Botox and Dermal Fillers: What’s the Difference?

Botox and Dermal Fillers: What’s the Difference?

Botox and dermal fillers like Bellafill are minimally invasive cosmetic treatments given through injections. Both are very popular and are often performed in a doctor’s clinic. Botox contains purified bacteria that have the ability to freeze muscles, minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, contain ingredients that give fullness to areas like the lips, cheeks, eyelids, and around the mouth which have thinned as a result of aging.


Botox can correct dynamic wrinkles, like the horizontal lines on the forehead or crow’s feet around the eyes. It’s made from tiny amounts of botulinum toxin that has been purified, and is therefore safe to use.

Botox blocks nerve signals in the muscles that it has been injected into, resulting in temporarily paralyzed or frozen muscles. Without movement in these muscles wrinkles are reduced, softened or even removed.

Botox only works on dynamic wrinkles or expression lines such as those found on the upper face, crows feet, horizontal lines on the forehead, etc. It does not work on wrinkles or fine lines caused by loss of skin plumpness or sagging such as the jowl areas, lines in the neck as well as in the cheeks.

Are There Any Botox Side Effects?

Botox is deemed to be safe and millions of procedures have been performed over the last two years. Most effects are temporary as well. Here are the potential Botox side effects:

  • If injected near the eye or brow, you might have a drooping eyelid.
  • Paralysis or weakness of neighboring muscles.
  • Itching, rashes or hives.
  • Redness, bruising, swelling, bleeding or numbness.
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Blurry vision
  • Gallbladder issues

There are also instances wherein Botox fails to work due to our immune system’s antibodies being released to fight the toxin.

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers, also called soft tissue fillers, can plump up thinning lips. They are designed to be injected beneath the skin’s surface to add fullness and volume. These treatments often contain substances such as:

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Calcium hydroxylapatite
  • Polylactic acid
  • Polyalkylimide
  • Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres

These substances are designed to treat various cosmetic or aging symptoms. Some fillers last up to 2 years, others for 6 months only.

Dermal fillers can correct the following:

  • Thinning lips
  • Shallow facial areas
  • Undereye wrinkles
  • Recessed scars
  • Lower face static wrinkles

Are There Any Dermal Fillers Side Effects?

Dermal fillers are FDA-approved and generally considered safe but side effects do arise. The most common issues are:

  • Pimple-like eruptions
  • Skin itching or rash
  • Lumps or overcorrection of wrinkles
  • Vision problems
  • Being able to feel the substance under your skin
  • Skin damage
  • Skin cell death

Millions of Botox and dermal filler procedures are done annually and both treatments have an excellent track record of safety, as long as they are performed by well-trained, highly experienced board-certified dermatologists. You should still be aware of all potential risks before choosing any of these treatments. It’s also important to discuss what each one can realistically do for your appearance so you can set the right expectations for yourself.

Botox vs Fillers: What’s the Difference?

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