Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About: Botulinum toxins Versus Fillers 

Choosing the right moisturizer is hard; choosing the right non-invasive treatment is even harder—particularly if you’re a first-timer. “The difference between botulinum toxins and fillers can be difficult for patients to understand, especially with all the different brand names on the market. Patients ask for brands by name because they’ve heard them before, but they really don’t know exactly what they do.

Q) How can I remember which one does what?

Dr Lam Bee Lan, says it’s very common for patients to come in and be confused between fillers and botulinum toxins, as to which one volumizes and which one decreases muscle movement. Botulinum toxins relax the muscles that cause wrinkles, while fillers either add or replace lost volume as well as enhance features of the face such as the chin, nose etc.”

Q) What should I get if I want to fix wrinkles?

Botulinum toxins help relax facial muscles to smooth the appearance of expression lines, like crow’s-feet, the “11s,” and forehead wrinkles. Fillers, on the other hand, aim to restore lost fullness to the face, lips and hands (think fillers = fullness). Dermal fillers work to fill in areas of concern, such as deep-set lines around the mouth or loss of firmness in the cheeks. Fillers can include hyaluronic based–ones like Juvéderm, Restylane and Teosyal. Additionally, there are fillers like Ellanse which are longer lasting and/or permanent.

Q) Is it going to hurt?

Another question that is often asked. In general, people are mildly concerned about the potential pain factor involved in botulinum toxins or filler injections, but almost all are surprised when the discomfort is negligible.

Q) Will people be able to tell I had anything done?

It looks like a small mosquito bite. But that only lasts a few minutes, and after that, no one can tell that you had it done.

Q) Can I get both?

Like most treatments, it depends on which areas of concern you want to address. For many patients, a combination of botulinum toxins and fillers can provide best results.

Q) What’s the best age to get them?

Generally, the age of patients can vary and people from 18 to 75 come in for these treatments,” Dr. Lam says. “It all depends on the goal and personal situation. But patients who start at a relatively younger age say in their late twenties, actually age much better than patients who start later, say in their 40s.”

Q) How long will they last?

A typical botulinum toxin treatment lasts about three to four months, but this time frame could be slightly more or less depending on the patient, other treatments they receive and their skin care routine. To maintain results, you’ll need to schedule regular treatments in three-month intervals.

Fillers, on the other hand, have a slightly different time frame. They can last six or even up to 18–24 months in the case of Juvéderm Voluma, depending on the type. There are newer fillers such as Ellanse and Juvéderm Volbella that last up to 12 months in the lips, which is a great thing for people who don’t want to have repeated trips.