Botox vs. Fillers and the Key to Achieving a Natural Look
The world of medical aesthetics is always changing and there are new products and procedures on the market every day, which can make figuring out what you want a bit difficult. Often times, people come to me and say “what do I need?” They know that they are aging, and can’t pinpoint what has changed in that slow process. Other times, someone will come to me and point to a tiny wrinkle that’s been bothering them and they know they want it gone. It is not something that needs to be justified or explained. We all just want to feel confident in our own skin, and when you look in the mirror, I want you to love what you see.
While often used together, and mistakenly referred to improperly, Botox and dermal fillers are two completely different injectables. Depending on your wishes and needs, it is important to find a qualified injector who not only takes the time to explain the difference, but who is also able to manage expectations, and product natural looking results. My mission is always the same: use the least (yet effective) amount of product to achieve the goal, so that no one can notice that you had anything “done”. I like to spend a lot of my time during my consultations explaining the different products and how they work, because knowledge is important to achieving the look you want.
Botox (short for botulinium toxin) is a potent neuromodulator. It works by blocking the transmission of the signal sent by the brain for a muscle to contract. Indeed, it is the exact same toxin that causes botulism - that thing your grandma warned you about in improperly canned foods that can be lethal - but involves using about one-thousandth of the dose.
When a tiny dose is administered into a specific muscle, it temporarily causes that muscle to relax, and you aren’t able to make the expression that has caused your wrinkle. Botox only lasts about three to four months, so regular treatments are required for maintenance. If your wrinkles are deep, it may take a few consecutive treatments before they completely disappear, whereas if you are starting young (or preventatively), you may only need treatment once or twice a year.
I like to use the analogy that getting Botox is similar to taking a wrinkled shirt that was on the floor, and hanging it up on a hanger. It takes some time for those wrinkles to fall out, but you definitely won’t get any new ones, and it will look a lot better in a couple of weeks, and almost perfect again in a couple of months. If you don't re-treat once the Botox wears off, it’s like that shirt slipped off the hanger and got crumpled back up on the floor.
Filler is a thick substance that is injected into areas of the face to replace lost volume. It can also be used to treat stubborn wrinkles that the Botox didn't completely get out (think of it as the iron to really make that shirt look great again).
There are a lot of dermal filler options out on the market. There are permanent ones, temporary ones, thick fillers and thin fillers. At Bloomfield Beauty Co., we only use temporary filler for a couple of reasons. Firstly, esthetic trends change. You may not want your high cheek bones or voluptuous lips in five years! Secondly, temporary filler is made of hyaluronic acid, which your body breaks down over time. In emergency situations, or when someone wants to reverse the signs of filler, we can do it instantly with a chemical called hyaluronidase. Depending on the area treated, your filler will only last about one year on average.
Filler is a lot more versatile than Botox because it doesn't actually stop the muscle from moving, so we can put it almost anywhere. Botox is usually reserved for upper facial wrinkles, but filler can be used to fill in hollow temples, hollowing under the eye causing dark circles, fill in the bridge of a nose to straighten it out, build higher cheekbones, create a more prominent chin and jawline, re-define the lip line, just to name a few.
Why In-Person Consultations are Key
While these products are very different, they are also complimentary to each other. Whether they are used alone or thoughtfully combined, the results can be very natural and beautiful. It is important to have a proper in-person consultation so that the prescriber is able to understand how your face moves, check the strength of your muscles, and sometimes physically manipulate areas of your face check for skin laxity and to see how the shape changes when volume is added. Finding a provider who is willing to take the time to properly assess your face is equally important as finding someone who understands your wishes and needs. At Bloomfield Beauty Co., our one-hour consultations are free and there is no pressure to proceed if you aren’t 100% ready.