At Bryn Mawr Facial Aesthetics Center, we often have patients lump Botox and Dysport in with dermal fillers such as Juvéderm and Restylane. All they have in common is that they are injectable.

Dr. Lee uses a number of different Juvéderm and Restylane fillers to return volume to sunken areas and to erase wrinkles. Here’s why all injectables aren’t the same.

What’s the difference between Botox and dermal fillers?

Botox and Dysport (Dr. Lee uses both of these) are classified as neuromodulators. They are both made basically from the botulinum toxin type A, the same bacteria that cause botulism. Back in the early 1950s scientists discovered that when a miniscule amount of the toxin was injected into a muscle it stopped that muscle from contracting for a period of time. Botox arose directly from that research.

Neuromodulators work by blocking the nerve messages that are sent from a muscle to the brain. Since the brain never receives the message to contract the muscle, the muscle stays at rest. So, how does this have anything to do with wrinkles? On the upper third of the face, the expressive area, wrinkles form when we make certain expressions thousands and thousands of times over the years. These are expressions such as frowning, showing surprise, squinting, and the like. As the skin thins with age, wrinkles form on the surface skin above the wrinkle. These are known as dynamic wrinkles.

When Botox or Dysport is injected into a wrinkle forming, say, crow’s feet, the botulinum toxin keeps the muscle from contracting, so the wrinkle doesn’t form. Neuromodulators work on crow’s feet, the 11s between the brows, and on forehead lines.

Dermal fillers are true to their name — when injected beneath a wrinkle or area of volume loss (such as the cheeks) they simply “fill” in the space, pushing the skin back upward. They work on the other type of wrinkle, static wrinkles. Static wrinkles are the result of sun damage, personal habits, declining collagen production, and other things. Unlike like dynamic wrinkles, static wrinkles have nothing to do with muscle contractions.

There are natural fillers and synthetic fillers. Natural fillers are made predominantly from hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the human skin that is responsible for plumping and firming the skin. Hyaluronic acid does this by binding with nearby water molecules. We offer the natural fillers Juvéderm Ultra, Ultra Plus, and Voluma, along with Restylane Lyft and Silk. Dr. Lee doesn’t use any synthetic fillers.

Could you use the benefits provided by our dermal fillers? Dr. Lee is an Allergan Certified Top 100 injector for Botox and Juvéderm products. Call us at (610) 789 -6701 to make an appointment to put his expertise with injectables to work for you.