First off, we don’t blame you for being confused. The two terms seem to be thrown around interchangeably in conversation. Here’s how they’re similar: They’re both injected into your skin using a needle (and preferably by a board-certified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon). Now, here’s how they’re different:
- Let’s start with Botox, which is actually the brand name of the drug itself (botulinum toxin). Botulinum toxin is used to relax the underlying facial muscles that cause lines and wrinkles. Other brands that are also used include Dysport and Xeomin, but Botox is the most popular—hence, why people refer to the whole class of drug as "botox."
- Moving on to fillers: The name itself gives you a clue on what it does—fill, in this case, lines and areas that have sunken in. There are different types of fillers like hyaluronic acid fillers (common brand names include Restylane, Juvederm and Belotero) and calcium fillers (like Radiesse). Your derm will help determine which type to use depending on the area you’re filling and how deep the lines are in that spot.
So how do you know which one to get? A simple rule of thumb is that if the lines are dynamic (as in, they move with your facial expressions, i.e., the space between your eyebrows), botox is a good choice. If the lines are static (they’re visible when your face is relaxed) and/or you’re looking to add volume back to areas of your face, ask about filler.