Botox® and Dermal Fillers Comparison

By Dr. TRACY MOUNTFORD, MBBS MBCAM

Injectable cosmetic treatments, particularly BOTOX® and dermal fillers, have seen increasing popularity in recent years thanks to their ability to refresh and enhance areas of the face without the need for surgery. However, there is often confusion around how BOTOX® and dermal fillers work and which concerns they’re designed to treat.

On this page we highlight the main differences and similarities between the treatments and explore where on the face each of them tends to be most effective.

What is BOTOX®?

BOTOX® – the most popular brand of botulinum toxin – is a natural, purified protein that relaxes facial muscles, thereby reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles that excessive facial movements cause over time. It can also be prescribed as a treatment for certain medical conditions, including chronic migraines and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). BOTOX® is a non-permanent treatment administered by injection.

What are dermal fillers?

As the name suggests, dermal fillers are designed to ‘fill’ deep-set lines and wrinkles or hollow areas of the face that can develop with age, thus giving the appearance of smoother, more youthful skin. They are also popular for adding volume to the lips. Dermal fillers, such as Juvéderm and Restylane, are made from hyaluronic acid, a natural component of the skin that has a plumping, softening and hydrating effect. The treatment is non-permanent and administered by injection.

What are the main differences?

  • BOTOX® relaxes the muscles to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, while dermal fillers add volume to deep-set lines and wrinkles, hollow areas of the face or, popularly, to the lips.
  • BOTOX® is considered most effective for treating forehead wrinkles, frown lines and crow’s feet; dermal fillers are often recommended to add volume to hollow cheeks, tear troughs and lips.
  • While BOTOX® treatment usually lasts between 3 and 4 months, the effects of dermal fillers tend to last for up to 12 months.

To see the results that BOTOX® can achieve, view our before and after gallery here, and take a look at our dermal fillers gallery here.

What are the main similarities?

  • Both BOTOX® and dermal fillers are injectable, non-surgical and non-permanent treatments.
  • Both procedures take, on average, around 30 minutes and involve little, if any, downtime.
  • Both treatments are designed to give a fresh, natural and youthful appearance to the skin.

Can you have both?

Yes, it is possible to have a combination of BOTOX® and dermal filler treatments — in fact, in some cases it is the recommended solution. For example, if your concern was both crow’s feet and hollow under-eye ‘bags’, your practitioner might recommend balancing a small amount of BOTOX® to treat the crow’s feet with a dermal filler to add volume to the tear trough under the eyes. This possibility would be discussed during your consultation.

Which is better – BOTOX® or dermal fillers?

It is difficult to make a like-for-like comparison between BOTOX® and dermal fillers, since they are very different treatments that serve different purposes. Some practitioners say that BOTOX® is generally most effective in the upper third of the face (for example, crow’s feet and frown lines) and dermal fillers to lift, support and restore volume to the lower face (for example, nasolabial folds and lips). However, these are generalisations and the recommended course of treatment would depend on your unique anatomy and facial concerns.

Comparison table

The table below summarises the main features of BOTOX® and dermal fillers, providing a quick comparison guide for your reference.

       

BOTOX

Dermal Fillers

Common areas of treatment

Forehead wrinkles, frown lines, crow’s feet, puckered chin, neck and jaw line

Hollow cheeks, nasolabial folds, lips, beneath the eyes

Typical duration of treatment

20–30 minutes

30–40 minutes

Length of time treatment lasts

3–4 months

6–12 months

Age range of typical patient

27–65 years

Lips: 20–65 years

Other areas: 30–65 years

Possible side effects

Bruising at injection site

Slight swelling

Headache

Bruising

Numbness

Slight swelling

Type of wrinkle treated

Wrinkles that appear as a result of muscles tensing

Deep-set wrinkles and creases that are present regardless of facial expression

Typical goal of treatment

To smooth fine lines brought on by ageing

To fill out deep lines, sculpt cheek and jaw lines, plump lips and hollowed out areas

Prices from

£350

£350

*DISCLAIMER Patient experience and results may vary. These are dependent on a number of factors such as lifestyle, age and medical history.

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