Botox is a purified form of the botulinum toxin that is obtained from bacteria. Though it is deadly in larger amounts, the tiny, regulated amount of Botox given to correct wrinkles has been used safely for decades.
Botox works by blocking nerve signals in the muscles where it is injected. When those nerve signals are interrupted, the affected muscle is temporarily paralyzed or frozen. Without movement of these selected muscles in the face, certain wrinkles may be softened, reduced, or even removed.
Botox and other treatments made with botulinum toxin are sometimes called neuromodulators or neurotoxins.
Dermal fillers, sometimes called soft tissue fillers, are substances designed to be injected beneath the surface of the skin to add volume and fullness.
Substances used in dermal fillers include:
- Calcium hydroxylapatite, which is a mineral-like compound found in bones.
- Hyaluronic acid, which is found in some fluids and tissues in the body that add plumpness to the skin.
- Polyalkylimide, a transparent gel that is compatible with the body.
- Polylactic acid, which stimulates the skin to make more collagen.
- Polymethyl-methacrylate microspheres (PMMA), a semi-permanent filler
Each one of these is designed to treat different signs of aging or other cosmetic issues.
The time they take to work, as well as how long they last, also vary. Some fillers last 6 months, while others last up to 2 years or longer.
People should discuss their individual needs and expectations with their doctor to determine what filler would be the best choice for them.