Other advantages of injectable fillers

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Dermal fillers (eg Juvederm) and Botox are like two identical twins that everybody assumes think and feel the same - but in reality they are completely different people! One loves to gossip, put on pink makeup and party at dance clubs, the other has a small circle of close friends, plays the bass guitar and wears nothing but black. The same can be said of injectable fillers versus Botox. While they are both administered to your face with a needle, and both are used to treat skin wrinkling, that is where the similarity ends. We delve into the inner lives of both Botox and dermal fillers as anti-wrinkle treatments, to help you decide which is best.

How does Botox work?

The name 'Botox' is a contraction of its scientific name, botulinum toxin. Its use as an anti-wrinkle treatment derives from the fact that it causes mild paralysis, so wrinkles that are caused by chronic muscle tension in the face can be corrected by Botox. It does this by blocking the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, from the affected muscle to its associated nerve. It can be used to treat blepharospasm (an eyelid twitch) and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) as well as for cosmetic purposes. There are occasional disturbing side effects with Botox including dropping of one eyelid, an uneven smile, and the loss of the ability to close the eyes.

How do injectable fillers work?

As we age, some of the fullness is lost from underneath our skin - this is a form of atrophy of the underlying tissue. As the tissue volume decreases and the skin volume remains the same, the skin will tend to wrinkle up. Dermal fillers aim to restore the plumpness to under the skin, and thereby correct the wrinkling.

Duration of effect

The duration of the effect varies according to the brand of dermal filler used and the individual response to the botulinum toxin. The duration of dermal fillers' effectiveness also depends on the area treated - around the mouth where there is a lot of movement, top-ups might be needed in 5-7 months, whereas the forehead will stay reasonably wrinkle-free for 6-12 months. As a rule of thumb though, Botox lasts from 3-6 months, and injectable fillers last from 6-12 months.

Other advantages of injectable fillers

Injectable fillers have several advantages over and above Botox. While Botox has more general medical applications, injectable fillers can be used for a wider range of anti-wrinkle treatments and cosmetic procedures, without the paralysis effect of Botox. These include:

* Plumping the cheeks for a more youthful appearance
* Filling in deep acne scars
* Non-surgical nose jobs
* Making lips fuller, as well as correcting asymmetry or deformities.
* Filling in under-eye hollows.

As far as the medical profession knows, it is not possible to be allergic to injectable fillers. They are made from an ordinary naturally occurring bodily substance, hyaluronic acid, that contains no DNA.

In contrast to the rare but sometimes serious side effects of Botox (not being able to close your eyes!), the side effects of dermal fillers include nothing more than bruising, temporary edema or swelling, and pain at the injection site.

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