Comparing Botox and dermal facial fillers is like comparing watermelons and avocados. Both botox and fillers are injected under the skin to restore a more youthful appearance, but their chemical action is completely different. Understanding these differences is important for you to decide which non-invasive cosmetic facial procedure is right for you.

Botox (Botulinum toxin) was approved by the FDA for cosmetic use in 2002. Since then, it has become one of the premier injectable solutions for eliminating dynamic facial lines and wrinkles. Botox “numbs” or relaxes facial muscles, whose constant movement over time creates age-related fine lines, wrinkles, and skin folds. Botox decreases facial movement and therefore helps to prevent more lines and wrinkles from occurring. It is commonly used to treat frown lines, crow’s feet and other dynamic wrinkles. Other types of botulinum toxin injections include Dysport and Xeomin.

By contrast, dermal facial fillers such as Juvederm and Restylane add facial volume in much the same way as the body’s own naturally occurring collagen does. However, with age the body produces less and less collagen, resulting in lost facial volume and skin elasticity. Dermal facial fillers plump the skin, thereby erasing years from the overall appearance. They can effectively fill in creases and lines and restore areas of lost volume.

Botox treatments target in between the eyebrows, the forehead, and the skin around the eyes and mouth. These are the precise locations where muscle action happens the most. Frown lines form in horizontal patterns across the forehead. Creases appear gradually in the middle of the brow line. Squinting and smiling in time produces Crow’s Feet and laugh lines.

Plastic surgeons recommend dermal facial fillers to treat a sagging chin and jawline, droopy cheeks, and deeper wrinkles requiring added volume to diminish or soften their appearance.

Botox attacks dynamic lines and wrinkles which are caused by muscle movement. Fillers treat static lines and wrinkles that are not motion-induced but which result from normal aging or unhealthy lifestyles including smoking and frequent alcohol consumption.

Whether Botox or dermal facial filler, keep in mind that neither treatment should be considered permanent. Each requires multiple follow-up treatments in order to maintain the same result. On the whole, dermal fillers have a longer shelf life than Botox but we’re talking in terms of months, not years. Botox treatments generally last around four months.

Many patients choose Botox or dermal fillers because they don’t want surgery or the related discomfort and downtime. However, if a longer-lasting solution is what you are looking for, then consider a traditional facelift or combination of cosmetic facial procedures including Botox or dermal fillers.

To get the answers you need, talk to a qualified plastic surgeon and find out whether you are a candidate for a cosmetic facial procedure.

Dr. Kyle S. Choe is a board certified facial plastic surgeon and hair restoration specialist with offices located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contact The Choe Center for Facial Plastic Surgery at 757.389.5850 for a personal consultation.