bones or to plump up the lips.

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Most patients do not require anesthesia prior to getting Botox or fillers, unless sensitive areas like the lips are being injected.

Not every wrinkle and fold should be treated the same. And it’s not uncommon to use both facial fillers and Botox in one appointment.

If you’re interested in learning more about these options, talk to your cosmetic specialist.

— Dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, MD

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