Botox Vs Hyaluronic Acid-Based Fillers: What’s the Difference?

While Botox used to be the only facial injectable available, recently an array of similar treatments have been developed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All of these products promise to rejuvenate the face and reduce the prominence of wrinkles and folds, but each works differently. In general, all injectables can be divided into two main groups-those based on the Botulinum toxin type A and those based on hyaluronic acid. Read on to learn about the main differences between these substances.

Botulinum Toxin-Based Products

Botox is the most popular facial injectable. It has been used by plastic surgeons for over a decade, and it consistently delivers outstanding aesthetic results. This product is based on Botulinum toxin type A, which is diluted and prepared according to strict safety guidelines to be safe for cosmetic applications. Once injected in the skin, it blocks the signals from the nerves to the facial muscles. As a result, the muscles become temporarily paralyzed, which leads to the relaxation of facial wrinkles and lines.

Dysport and Xeomin are also based on Botulinum toxin type A. Like Botox, these injectables are typically used to smooth crow’s feet, relax the lines between the eyebrows, and reduce the prominence of forehead wrinkles. The results of all three of these products usually last about six months, after which time the treatment can be repeated to maintain the youthful effect.

The main differences between the three Botulinum toxin-based products are slight modifications in the formula and different handling procedures. Thus, Xeomin does not have to be refrigerated, which might make this substance easier to transport. In addition, the three injectables vary regarding their costs. According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the Botox cost is $325 for a treatment consisting of 20 units, while the cost of Xeomin is about $400-$600 for a standard treatment. The cost of Dysport typically falls within the same range.

Hyaluronic Acid-Based Injectables

Several products exploit the hydrating and “plumping” characteristics of hyaluronic acid, a substance that is produced naturally by the human body. They can be used to augment thin lips, fill in sunken cheeks, reduce the prominence of deep lines running from the nose to the mouth (nasolabial folds), and fill in deep acne scars. Two popular fillers of this type are Juvederm and Restylane.

As with the Botulinum toxin-based products, the results of Juvederm and Restylane injections fade over time as the body slowly absorbs the injected substance. However, due to the different chemical composition of Juvederm and Restylane, the results of these injections last somewhat longer than those of Botox. Plastic surgeons typically recommend that hyaluronic acid-based filler treatments be repeated every 10 to 12 months.

While Botulinum toxin- and hyaluronic acid-based fillers have traditionally been used separately and for different purposes, a recent study by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery shows that these substances can be combined. In fact, such combination treatments, sometimes referred to as “liquid facelift,” were found to produce more prominent, longer-lasting results. If you are interested in any facial injectables, ask your plastic surgeon about the possibility of combining several injectables for the best possible outcome.