As advances in medical technology and techniques continue to evolve, the number of injectables available to reverse the effects of aging is growing exponentially. Fine lines, crow’s feet, wrinkles, frown lines, acne scars, forehead creases, thin lips, dull skin, and dark under eye circles can all be treated with dermal injections. In a market where Botox pioneered the use of cosmetic facial injections to erase fine lines and delay the onset of wrinkles, there are several other options available. Juvederm is a popular alternative to Botox without many of the risky side effects.

Botox remains the most popular injectable cosmetic supplement in the entire world. Scientifically speaking, it is a purified derivative of the botulinum toxin type A. The effect of this toxin is to block acetylcholine release from neuromuscular cells. Practically speaking, Botox temporarily paralyzes the small muscles of the face by inhibiting neuromuscular receptors. The overall effect is to relax typical areas of the face that become tight with expression or stress. Common areas include the space between the eyebrows, the corners of the eyes, and corners of the mouth. Frowning, squinting, laughing, and smiling each create a distinctive set of wrinkles as we age and our skin loses its elasticity. Botox relaxes the muscles that we repetitively use and attempts to prevent future wrinkles by smoothing those areas of the face.

In contrast, Juvederm is a dermal cosmetic filler. A hyaluronic acid-based gel, Juvederm does not act by the same mechanism as Botox and has very different results. Instead of causing temporary paralysis by blocking neuromuscular junctions, Juvederm is simply a filler that plumps out specific areas of facial skin. As we age, our skin loses its natural elasticity and skin cells turn over more slowly. Wrinkles are subtle or dramatic indentations in the skin created over time by flexing our facial muscles. Juvederm literally fills out and plumps up the skin underneath the wrinkle, making it less obvious. This dermal injectable can be used anywhere on the face, but has no ability to prevent future wrinkles.

Both Botox and Juvederm are temporary solutions to the lifelong problem of aging. As the body absorbs the injectable material, the results of their effects will be less noticeable and eventually disappear. After a few months, facial muscles will again be able to contract and wrinkles will start to show as the skin underneath begins to sag. Follow-up injections are recommended for both Botox and Juvederm in order to maintain the results over a longer period of time. Neither injectable is permanent, nor do they offer permanent changes in facial structure. Both are reasonably priced alternatives to dramatic facelift surgery and may be viable options for many men and women looking to refresh their appearance.

Board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Pittman and his panel of friendly professionals offer both Botox and a variety of dermal facial fillers. A personalized consultation may be helpful to determine which product is right for you and your anti-aging goals.