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Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers vs botulinum toxin

Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers and botulinum toxin are both widely used to treat wrinkles.35 However, meaningful differences exist among HA dermal filler preparations and botulinum toxin formulations.

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What are the differences between HA and botulinum toxin?

Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers and botulinum toxin are both widely used to treat wrinkles.35 However, meaningful differences exist among HA dermal filler preparations and botulinum toxin formulations.

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance that is found in all living organisms.5 Variations in HA structure/size as well as the manufacturing process used to generate the gels result in thicker HA fillers that are available for deeper lines and wrinkles and softer fillers for superficial areas. Due to its natural composition, allergy testing is not necessary before receiving Hyaluronic Acid injections. It is however recommended to fill a medical questionnaire with your physician before any injection. 5,29,36 

Although exceptionally toxic, when purified and used in tiny, controlled doses, botulinum toxin can be used effectively to block nerve impulses that usually cause furrows and wrinkles from facial reactions related to squinting and frowning.37

Safe use of botulinum

While Botulinum toxin and hyaluronic acid-based fillers have traditionally been used separately and for different purposes, combining these treatments is becoming increasingly popular because it can produce a remarkably younger-looking face.38,39

Are there any differences between hyaluronic acid and botulinum toxin injection methods?

Although HA fillers and botulinum toxin both involve injections, when botulinum toxin is injected into a specific muscle in the face, it blocks the signal from the nerve to the muscle to stop muscle movement that results in facial wrinkles and lines.37Hyaluronic acid fillers are gels that are injected into the skin or under the skin with the aim of plumping and smoothing the skin's surface. The depth of the filler injection is the key factor in obtaining an effective aesthetic result.27

Hyaluronic acid fillers are generally used to correct wrinkles and provide volume.5,29 Examples include the nasolabial folds (folds that run from each side of the nose to the corners of the mouth), marionette lines (pronounced crease that runs from the corners of the mouth down along the chin), and the lines around the lips and mouth.

Botulinum toxin is typically used to treat wrinkles occurring in the upper part of the face i.e., frown lines, horizontal forehead lines, and crow’s feet.40

How long do the results last?

The effects of HA fillers last various lengths of time, depending on the type of the filler and the area where it is administered: results may last anywhere from 6 to 24 months.31,41 After the injection, HA is naturally degraded like any natural skin component.

The effects of botulinum toxin injections typically last three to four months.40 Subsequent treatment is advised when muscle contraction is visible in the treatment area before facial lines return to their pre-treatment appearance. After multiple treatments, botulinum toxin effects may be prolonged and, for some patients, treatment intervals can be extended beyond three to four months.40

Hyaluronic Acid Origins

Hyaluronic acid. We’ve read about it on the web. We’ve seen it advertised in magazines and on the television. And we’ve seen it written on products at our local pharmacy and favourite beauty shops…but what is hyaluronic acid exactly ?

Hyaluronic Acid Uses

To address age-related changes in skin quality and appearance, HA injections are an attractive treatment option