Do Botox and injectable fillers do the same thing?
They most certainly do not. Botox (the brand name for onabotulinumtoxin A) is a highly purified chemical that blocks muscle activity. Fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane, etc. are naturally occurring compounds that, when injected, occupy space.
When Botox is used, the goal is to limit muscle activity that results in wrinkles or furrows. Technically speaking, Botox interferes with the nerve telling the muscle to tighten. Certainly the most common location treated is between the inner eyebrows where two vertical creases can occur from muscle activity. Other places where Botox can be used are the crow’s feet area around the outer corners of the eyes and between the eyebrows and the hairline where forehead wrinkles have developed. There are other places in which Botox can be valuable, but the principle of its use is to limit, weaken or nearly eliminate muscle activity that results in wrinkles. It is important not interfere with a natural appearance of the face and a to maintain a face that is able to express emotion appropriately. Botox, when used properly, will enhance the face in a natural way, rejuvenating it without giving it an unnatural or imbalanced appearance.
Certain areas where wrinkles or furrows occur you would not want Botox treatment. Those are places where Botox use would interfere with the natural smile or natural function. In these places, a filler can certainly be considered.
Fillers affect wrinkles and furrows in a completely different fashion. In places where wrinkles or furrows have occurred from gravity and not muscle activity or where muscle activity should not be disturbed, fillers can help rejuvenate the face attractively and naturally. Certainly the most common filler I use is Juvederm. Juvederm is a naturally occurring chemical called hyaluronic acid and can be found within most tissues between the cells and as part of the structural component of soft tissue. By carefully injecting a filler into an area where a furrow gives the face an older appearance, that appearance can be softened and improved. This can provide a significant rejuvenation result. The most common place to undergo filler therapy is around the mouth where the furrow extends from the corner of the nose down to the corner of the mouth. These “nasolabial furrows” are very well treated using Juvederm. There are furrows and shadows that develop below the corners of the mouth that can also effectively be made less noticeable with the use of fillers.
Sometimes a filler and Botox treatment can be combined. Not only can they be performed in different locations at the same time, but sometimes one will enhance the results obtained by the other. In people who undergo Botox therapy but there remains a residual wrinkle in the skin, a treatment with filler can reduce or eliminate that residual crease in the skin and further enhance the results of Botox therapy.
Both Botox and fillers are minor office procedures and can be done without significant interference with day-to-day activities and with minimal post-treatment inconveniences.