Here is your guide to injectable treatments.
Both of these products can effectively soften lines and rejuvenate or enhance your appearance. They are complementary to each other and function differently from one another.
Botox® is a neuromodulator, of which there are several different brands with slightly unique properties: Botox® (Allergan), Dysport® (Galderma), Neuceiva (Evolus) and Xeomin® (Merz). Neuromodulators temporarily relax the muscles of facial expression to soften dynamic lines: lines that appear when we are expressive, such as frown lines and smile lines. Depending on the product and location, they take a few days to take effect. When performed well, results look natural. You should expect people to tell you “you’re looking good”, or “you look rested”. Neuromodulators for cosmetic purposes last, on average, 3-4 months before their effects gradually and completely wear off. There is evidence, however, that repeated use of neuromodulators leads to increased collagen production, so in addition to preventing dynamic lines from becoming static lines (more on that below), there are benefits to regular use.
Fillers are injectable products that decrease lines by adding volume. These target mainly static lines (lines that are present at rest) and volume loss. As we age, we lose volume in certain fat compartments in our faces, and our bone structure also changes. Fillers can restore this volume and therefore restore balance to the face. They can also enhance your appearance to give you slightly more volume in your cheekbones or lips, for example. Again, the goal here is a natural, better-rested, balanced appearance.
There are multiple different classes of filler, but the most commonly used fillers today are the hyaluronic acid fillers. Hyaluronic acid, “HA”, is a naturally occurring molecule in the layer of skin called the dermis. It has numerous appealing properties, including the fact that it can be dissolved. We have on hand an “eraser” if we need it, in the form of an enzyme called hyaluronidase. Some other types of filler are semipermanent and these cannot be dissolved or easily removed.
How do Fillers and Neuromodulators work together?
Neuromodulators like Botox® relax muscles of facial expression to soften dynamic lines and prevent static lines like the “11s” between the eyebrows from forming. Fillers restore volume where it is lost or missing, such as the cheeks or lips, and enhance facial proportions. When used together, results can be better than from either alone, and they can help each other’s effects to last longer.
How do I know what is right for me?
This is where you need an expert opinion. When coming in for a cosmetic consultation, it is helpful if you can identify one or a few areas that are of concern to you. Now, get ready for the tricky part – we rarely start by treating right where you are pointing! This may seem counterintuitive, but to get the best and the most natural-looking results, the face must be treated as a whole. Volume loss in the cheekbones affects the nasolabial folds, the volume of the lips, and loss of elasticity in the lower face. A well-trained injector can tell you what is needed and in what sequence, and explain why. An experienced injector can also tell you what you don’t need.
The array of products available and new products that will be arriving soon to the market make this a very exciting time in cosmetic dermatology. I look forward to keeping you up to date on these developments.
This article is intended to provide general information and is not intended as a substitute for assessment and care from your doctor.