Cosmetic procedures are now more popular than ever, and it’s getting harder to tell who’s had what done to their faces. While stars like Joan Rivers and Amanda LePore go to one extreme with facial tucks and fillers, many more famous faces use botox or dermal fillers to change their look. Plumping out wrinkles, minimising forehead lines and smile lines are now the procedures du jour for the average man and woman.

Dermal fillers and botox are two of the most common cosmetic procedures used to fight the signs of aging by subtly augmenting our facial features, but what is the difference between them? And which one should you choose?

What are dermal fillers?

Dermal fillers are commonly used around the lips to give a fuller-looking appearance, or to remove fine lines and wrinkles. They can also be used around the nose, cheekbones and brows to give better definition.

There are a variety of dermal fillers available, including collagen and hyaluronic acid fillers which have temporary effects, as well as permanent fillers. Each is most suited to a specific use depending on what you’re looking to improve about your appearance. Sites like WhatClinic can help you browse dermal filler clinics in your area for clinic reviews, contact details and further information on the types of dermal fillers they use.

Collagen is a dermal filler used to renew your skin

When looking for dermal filler types, the most common option is collagen, a type of protein that makes up a major part of skin and other bodily tissues. Certain collagens are essential for strength and elasticity, but collagen breaks down over time, causing skin to sag.

Collagen injections are used to replace the skin’s original supplies to fight the signs of aging by improving the smoothness and plumpness of the skin. It can also be used to add further volume and shape to features such as the lips or brow.

Most commonly collagen is extracted from cows, and is known as bovine collagen. It is also increasingly easy and possible to source vegan collagen for dermal fillers, like autologen and isolagen that can be derived from a patient’s own skin. Collagen tends to last between six months and two years, depending on the type.

What are other types of dermal fillers?

Hyaluronic acid is another alternative to collagen fillers. Known as nature’s moisturiser, it works as a natural sponge that holds volume-enhancing water bodies, which is how it gives the plumping effect needed to maintain a youthful appearance. It can be used to augment facial features too. Restylane, Radiesse and Juvéderm are examples of dermal fillers that are made from hyaluronic acid. They usually last around 6 months.

Other types of dermal fillers include the permanent fillers Artefill and Artecoll, which contain polymethylmethacrylate beads, otherwise known as PMMA microspheres, which are tiny smooth beads suspended in a collagen gel. Because the beads are not absorbed by the body, they give a permanent filling effect.

Botox is the original, but is it the best?

Botox is the original and best-known brand of botulinum toxin, a neurotoxin derived from natural sources that is used to temporarily relax the facial muscles that cause lines and wrinkles. It’s most commonly injected into the forehead or around the mouth or eyes, wherever the lines become more prominent as we age.

Botox is quick-acting, with results typically visible within three to five days, and lasting for three to four months. The treated muscles gradually regain function, and the skin will mostly return to its former appearance no more than six months after treatment.

Dermal fillers are better for recapturing youthful skin

Both advanced dermal fillers, such as collagen, hyaluronic acid and PMMA, and botox are effective treatments, but while they are generally considered to serve a similar purpose, there are significant differences between them. Dermal fillers, on one hand, are used to fill depleted facial features, or augment them further. Botox, by contrast, reduces muscle movement causing wrinkles to soften and diminish. It cannot change facial volume beyond that which is naturally occurring.

If you’re looking to re-plump the skin or enhance the volume of your facial features, whether temporarily or permanently, dermal fillers are more suited to you. If you’d simply like to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, botox is most likely the better option.

Both treatments are effective separately, however they can be used in conjunction with each other to achieve optimal results. Botox can be used, for example, to extend the life of some dermal filler applications. For a personalised treatment plan, it’s best to discuss options with a certified cosmetic procedure clinic and/or physician.


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