Botox® reduces the activity of the muscles that cause wrinkles such as frown lines, worry lines, and crow’s feet. Botox® works by temporarily blocking the signals from the nerves to the muscles, thereby reducing the muscle movement that is causing the wrinkles. The outcome is that the wrinkles relax and soften. The most common place patients will request a Botox® treatment is for the area between the eyes, or frown lines, also sometimes referred to as the “angry 11”s.” This is the area that Botox® was first indicated to treat and doctors and nurses alike have been using Botox® to smooth this area for over twenty years. The most recent FDA approved treatment is for excessive sweating of the armpits and palms of the hands.
Botox® is often used in conjunction with dermal fillers to lift areas of the face and also to extend the life of some of the dermal fillers. An initial treatment of Botox® typically takes 10 days to 2 weeks to see the full effect and lasts anywhere between 3-5 months.
Dermal fillers, on the other hand, replace the volume in certain areas of the face that we lose as we age. Facial volume loss occurs for a number of reasons. At about age 40 we stop producing collagen (which is really the building block of our face.) We also begin to lose facial fat and so areas like our cheeks, lips, nasolabial folds, and those much loathed marionette lines at the corners of our mouth become sunken in.
Each dermal filler has its own unique attributes, but in general, most fillers work in two ways. First, most fillers, such as Juvederm® and Radiesse®, Restylane®, and Sculptra® plump and lift the skin gently to replace collagen loss caused by the natural aging process. Secondly, some fillers, Radiesse® for example, stimulate the body to produce its own collagen. This process takes about 2-3months. You will see immediate results with these fillers; however they tend to last longer as well because your own collagen is being rebuilt.
Essentially, fillers are used in a variety of ways to lift features of the face, correct wrinkles, and restore volume and smoothness to the face.
The longevity of dermal fillers varies greatly with each product, but in general a filler will last 6-9 months with the collagen stimulating fillers lasting up to a year and a half.
Both Botox® and dermal fillers are effective treatments with each having an extensive history of proven results. Both are effective separately however more often than not we use them in conjunction with each other to achieve optimal results.
Tiffany Tolley, RN, Licensed Aesthetician