Many times patients come in knowing they want to do “something” to make their skin more youthful but they’re not sure exactly what. They sometimes request Botox all over their face or Juvederm all over their face not realizing that these two things are not interchangable and neither is always the right tool for the job. They each have specific properties that make them function in different ways. I thought I would write a quick post just to summarize what they are for. Botox is short for botulinum toxin. Most people read the word toxin and think that they are being injected with poison. Without getting into a lengthy explanation, let’s just say that Botox is VERY different from the disease with which it shares a name and you CANNOT get a disease or ill from it. Side effects are extremely rare and mild and there have been zero deaths from its use. It basically acts on motor neurons or nerves that make muscles work. So as the muscles of the face move, they move the skin over them with it and over time create wrinkles in this overlying skin. If the muscles are RELAXED (NOT frozen completely), they will still move and show expression but will not create these lines in the skin. If the lines do not get reinforced, they smooth away on their own. The extent to which they reverse is variable to each person. Botox lasts about 3-4 months. It is used in areas where superficial muscles are creating fine lines so these are most commonly the frown lines between the eyebrows, the forehead and the crow’s feet or next to the eyes. There are other areas in the lower half of the face that can sometimes benefit from Botox but for the most part, it used in the upper half of the face.
Juvederm is a filler. So it does not act on muscles. It fills in an area that needs volume. These are most commonly the nasiolabial folds or the lines that run from the corners of the nostrils down to the corners of the lips, the lips themselves and the cheeks. Juvederm works by replacing Hyaluronic acid in the skin. This acid accounts for skin volume and absorbs water. The levels of this acid reduce with age creating lines, folds and thinner lips. So juvederm works by replacing the acid and giving these areas the volume they lost. Some of you may have heard of Restylane. This is an earlier generation filler that many doctors still use but Juvederm has a smoother consistency so it is less prone to clumping and it more often then not the better choice. Juvederm can also be used under the eyes to get rid of lost volume that has created sagging or bags. Fillers are rarely used in the upper part of the face due to the fine lines that occur there. So fillers will most commonly be used in the lower and sometimes mid parts of the face. Juvederm lasts for anywhere from 6 months to a year depending on the site of injection.
I hope this has cleared things up for some of you. If you have any other questions, please feel free to call the office or shoot me an email.