If you're looking to bring some youth into your face and banish wrinkles without resorting to daily wrinkle creams, you may be considering more permanent beauty alternatives. Cosmetic fillers and botox injections are two of the most popular cosmetic treatments available today. Though they sound similar, prospective patients should know the difference between them before deciding on the best course of beautifying treatments.
Similarities Do Exist...
Part of the reason botox and filler injections are often confused is that they do have some common traits. Both treatments are injected directly into the face at the site of the unwanted wrinkle or line. Like botox treatments, the effects of some filler can last between 4 and 6 months after leaving the doctor's office. Both injections also share immediate side effects, such as bruising, swelling, redness, or itching, all of which fade within a day or two of the treatment.
...But Big Differences Are Apparent
Despite the few similarities they share, botox and cosmetic fillers have quite a few differences, which can be broken down into three basic categories:
Cosmetic fillers are comprised of a wide variety of substances, from acids to synthetic chemicals to your own body fat, which has been removed, cleaned, and re-injected. Different fillers come with different risks. For example, body fat injections may lead to infection at the site of treatment, requiring antibiotics. Some synthetic fillers can cause permanent disfigurement if used improperly, as well.
Due to the many options available, patients attempting to get filler treatments must undergo an allergy test for the specific filler being used, and must be retested if they switch to a new product. However, patients who use the same filler each time need only be tested once.
Botox treatments always contain the same substance: botulinum toxin type A. Contrary to what the name suggests, this toxin is harmless when used as a treatment for wrinkles or facial creases. When using botox, risks are minimal. Infection is possible at the site of the injections, but rare. Eye drooping can also occur if the injection site is rubbed within 12 hours of treatment, or if the patient fails to keep his or her head up for a recommended 4 hours after leaving the doctor's office.
Because all botox injections contain the same substance, an allergy test only needs to be performed once to rule out the risk of a reaction after treatment.
Cosmetic fillers work by puffing up the skin under a wrinkle from inside, filling the space between the wrinkle and the muscle with fluid or fat. This does not affect the behavior of the muscle or nerves in the face at all, but may stretch the skin with repeated or overly frequent uses. Typically, the change in appearance happens very quickly, with many patients looking noticeably different as they walk out of the doctor's office.
Botox injections cause a reduction in wrinkles by relaxing the constantly tense muscles that cause them in the first place, causing them to go slack and allowing the skin to smooth out. Rounds of botox treatments typically take a day or two to show a difference in the patient's face, since the botox must first bind to the nerves that control muscle tenseness before it can cause them to relax.
Fat transplants and synthetic fillers don't affect the way your muscles, nerves, or skin behave, so you probably won't see an appreciable difference in your face if you use these treatments and then discontinue them. However, some stimulant fillers can promote collagen production in the skin, which can lean to fewer wrinkles even after treatments are discontinued.
Botox treatments essentially train your muscles to relax over time, causing them to form fewer wrinkles. Wrinkles present before treatment may fade even after botox treatments are discontinued, though fresh injections will always produce the best effect.
If you're looking to permanently take a few years off of your face, beautifying injections may be for you. Just be sure you're already informed before you go to the doctor's office and you could be looking at a wrinkle-free you in no time!