Toxins and Fillers: What Are They And Do I Need Them?

In today’s modern aesthetic world, cosmetic treatments that used to be reserved for celebrities are now increasingly more common for the everyday consumer. No longer heavily guarded secrets, words like “Botox” and “Juvederm” have become as familiar as “Pepsi” or “Kleenex”. But despite these treatments becoming more commonplace, the sheer number of products on the market can be overwhelming. “What is the difference between a toxin and a filler?”, What do they do?” … “Where on my face do you even put these things?”  All of these are questions we hear often, and so this post is dedicated to demystifying toxins and fillers, and helping our readers understand why we love them so much.

What is the Difference Between Toxins and Fillers?

Beginning with neurotoxins, products such as Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin (pronounced Zee-OH-min) block the messages from the brain to our nerves, telling certain muscles to move or contract. These movements in our face are what cause the development of wrinkles as we age. By stopping the message to selective muscles, we halt the contractions and the deepening of our lines and wrinkles. In some cases, when treated with these inhibitors early enough, doctors can even prevent the formation of wrinkles altogether!

Admittedly, the word “toxin” doesn’t necessarily send consumers running to their local doctor to be injected, however when administered by medical professionals these products are proven to be perfectly safe.  All neurotoxins contain a slightly different chemical variation of Botulinum Toxin, which is a protein produced by a bacterium in Clostridium Botulinum. These toxins are naturally occurring and can even be found in jars of honey or other canned foods at the grocery store. In small controlled doses by a highly qualified doctor, these treatments are not only safe, but wonderfully effective.

Dermal fillers (think “Juvederm”, ‘Restylane” etc.) are typically comprised of Hyaluronic Acid. “HA” as it’s known in the aesthetic industry, is a naturally occurring substance in the human body. If the layers of our skin were compared to a sponge, then HA can be thought of as the lubricant that keeps the sponge moist, and supple. Hyaluronic Acid works by acting as a cushion in our body and lubricates our joints and tissues. As babies we are born with tremendous amounts of Hyaluronic Acid, but beginning as early as our twenties our bodies begin to drastically slow the reproduction of this vital substance.  The use of dermal fillers helps to refill our “skin sponge”, allowing it to look more youthful. 

What Are Each of These Products Used For? 

To oversimplify their uses, neurotoxins are used to treat “lines from motion” (think your forehead, Crow’s Feet, and those pesky 11’s between your brows), and dermal fillers are used to treat “static lines” caused by the loss of volume (like the parentheses on either side of your nose, or the Marionette lines near the corners of your mouth). Because aging is caused by both loss of facial volume and wrinkling from movement, it is critical to address both issues when striving to restore youthfulness.

High cheek bones, a defined jawline, and a proportional chin are all classic markers of a youthful face. With the use of fillers, doctors can restore the scaffolding of our facial structure which is the foundation to maintaining a youthful appearance. Smooth, wrinkle-free skin is also an important element of preserving youth, and neurotoxins allow us to achieve an even, flawless canvas. Correcting all the elements that lead to signs of aging ensures that the outcome is well balanced, properly proportioned, and natural.

How Do I Know if I Am A Good Candidate for Toxins or Fillers?

With toxins, it’s often as simple as “Do you have wrinkles you want to get rid of? Great!”. Treatment of forehead wrinkles and Crow’s Feet takes less than 10 minutes and starts to work within a week on average.

While dermal fillers are great for restoring volume you used to have, they are also great for building features you might never have been born with at all. Creating defined cheeks, chiseled jawlines, and even lengthening the chin to achieve a more heart shaped face are all possible with fillers and a skilled physician. There is undoubtedly an artistry to utilizing fillers, and they can create stunning results in the right hands. Additionally, fillers offer instant gratification and you do not have to wait for the effects to take place. Who doesn’t love that?!

Both neurotoxins and dermal fillers are beloved products in our practice, and we use them daily to help our patients restore youth and vitality to their faces. With over a decade of experience with both, Dr. Lee utilizes her artistic eye and knowledge of the human face to create customized treatment plans for each of our clients. We look forward to welcoming you to our practice and helping you look and feel your best!