Fillers vs Neuromodulators

There comes a time in a person’s life when their skin begins to show their age with wrinkles, crow’s feet, and frown lines becoming permanently etched on their face. But are they really all that permanent? Thankfully, not anymore. Ever since the advancements in cosmetic surgery, not only are these signs of aging reversible, but now you even have a choice as to which method you would like to use to treat them. Two of the most common treatments available today are fillers and Neuromodulators.

So, what are fillers? Fillers are substances that are injected directly into the affected area of the skin, thereby filling the lines, spots, and creases to make one’s face look “full” and plump once again. They are quick-acting and the effects last anywhere from four months to one year depending on the type of filler used. These fillers are eventually absorbed by the body. Thus, they require refilling once the creases and wrinkles have started to return.

Care should be taken to ensure that these injections are only given by trained professionals because, if done incorrectly, they can result in serious complications. These fillers carry the risk of allergic reactions ranging from bumps under the skin (which can become permanent) to bluish discoloration of the skin. When it comes to fillers, there are various types. Some of the most commonly used fillers are:

  • Juvederm/Restylane: These are popular hyaluronic acid based products and are used to soften the folds on the face and enhance the lips. Moreover, it is also used to remove nasolabial folds (also known as smile lines) which run from the sides of the mouth to the nose.
  • Radiesse: This consists of calcium hydroxylapatite (CaHa) which is injected into the face. Not only does it fill the region, but it also causes the body’s own natural regenerating abilities to kick in, thereby producing the collagen required to keep the face more smooth and flexible.
  • Sculptra: The active ingredient in this filler is poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA). This product is mainly used to fight facial lipoatrophy which is the loss of fat tissues on a person’s face.

Now, let’s move on to the other treatment method – neuromodulators. Much like their counterpart, neuromodulators are also injected directly into the face. The difference between neuromodulators and fillers is that neuromodulators affect wrinkles by relaxing the muscle of the injection site which causes the wrinkle. The neuromodulator will soften and relax the muscle in the particular area that is contracting and causing a wrinkle to appear.

Unlike fillers, these neuromodulators may take a few days and require multiple injections in order to treat stubborn muscles before you see any results. If any negative side effects, such as swelling or redness, become apparent, they will soon disappear. The effects of the treatments can last up to four months. Lastly, just like fillers, neuromodulators also carry very dangerous side effects if administered incorrectly. So, please see a certified cosmetic dermatologic surgeon before you proceed.

Below you will find some common neuromodulators used by cosmetic dermatologists:

  • Botox: This is by far the most popular of them all. Its active ingredient is onabotulinumtoxinA and is used to treat crow’s feet as well as frown lines.
  • Dysport: The active ingredient of Dysport is abobotulinumtoxin (from the same botulinum family which Botox belongs to).
  • Xeomin: IncobotulinumtoxinA is its active ingredient and it too is used for wrinkles on the face. All three of these products are from the same botulinum source. Therefore, they all hold the same risks and side effects.

This is a basic outline of these products. Please consult Dr. Frank to get an expert opinion on which treatment will best meet your needs.