What’s the difference between dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections?

What’s the difference between dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections? — Tailored Skin Care Treatments in Benowa, QLD

Although both dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections have been around for many years I still get asked this question regularly.

They are very different treatments

Why the confusing names?

In Australia these injectable treatments are all categorised as S4 drugs.

This means that they are on a doctor’s prescription only and cannot by law be advertised to the public.

I can’t use any product names in this public post, nor can I abbreviate their names or refer to them as “Product B” or “Product D” or anything similar.

So I have to discuss these products without naming them, which is a bit like discussing the difference between coffee and tea without actually ever saying “coffee” or “tea”. I’ll do my best!  

What are dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections?

Dermal fillers are products that are injected into or under the skin to plump or volumise an area.

Some are very fine and can be used on individual wrinkles, some are mid-strength and are used for deeper lines and lips, and some are more volumising and are used for areas like the temples, cheeks, nose and chin.

Anti-wrinkle injections is the legal term that is commonly used for “neuro-modulators”.

These are injectable products that work by reducing muscle activity where they are placed.

How long do dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections last?

Obviously this varies greatly depending on the product used, where it is placed, and on an individual basis.

As a general rule anti-wrinkle injections usually 3-5 months. Dermal fillers are longer lasting, usually between 9 months and 2 years (12-18 months on average).

Some dermal fillers are longer lasting, and there is a permanent dermal filler option. Fillers in the lips don’t last as long – 6-12 months on average.

How are dermal filler and anti-wrinkle injections performed?

Anti wrinkle injections are performed with minute injections usually into or just beneath the skin’s surface.

Dermal fillers can be performed in the same way, or can be placed deeper depending on the wanted effect.

Often dermal fillers are placed with a fine cannula – a round tipped needle which causes less discomfort and less risk of a bruise.

When do I see results with dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections?

Most dermal fillers give an immediate result. Some – the collagen stimulating fillers – give an effect which slowly increases over 3 months or so.

Anti-wrinkle injections take a 4-7 days to start working and 10-14 days to fully work.

What are dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections used for?

Anti-wrinkle injections are mainly used to treat expression lines. The three main areas treated are

  • Frown lines,
  • Forehead lines
  • Crow’s feet.

They also treat

  • “Bunny lines” on the sides of the nose
  • To help with lines around the lips.

Anti-wrinkle injections can also have a lifting effect in certain areas – particularly the eye brows and the corners of the mouth.

They are also used to relax and treat vertical neck bands, and also a “gummy smile” (where the top gum shows too much on smiling).

Somewhat confusingly, anti-wrinkle injections are often a very good treatment for teeth grinding, headache, migraine headache, and over sweating (Hyper-hydrosis – usually from the arm pits), and also can be used to reduce the size of a bulky chew muscle at the angle of the jaw to give a more refined appearance.

Dermal fillers are often used wherever more volume is needed. As we age we lose facial volume (from the fat and also from the bone) and dermal fillers can replace this.

Commonly they are used

  • In the cheeks
  • At the side of the face
  • Along the jawline
  • In the temples
  • In the forehead
  • In the folds around the mouth.

 They can also beautify a face by

  • Highlighting a cheek bone,
  • Straightening a nose
  • Strengthening a week chin
  • Volumising the lips.

Fine dermal fillers are used to soften and fill individual lines, wrinkles and scars.

Dermal fillers can also be used to improve the texture and tone of skin without volumising under it.

Remember dermal fillers can be used conservatively – no one should

“Fillers are used to volumise areas, improve the jawline, and can be used to fill fine lines and enhance the lips”

Can I have both dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections?

Yes you certainly can. These are very complimentary treatments, and many patients do best with a combination approach.

For example, if frown lines are particularly ingrained, anti-wrinkle injections are usually performed first to reduce the excessive muscle strength, then a little fine line filler can be placed in the skin to soften the permanent lines further.

Most patients find that treating wrinkles and expression lines with anti-wrinkle injections, combined with dermal fillers to replenish lost volume gives the best overall results.

“Anti –wrinkle injections are mainly used to treat frown and forehead lines and crow’s feet”

“Before and after pictures – Envisage Clinic patients, all after a single treatment. Individual results may vary”

For more information on any cosmetic procedure at the Envisage Clinic please phone 07 5539 4000 and we’ll be happy to chat with you about any of our services.

Article by Dr Christopher Leat.

Dr Christopher Leat – Medical Director Envisage Skin Clinic Founder and Director.Dr Christopher Leat has 33 years’ experience in Medicine and is a member of The Royal College of Physicians of London. Dr Leat has devoted the last 18 years to Cosmetic Medicine and is recognised throughout Australia as one of the most experienced doctors in the field of Cosmetic Medicine.