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What Is the Difference Between Botox & Fillers?

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A comparison between botox and fillers, with an illustration of a woman's face in the middle and lines pointing to different parts of her face, listing what both botox and fillers are perfect for

Removing wrinkles and getting back a youthful appearance is more approachable than ever. Advancements in dermatology and cosmetics have made it safe and convenient to regain smooth, beautiful skin. With so many options available today, it can be hard to decipher what’s what.

Botox might be the most well-known cosmetic wrinkle remover. But new brands and different types of dermal fillers have made their way into the industry. Knowing the difference will help you decide what product is best for your lifestyle and health.

Any decision about cosmetic skincare should always be made with the advice and partnership of a professional. Consultations at Iconic Beauty Aesthetics are an opportunity for our beauty experts to assess your skin and a chance for you to ask questions. The right choice is different for everybody.

So let’s explore what’s different between Botox and dermal fillers. 

What’s Botox?

Botox is the most popular brand of cosmetic neuromodulators. Neuromodulators are substances containing tiny amounts of toxin that are injected into the skin (body). Upon injection, neural signals are blocked, freezing muscles in that localized region. This effect is temporary and full muscle function returns after 3-4 months.

When muscles are injected, they lose the ability to communicate with your brain and no longer contract. Contracting muscles create wrinkles when they are pulled and stretched with facial movements. Preventing skin from being scrunched, stretched, and folded smoothes it out over time.

There are many neuromodulators available in the market. Botox was the first to be used in cosmetic facial treatment in 1989. Injecting Botox is considered a very safe and effective practice when administered by a professional.

When Is Botox Used For?

In recent years, Botox has gained popularity as a cosmetic enhancement. Botox can be used cosmetically in a very safe and effective way, reducing wrinkles, improving skin texture and tone, and helping to prevent new wrinkles from forming.

There are 3 main ways that Botox is used: to smooth out forehead lines, to reduce crow’s feet around the eyes, and to minimize frown lines between the eyebrows. But Botox can also be used on other areas of the face, such as the neck and décolleté.

Using Botox to Smooth Forehead Lines

A common use of Botox is to smooth out forehead lines. These lines and wrinkles form above your brow when you raise your eyebrows, crunching the frontalis muscle. Botox is injected to relax the forehead muscles. This reduces brow-raising, resulting in a smoother, more youthful appearance.

Using Botox to Minimize Frown Lines

Frown lines are wrinkles that form between the eyebrows and are caused by frowning or squinting. Botox can be injected into the muscles between the eyebrows to relax them and reduce the appearance of frown lines, also known as Glabellar lines.

Using Botox to Reduce Crow’s Feet

Crow’s feet are wrinkles that form at the corners of the eyes and are caused by smiling, squinting, or laughing. Your eyelid is forced closed using the orbicularis oculi muscle. Injecting Botox into this muscle around the eye reduces scrunching and reduces the appearance of crow’s feet.

Other Uses of Botox

In addition to its use as a beauty product, Botox has been approved as a treatment for certain conditions. These include:

  • Hyperhidrosis. This describes abnormal, excessive sweating not related to temperature or being active. Botox can be injected into the area of your body that is over-sweating. 
  • Bruxism. Also known as teeth grinding, this condition can be treated with Botox. Injections are made into the masseter muscles, which relieves tension in the jaw.
A before and after comparison of dermal fillers, showcasing plump, fuller lips

What are Fillers?

Dermal fillers are substances injected into the skin to achieve a desired cosmetic effect. Fillers are used to restore facial volume or augment appearances. More specifically, dermal fillers are used in the face to remove wrinkles, diminish the look of scar tissue, fill out facial structures, and smooth skin.

A common type of dermal filler is hyaluronic acid. Cosmetic filler treatments at Iconic Beauty Aesthetics use only this type of injectable filler.

Understanding Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a sugar that naturally occurs in the body and helps keep your skin hydrated and plump. This substance can be found throughout connective tissue in the body. As you age, your reserve of HA declines.

When injected into the skin, it can help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. Hyaluronic acid fillers are available in different formulations, including Juvederm and Restylane.

When Can I Use Dermal Fillers?

For most people, fillers are a viable and safe option for improving appearances. They can be used to change or remove imperfections in the face. Some of the uses include:

  • Erasing smile lines
  • Plumping up cheeks
  • Filling out lips
  • Restoring facial fullness

Which is Better: Botox or Fillers?

Any cosmetic decision always comes down to your personal preference. In some cases, a patient may be limited by health conditions that prevent treatment. But choosing between Botox or fillers for aesthetic enhancement is very much a personal choice.

Deciding on your preferred treatment method is always a choice to make with the help of a dermal expert. But some key differences may influence your decision based on the aesthetic outcomes you’re trying to achieve. Be it volume restoration, augmentation, or relaxing wrinkles.

Expected Results

Botox injections will last between 3-4 months before the effects begin to wear off. After treatment, it can take several days for the toxin to take full effect. Normally the 2-3 week mark after treatment will have the best visual results.

Depending on the brand and specific treatment, fillers can last up to 18 months. Most filler treatments should provide a cosmetic improvement for at least 6 months.


Both dermal fillers and Botox are applied with fine needles into the skin. With both products, a small amount of substance is injected beneath the skin’s surface. Cannulas (tiny, thin tubes) can also be used to place dermal filler. 

The exact mechanism for reaction does differ based on the exact product being used. Botox and hyaluronic acid achieve their intended effect by reacting with natural chemicals in your body. Botox contains a toxin to relax muscles. An HA dermal filler is a dissolvable gel placed under the skin that restores or creates volume in the area.

Side Effects

There is a very low chance that either Botox or dermal fillers will have any major side effects. Some people may experience a reaction that results in negative visual symptoms. But these are typically manageable and temporary

Botox side effects include:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling & drooping in the eyelid area
  • Tiredness 
  • Headache 
  • Neck pain 
  • Double vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Allergic reactions

In the days following filler treatment, you may experience bruising, swelling, itching, and pain. In rare cases, dermal fillers have these reported side effects:

  • Clumping of the filler material
  • Filler migration (material moves around)
  • Blurred vision
  • In very rare cases, blindness
  • Allergic reaction
  • Infection
  • Discoloration of skin

If you experience any side effects, pain, or other unexpected changes following treatment, call our office immediately. We will provide recommendations for the next steps.

Make an Educated Decision

The differences between dermal fillers and Botox may seem subtle, but you should always be aware of what to expect from cosmetic products. Professional cosmetic experts will provide extensive information on any treatment that is available to you. And you will always have a consultation before receiving any type of injection.

Looking your best and feeling young is something we all deserve. Choosing the right cosmetic approach requires a little knowledge and trusted guidance from your healthcare professional. Call us at Iconic Beauty Aesthetics to learn more about specific skincare treatments or schedule your consultation to begin the beauty enhancement process.

Written by Sarah Noble

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