Botox Vs. Fillers: Dermatologists on the Difference Between the Injectables

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Botox is actually a brand of botulinum neurotoxin that has been adopted as the catch-all term for the treatment. So while you may book an appointment for “Botox,” you may be getting another brand like Dysport, Xeomin, or Jeuveau. All of them are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and which one you get will depend on what your dermatologist recommends based on your anatomy, needs, or goals.

What to Expect at a Botox Appointment

A Botox appointment will usually begin with a consultation where you discuss your medical history, your goals, and have “before” photos taken of your face (or wherever you’ll be getting the treatment). You may also be given an ice pack to do some light numbing before the procedure.

“The most common areas for cosmetic Botox are the forehead, between the eyes, and crow’s feet,” says Dr. Hibler. “But it has a number of other cosmetic uses; ‘bunny lines’ on the nose, turning the corners of the mouth up, reducing nostril flare, or even lifting the tip of the nose by relaxing the muscle that pulls it downward.”

Once you and your dermatologist discuss the areas that make the most sense, they’ll disinfect your skin and distribute a series of small injections in the treatment area with tiny needles (not the same size as, say, a vaccination). “It’s very quick and painless,” says board-certified dermatologist Morgan Rabach, MD, who is based in New York City. “You just need a few minutes to ice it afterwards and you might see a few tiny bumps before it’s absorbed.” Dermatologists also recommend avoiding any strenuous activity for a few hours to allow the molecule to fully bind.

A good practitioner will usually err on the conservative side when it comes to dosage, and once the first pass settles in (a week or two after the treatment), you can always go in for more. Once you’re happy with the result, it should last three to four months before you’ll see your dynamic lines reappear and regain full motion. 

Botox: Before and After

Botox Risks

As with anything, there are some risks involved. Swelling, bruising, redness, and headache are minor side effects, and in some cases, temporary ptosis (or a drooping eyelid), says Dr. Hibler. 

Botox Costs

The treatment can cost anywhere between $300 to $1,200, depending on where you live and how many units of Botox were administered (though some dermatologists charge by area instead of individual units).

What Is Filler?

Dermal and volumizing fillers are cosmetic gels commonly made of hyaluronic acid, a substance which binds to water to restore volume, says Dr. Hibler. The volume essentially plumps the face and therefore helps fills out any lines or improve the appearance of sagging in the skin. 

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