Botox Vs Fillers: Which One Is Best?

Botox vs. fillers

In the past few decades, injectables have gained massive popularity. Among the injectables, Botulinum toxin Type A (commonly known as Botox, Dysport, Jeuveau or Xeomin) and dermal fillers (like Restylane, Juvederm, Belotero) are winning the top spots. In 2015, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) recorded almost 10 million procedures just for these two injectables. For this post, we will discuss them side by side: botox vs. fillers.

Why People are Opting for Botox and Dermal Fillers

Botox and Dermal fillers are both cosmetic procedures injected usually to treat wrinkles and signs of aging. They are both minimally invasive and can provide long-lasting results. However, that’s where their similarities end. These two injectables differ in terms of uses, efficacy, side effects, and of course, cost. Knowing these differences will help you choose which one is best for you.


Although dermatologists use both Botox and dermal fillers to treat wrinkles on the face, they have a range of added uses as well.


The Botulinum toxin Type A or Botox is synthesized from bacteria to function as a muscle relaxer. Doctors started using this injectable about 20 years ago. Surprisingly, Botox has many non-cosmetic applications

Doctors use Botox to treat migraine headaches and other medical conditions. For one, it is used to treat muscle issues brought on by neurological disorders. Botox may also be injected in the armpits to treat hyperhidrosis (a.k.a. excessive sweating). When injected on the jaw muscle, it can even help with teeth grinding.

As a cosmetic injectable, it works best around the areas of facial expressions – frown lines, between the eyebrows, and on crow’s feet. Doctors typically use it for forehead lines, under-eye wrinkles, bunny lines on the nose, and lines around the lips.

At some point, everyone will see wrinkles on their face since they naturally occur and become more prominent as you age. Botox injections relax the muscles around your lines. Since these muscles cannot move, the dynamic wrinkles become less visible.

So You’ve Decided On Botox

Once you’ve decided to have Botox, your dermatologist will identify the muscles that cause the wrinkles you want to be treated. The procedure will then take less than 30 minutes, and many call it a lunchtime procedure. You will see the results within two weeks, and it can last for months!

Dermal fillers: Your plump upgrade

Dermal fillers, as injectables, are most commonly used to treat smile lines. These are compounds used to hydrate, plump, and moisturize the skin. They may also be used for wrinkles, and to plump up the cheeks and lips. Fillers even help with hand treatments, butt lifts, and minimizes scars. 

The dermal fillers you may choose from are the following:

  • Calcium hydroxylapatite (Radiesse) – it comes in the form of a gel solution and may last for up to 18 months.
  • Hyaluronic acid This is a natural compound in our skin and connective tissue that helps to retain moisture. These fillers can last between 6 to 24 months.
  • Poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra, Sculptra Aesthetic) – it is a man-made material that may last for up to 2 years.

Like Botox, your dermatologist injects dermal fillers in a simple procedure, lasting less than an hour. Your dermatologist will review your skin health and goals, before deciding on the best filler and the best location to give you a natural-looking appearance. 

How effective is Botox vs Fillers?


Botox procedures yielded visible results for most people within a week or two of the treatment, with minor side effects. There are, however, cases of a Botox immunity, resulting in less noticeable effects. It’s vital to disclose any existing condition you may have to your dermatologist. The doctor will then tell you of the potential risks before having the treatment. More so, Botox treatments have no downtime. You may go on with your daily routine as usual. You will be able to see and feel the full effects of Botox for about 4 months, sometimes longer. After such time, you will need additional maintenance treatments.

Dermal fillers

Compared to Botox, dermal fillers are just as effective. More importantly, the results last longer. However, the duration of the effects of dermal fillers still varies mostly on the type of filler. Some may last as long as Botox, while other types of fillers can last for more than a year. When the effects of the fillers wear off, you will also need additional treatments to maintain the results.

Side effects

Similar to other medical procedures, cosmetic treatments like Botox and dermal fillers may also have side effects. As mentioned above, these risks may be caused by existing medical conditions. So you have to discuss health concerns with your dermatologist carefully. Only then you will be able to weigh the benefits with the effects carefully.

Beware the Botox side effects


More common possible side effects include:

  • bruises at the injection site 
  • drooping eyelids, which can take several weeks to resolve
  • headaches

Avoid Botox injections if you:

  • are currently pregnant or nursing
  • have weak facial muscles
  • experience thick skin or deep scars, or other skin issues
  • have a neuromuscular disease like multiple sclerosis

 Dermal filler possible side effects

Many consider dermal fillers to be slightly riskier to Botox because of the added potential side effects. Although rare, there are potentially severe side effects, such as stroke, blindness, skin discoloration, and  bumps at the treatment sites.  If there is swelling of the face or skin, you may apply ice packs to the areas.

Other side effects include:

  • bruising
  • infection
  • itching
  • numbness
  • redness
  • scarring
  • sores

It is best to receive dermal fillers if you are in good health, so you can also see the best results of the treatment. 

Cost is important

In general, Botox and dermal fillers are both widely available nowadays. Since both are considered cosmetic treatments, they are not covered by medical insurance. However, financing or payment options are usually available.


The cost varies depending on which and how many areas on your face that you want to be treated. The price also varies a lot based on the location of your doctor’s office. Botox is usually less expensive than dermal fillers. But you should factor in that you will need botox injections more frequently than fillers.

Dermal fillers

The cost largely depends on the type of filler, and the location of your face that’s treated.  The price can vary from $600 – $1000, and usually increases with the more vials of filler that you have injected. 

Make sure a board-certified dermatologist administers both injectables. Some non-certified providers sell both injectables at reduced prices, or in “Botox parties” and similar events. These can be dangerous, diluted compounds. As a patient, you have a right to check the item for authenticity and safety. Cheap Botox and fillers should be an immediate red flag. 

Which is best for you?

In choosing between Botox and dermal fillers, you should first identify the skin problem you want to be fixed and which area of your face you want to be treated. It is also best to discuss this with your dermatologist.


 For a knowledgeable consultation on your options for Botox or fillers in Columbia MD, call us at (301) 679-5772 or book an appointment online. Dr. Ife Rodney is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist. She is an expert in skincare, anti-aging, and skin rejuvenation for all skin types. Eternal Dermatology is conveniently located in Fulton, MD, and serves Clarksville, Columbia, Ellicott City, Laurel, Bowie, Silver Spring,  and Howard County, Maryland.


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