As a former personal trainer, Sarah is passionate about all things health, beauty, and self care.
Botox and Juvederm are two of the most popular and best known cosmetic injectables today. I personally have used both, and didn’t actually understand the difference until I was able to experience them for myself.
First of all, Botox and Juvederm are completely different compounds, both of which serve very different purposes. While Botox is a neurotoxin that works by paralyzing the muscle in which it is injected, Juvederm is a hyaluronic acid based dermal filler that is used to add volume to various areas of the face. Taking this into consideration, the simple answer to the question of which one is better for the face is neither, since they both have very different functions.
However, in order to understand which one may suit your individual needs better, I did some research to understand the true difference between the two treatments, how they work, and what they are used for. Here’s what I learned.
What is Botox and how does it work?
Botox (Botulinum toxin type A) is a neurotoxin FDA approved in 1989 for injection, intramuscular, intradetrusor, and intradermal use. The toxin is best known for its ability to reduce, eliminate, and prevent fine lines and wrinkles in the face, though it has several other amazing benefits.
The medication works by paralyzing the muscle in which it is injected, which in turn restricts muscle contractions, some of which are responsible for the formation of lines and wrinkles in the face including:
- Horizontal lines on the forehead caused by contraction of the frontalis muscle
- Frown lines (also called 11s lines) between the eyebrows caused by the procerus muscle
- Bunny lines, wrinkles on your nose
- Crow’s feet around the eyes, formed with the contraction of the orbicularis oculi muscles.
When Botox is injected into these muscles it inhibits the release of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter that sends signals from nerve cells to muscle cells) from presynaptic motor neurons. This paralyzes the muscles for 3 - 5 months, leaving the area with less tension and a reduction in wrinkles.
Neuromodulators are also used preventatively, since the reduction in muscle contractions doesn’t allow you to make certain facial expressions that lead to the formation of wrinkles. This is why a lot of people get Botox injections before they even develop wrinkles, in order to prevent them from forming in the first place.
In addition to its ability to reduce, prevent, and eliminate fine lines and wrinkles, this wrinkle relaxer also has some other cosmetic uses including jaw reduction, chin dimple elimination, lip enhancement, and gummy smile reduction.
When Botox is injected into the masseter muscles, it relieves tension causing the jaw to appear larger. Once this tension is released, the jawline begins to slim down, making your face appear slimmer.
Similarly, the toxin is also often injected into the mentalis muscle, located in your chin. Many people have dimples in their chins which is caused by an overly active mentalis. With the injection of neurotoxin, this muscle is relaxed, reducing or eliminating the appearance of the dimpling.
There are several types of neurotoxins including Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeaveau, all of which accomplish the same results, though they have slightly different chemical compositions.
Juvederm and its benefits
Juvederm is a hyaluronic acid based dermal filler which can be used to increase volume in various areas of the face including:
- Under eyes (tear troughs)
- Nasolabial folds (also called smile lines)
Hyaluronic acid is a substance naturally found in cartilagenous structures in the eyes and joints where it lines surface areas to reduce friction between the joints. There are a number of hyaluronic acid based dermal fillers, all of which work by absorbing water molecules present in the injected area. This, in addition to the hyaluronic acid gel formulation creates volume in the treated areas.
Juvederm in the face can serve a variety of benefits in the above mentioned areas.
When injected under the eyes, the filler eliminates the appearance of dark circles, which are formed due to hollowness below the eye. Hollowness in the face can be the result of the natural aging process, in which the fat pads under the are lost, as well as other factors such as weight loss, stress, lack of sleep, or disease.
The under eye area goes hand in hand with the cheeks, which are also subject to volume loss with age. For this reason, dermal filler is often injected in both areas to create a plump and more lifted appearance.
The nasolabial fold is another age related process that forms over time when collagen in the skin is lost, and smiling has allowed the formation of a crease running from the corners of your nose to the corners of your mouth. These creases can be filled in with subcutaneous implants.
Lip fillers are one of the most popular fillers, especially based on all the plump pouts we can observe on our favorite celebs and social media influencers. Depending on the type of result you want, your injector can use many different types of injection techniques while injecting this hyaluronic acid based filler into your lips. One of these techniques is called the Russian lip technique, in which the syringe is drawn upward and the lip is molded in an upward fashion, rather than outward, creating a more natural looking result.
The chin and jawline can both be injected with Juvederm for a non surgical jawline contour. In the jaw, a filler can create a more “snatched” look, while a filler in the chin can improve your profile by elongating it.
Sunken and shallow temples can often make us appear older than we are. In order to reduce this, you can get a filler injected into your temples to improve the skeleton looking appearance of your face.
So what is the difference between the two?
Botox is a muscle relaxer and Juvederm is a dermal filler which replaces and increases volume. While they are completely different, they are often used in combination as they complement each other very well.
Botox is best used to treat areas in which muscle contractions play a part, while Juvederm is what would be used to add volume to a given area.
The best way to know which treatment is the right one for you is to speak to a medical professional who can tell you exactly what you need.
Personally, I get Botox in my forehead and dermal fillers to reduce the dark circles under my eyes. Both work great and serve as a preventative measure for me as well.