What is the Difference between Botox® and Dermal Filler Injections?

Botox® vs dermal fillersCosmetic surgeons, dermatologists and Botox® administrators are often asked the difference between dermal fillers and Botox®. Because of the lack of awareness and information available to the general population there is common misconception that they both are more or less the same. However, the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM) aims to eliminate these misunderstandings and help medical professionals answer their patients’ questions on Botox® vs dermal fillers with confidence.

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How does Botox® Work?

Botox® is the Botulinum toxin which is a natural and purified protein that temporarily relaxes the facial muscles responsible for lines and wrinkles. It is also used to treat other medical conditions eg: hyperhidrosis, migraines to name a couple. Botox® is a brand of Botulinum toxin which is most commonly used and most well-known product in the market. It is manufactured by Allergan and was developed after decades of medical research and studies and is now used extensively by medical professionals. It is a certified product, safe to use in medical and cosmetic procedures.

Side-Effects of Botox®

While Botox® does not require bedrest or the observance of a healing period, there is often slight swelling and bruising experienced after the treatment because of the needle. It can be easily covered by makeup and there are no side-effects in the long run which means patients can continue with their normal daily routines at once and even take long flights, if need be.

Who is Botox® for?

Botox® is suitable for many types of patients and is mostly used to rejuvenate the skin and reduce wrinkles and fine lines. The best Botox® injection target area is between the eyebrows which will improve the appearance of severe frown lines for a period of a few months usually. Another common injection site is on the side of the eyes to reduce moderate or severe crow’s feet.

Who Should be Advised Against Botox®?

Patients with medical conditions like muscle problems or damaged nerves should be identified before the procedure to avoid post-treatment complications. Botox® is also not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women. While there is no clinical evidence to prove the harmful effects of Botox® on the mother or the child, medical professionals prefer not to treat women under these conditions.

What are the Results of the Botox® Injection?

Botox® softens the lines caused by frequent facial expressions and is adjusted according to the patients needs to make sure the results are natural. The duration for which the results last varies from individual to individual but is usually around 3 to 6 months.

Patients usually express their problem areas and what they need treatment for to the Botox® administrator. A Botox® administrator should go beyond this specific area and analyze the face as a whole. This is done to ensure that treating that specific area would not affect the natural look of the patient’s face. Sometimes patients complain of looking tired and grumpy all the time due to certain lines, but it is not usually attributed to these specific lines and multiple factors come into play which should be discussed at length with the patient.


How do Fillers Work?

As people age, elastin, a natural collagen in the skin, reduces and cells are incapable of producing more of this youthful component. The skin gets dryer and thinner, losing the ability to heal itself. Humans are born with an abundant supply of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) in their body but as they get older, the amount of HA diminishes, reducing the support provided to the skin and causing lines to form. Dermal fillers lift and smooth out the targeted areas of all folds and wrinkles by adding a subtle amount of volume. The person emerges with a visible difference and an overall fresher look.

Treating the fine lines and wrinkles using dermal filler involves injecting the naturally occurring HA into the area using a tiny needle. There is minimal discomfort and the treatment procedure is not very long. The aesthetic results produced by the dermal filler treatment are visible immediately following the procedure. Treating wrinkles using fillers is a fast, no-scar process. There are different types of dermal fillers to treat different parts of the face such as fine lines on delicate areas and deep depressions in the skin. Fillers are also injected into the lips to add more volume by a safe and medically-approved procedure.

Side-Effects of Dermal Fillers

The procedure is usually half an hour to 45 minutes long and produces visible results that last for up to 18 months following the treatment. In some cases, the results may even prolong up to 24 months, however the treatment is totally reversible. Patients can expect slight swelling or bruising as expected with any injectable treatment. It only lasts for a day and can easily be covered up using a concealer.

Who are Dermal Fillers for?

Facial fillers are suitable for a variety of patients but it is mostly prescribed to rejuvenate the skin and reduce fine lines or wrinkles. Those who want to add volume or seek a symmetric facial structure also use dermal fillers. Fillers help restore the lost volume and reverse the natural aging process by giving patients a brighter and fresher appearance.

Who Should be Advised Against Dermal Fillers?

Even though there are no known side-effects or risks to pregnant or nursing mothers, IAPAM strongly advises administrators against treating these patients with dermal fillers.

What are the Results of the Treatment?

The results seen after injecting dermal fillers are very subtle making everyone else believe that it there is a natural glow to the face and minimal effects of aging. Treatment will last for about 18 to 24 months and the fullness begins to soften gradually, making the change in appearance almost unnoticeable. When the effects wear off, patients can come back for another series of dermal filler injections.

Patients often approach dermal filler administrators with a specific area they have a problem with and need a solution for. It is good practice to not just look into treatment for that specific wrinkle or line but consider the face as a whole and how the fillers will affect it. It is every dermal filler administrator’s objective to achieve a natural look when injecting facial fillers.

Often patients are told they look way older or much too tired because of their frown lines or worry lines but it is not only due to these specific lines that they face these problems, multiple factors come into play and they should be discussed at length with the patient. The key is to make the patient feel like they are in safe hands and reassure them using medical knowledge about the benefits of dermal fillers. Patients should be encouraged to speak about their concerns freely so the practitioners can fully understand what they hope to get out of this treatment and help them achieve their desired results.


Botox® injections are mainly used to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the forehead, between the eyebrows or around the nose. Botox when injected into the area reduces the amount of muscle contraction in that specific facial region to minimize the deepening of the lines and producing a reverse-aging effect.

Dermal fillers on the other hand are increasing the volume of muscle tissue underneath the fine lines and wrinkles. It is normally reserved for creases and folds in the lower half of the face, i.e. the nose to mouth area. It also enhances the volume of cheeks, lips and under-eye regions. Dermal fillers treat areas of the face where muscles are usually at rest as opposed to Botox® which is used to treat muscle tissues damaged by frequent use.

It is possible for a patient to require the administration of Botox® and dermal filler injections both depending on their facial structure. Patients who have severe facial lines that deepen as they make different facial expressions and are also visible when their face is at rest require injections of  Botox® and dermal fillers. The treatments are not mutually exclusive and can be recommended to the same patient.

Medical professionals owe it to patients to fully inform them of the differences between dermal fillers and Botox®. Patients are mostly only aware of Botox® and think it can fix all types of aging skin problems. It is the duty of the medical professionals to properly guide them on the results and side-effects of Botox® vs dermal fillers.

IAPAM urges all medial professionals to seek more information on the implications, indications and precautions on the treatment they are specialized in to give their patients the best experience.


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1 Comment
  1. Jhon Smith

    Great knowledgeable differences shared for botox and dermal fillers. I totally agree with you with the point that most people here, are aware about botox as compared to dermal fillers. But despite the side effects, having both treatments will produce natural results.


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