Does trying to figure out the difference between dermal fillers and neurotoxins leave a permanent furrow in your brow? If you’re considering injectable treatments but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place! Part of my job is to help you understand the difference between the types of injectables we use during cosmetic procedures. The two categories of injectables are neurotoxins and dermal fillers. And while they are both among the most popular anti-aging treatments used today, they are different beasts! Here’s a little “Injectables 101” for your reading pleasure…

How are dermal fillers and neurotoxins the same?

Well, they both:

  • Are minimally invasive with no downtime
  • Not permanent (treatments have to be repeated to maintain effect)
  • Offer natural-looking results

Is that where the similarities end? Short answer: pretty much. Here’s some background to explain more.

What are dermal fillers?

As we start to age, our bodies aren’t able to produce collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin. Collagen and elastin are essential for tight skin, and hyaluronic acid provides us with plump, smooth skin. Unfortunately, in our 30s, not only does our skin lose the ability to produce these as efficiently as before, but cell turnover will start to slow as well. As a result, we start to see expression lines around the eyes, forehead and mouth.

Dermal fillers are made of hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies. There are also hyaluronic acid fillers that contain the numbing agent lidocaine (to keep you a little more comfortable during your treatment!). According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, dermal fillers can be an effective way to:

  • Plump thin lips and restore a youthful contour
  • Restore lost volume to cheeks and undereyes
  • Soften and smooth facial creases and wrinkles
  • Improve the appearance of recessed scars

The FDA has approved the use of dermal fillers to safely and effectively treat wrinkles when injected into certain areas of facial tissue. There are many types of dermal fillers offered, we like and use:

  • Juvederm® Ultra XC
  • Juvederm® Volbella XC
  • Juvederm® Voluma
  • Restylane®
  • Restylane® LYFT
  • Restylane® Silk
  • Restylane® Refine
  • Restylane® Define
  • Belotero Balance®
  • Radiesse®
  • Bellafill®
  • Sculptra® Aesthetic

What are neurotoxins?

Neurotoxins are also used to treat the signs of aging, except this treatment is administered with a substance called Botulinum Toxin Type A. According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, these injections are the most popular cosmetic treatments administered in the United States.

Neurotoxin injectables are most commonly used to smooth wrinkles that are a result of frowning, smiling, squinting or other common facial expressions. When this treatment is administered, the neurotoxin blocks nerve impulses to the facial muscles, which causes the muscles to relax. So, in turn, expressions soften and wrinkles are drastically reduced. It’s important to remember that the effects of neurotoxin injectable treatments aren’t immediate. Full results will appear within one to two weeks. The neurotoxin treatments that we like and use include:

  • BOTOX®
  • Dysport®
  • Xeomin®

Although these injectable treatments are commonly used to treat wrinkles, they can also be used to treat excessive sweating, TMJ and soften vertical neck bands.

What are the key differences between dermal fillers and neurotoxins?

Both dermal fillers and neurotoxins are used to treat the effects of aging but in different ways. Here are a few key differences between the two injectable treatments.

The difference in the time it takes for the treatments to take effect. When a patient receives neurotoxin treatments, it will usually take a few days to take effect. In most cases, the full effects of neurotoxin injectables can be seen two weeks after treatment is administered. One the other hand, the results of injectable fillers can start to appear instantaneously. However, when fillers are administered, it’s typical for swelling to occur within the first few days.

Neurotoxin injectables are usually a better option for those who want to reduce the appearance of dynamic wrinkles. This is because it will reduce the motion of the facial muscles. The forehead, between eyebrows or “11’s” (as this area is commonly called) and crows feet are ideal areas to treat with neurotoxin injectable treatments.

Dermal fillers are usually better suited for static wrinkles. These are wrinkles that are visible even when there’s no expression and the face is relaxed. These areas will benefit the most from dermal fillers because the fillers will bring fullness to areas of the skin with static wrinkles.

Dermal fillers and neurotoxins are both ideal ways to treat wrinkles and recapture a youthful glow, but only an experienced medical aesthetics provider knows how to wield a needle to achieve the best possible results for you. Before committing your time, wallet and beautiful face to a treatment, it’s good to educate yourself on the possibilities. Get a free consultation to learn about the best treatments for you.