[By Claudine Ma]

The popularity of cosmetics injectables is on the rise and has been a worldwide trend for over a decade or so. It is arguable if Botox is still number one as we speak, for dermal fillers are quickly encroaching on that spot as a neck to neck second. Botox and fillers are non-invasive medical cosmetic procedures administered via injections, and that’s about where their similarities end. In any case, the bottom-line is really to decide which is more suitable for your beauty needs if you choose to give these treatments a try, so knowing the differences between your options is crucial to bank on their seemingly endless beautification possibilities.

What is Botox/Fillers?

Botox is actually the registered brand name of a specific purified botulinum neurotoxin produced by Allegran. There are currently three FDA-approved neurotoxins available in the market— Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin, with Botox being the pioneer of them all.The BOTOX® Cosmetic story began in 2002 when the brand helped establish the aesthetic market with its first FDA approval to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines).It works by blocking nerve signalsin the muscles where it is injected. When these nerve signals are interrupted, muscular contractions are prevented and the affected muscles are temporarily weakened, paralyzed or frozen.

As for Fillers, they are made from a variety of temporary or permanent materials that can be injected beneath the surface of the skin to fill lines, add volume and fullness and enhance facial features. The safest and most commonly used are those composed of naturally occurring Hyaluronic acid such as Restylane, Juvederm, and Belotero. Others include calcium fillers like Radiesse, Ellanse, and ploy-L-lactic acid Sculptra.

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Botox/Fillers as wrinkle erasers

“Both Botox and fillers can be used to improve the appearance of undesirable facial wrinkles and lines albeit in different ways by targeting different kinds of skin wrinkling.” Explains Dr. Kenneth Lee, aesthetics physician and medical director of the SW1 Clinic, with more than 15 years of experience of botox and fillers usage. “The simple rule is that lines of expression need botulinum toxin, when lines at rest are dealt with filler microinjections.”

Botox only works as anti-wrinkle microinjections against wrinkles on “crease points” caused by muscular movements. These are otherwise known as dynamic wrinkles, and are often referred to as “expression lines.”The most common dynamic wrinkles that Botox can treat are lines on the upper face, such as the “11” between the brows, horizontal lines on the forehead, and crow’s feet around the eyes. These lines are caused by smiling, frowning, squinting, and other facial expressions, often becoming more pronounced with age.

Natural facial fillers are best for deep lines that are present even when facial muscles are not contracting. These are known as static wrinkles and they do not respond favorably to Botox treatment. Static wrinkles are caused by sagging and decreased plumpness of the face due to a loss of collagen and elasticity in the skin. Static wrinkles commonly treated include those along the cheeks (deep laugh lines or nasolabial folds) and around the mouth (Marionette lines). In some cases such as visible permanent lines etched across the forehead visible even at rest, a combination of botox and fillers will give optimal outcome.

In addition, fillers can be used as “volumisers” for treating undereye hollowing and sunken temples much like how new stuffing for a deflated pillow works. Fillers can also be used to enhance the appearance of facial features such as nose fillers, lip fillers, cheek sculpt and chin enhancement.

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Botox/Fillers as complexion enhancers

In recent years, Botox has gained popularity and found its way into a younger cohort of patients with its alternative role in improving blemish-prone skins. When used correctly, studies have demonstrated reduced oil production by about 30% in 4 weeks in treated subjects with oily skin. By utilizing a special injection technique known as Micro-Refine, miniscule doses of Botox are introduced intra-dermally or shallow in the skin to cause shrinkage and atrophy of the oil producing sebaceous glands and sweat glands, leading to a barrage of complexion-refining effects without compromising the movement of major facial muscles. Pore size is noticeably reduced and skin appears matte or ‘airbrushed’ secondary to decreased oil production, with diminished appearance of acne scars reported.

Aimed to enhance tired and lackluster complexions by lifting and hydrating them at the same time, the cutting edge Revitalift treatment is a safe and efficient procedure employed to replenish skin moisture to ideal levels for unparalleled luminescence, radiating the enviable glow of youthful-looking complexions. Thanks to an exclusive patented bio-synthesis process, the pure hyaluronic acid used is highly identical to our own skin’s polymer, and hence maintains high bio-compatibility and is readily incorporated for exceedingly natural looking results. Improvements are apparent even after the first treatment with close to zero downtime, and optimal outcome is achieved after 3 to 6 sessions done at monthly interval.

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Botox/Fillers for lifting

If a surgical facelift or facial threadlifting are beautification procedures not on your agenda at the moment but some form of facial lifting is desired nonetheless, botox and fillers microinjections can be employed for subtle yet appreciable improvement in selected cases.

Botox injections for lifting are targeted at specific muscles with a downward vector, and these include the depressor anguli ori at the corners of the mouth, orbicularis occuli around the eye, and the platysmus muscle at the jaw line. Intradermal botox over the lower part of the face close to the jaw-line cancels some of the downward pull of the platysmus muscle and thus giving the cheeks and jowls a subtle “lift”. Besides the platysmus, other muscles like the constrictors of the eye and the Depressor Anguli Ori (DAO) are also weakened to allow an eyebrow lift and an up-tilt of the angle of the mouth respectively.

Filler Hydrolift is an adored procedure whereby small calculated quantities of natural hyaluronic acid filler are carefully placed under the skin of the lower face and cheeks using a novel injection technique to give tired-looking faces and lackluster complexions a subtle lift with enhanced skin brightening. Besides replenishing the loss of one’s own hyaluronic acid to desirable levels, studies have shown that these fillers also stimulate your body’s own production of collagen, explaining why over the next 2-3 weeks, you will notice further improvement in brightening, lifting, elasticity and overall appearance of the complexion.

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