BOTOX® Vs. Fillers: What’s the Difference?

We are fortunate to live in a time when there are so many different types of aesthetic treatments available. With a huge range of options, it’s much easier to finely tune cosmetic regimens to each patient’s individual needs. Of course, such a range of options can also be overwhelming. With so many exciting possibilities, how do you choose? Two of the most popular treatments are Botox and fillers (aka dermal fillers, including brand names like Juvéderm). Knowledge can empower you to make the best choice, so read on to learn more about BOTOX® vs. fillers and how these treatments compare.


Critics of BOTOX® love to point out that “you’re injecting botulism into your face!” However, what they don’t mention is that the bacterial botulism toxin that makes BOTOX® so effective is a highly purified, very small amount. Literally millions of Botox units are administered safely to happy patients every year.

The active ingredient in dermal fillers like Juvéderm is a substance called hyaluronic acid. Interestingly, the hyaluronic acid in fillers is also produced by bacteria (just like BOTOX®). The key difference is that our bodies naturally produce this substance (though less and less as we age, which is the problem!).

How They Work

So, in the BOTOX® vs. fillers matchup, how does each work? BOTOX® works by creating temporary micro-paralysis in the muscles of the face that cause “dynamic wrinkles” or “expression lines.” Emotional expression throughout our lives – surprise, excitement, anger, happiness – accumulates in our faces over time, creating and deepening fine lines and wrinkles. Areas that are especially prominent include the forehead, the area between the eyebrows, and lines around the nose and mouth. Botox relaxes portions of the muscles in these areas, which smooths skin and wrinkles.

Dermal fillers, just like the name sounds, “fill in” areas of the face that have lost volume over time. As we age, we lose elasticity in our skin. This creates fine lines, wrinkles, and drooping (so fun, right? ????). We can only reverse this through some kind of treatment. Fillers restore volume and can also fill in lines and wrinkles. Fillers are also great for plumping lips.

Over time, the body gradually absorbs both BOTOX® and dermal fillers – nothing lasts forever! Fortunately, patients can return for touchups.

Application and Procedure

Both BOTOX® and fillers are injectables and minimally invasive. Your aesthetician will listen to your aesthetic goals and examine the treatment sites, marking specific places for application. Both procedures use tiny needles, so while you will feel a brief sensation at the injection sites, neither is very painful.


Cost is another variable to take into consideration for any Botox vs. fillers discussion. The total cost of either BOTOX® or dermal fillers depends on what the patient needs. That said, I don’t want to pretend that these procedures are cheap. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2018 the average cost of hyaluronic fillers was $682, while BOTOX® (applied in units at $10-$15 each) averages between $300 and $600 dollars per treatment. The good news is that these costs are balanced out by how long these treatments last (see below).

One word of caution: if you find a heavily discounted “special” on these treatments, proceed carefully. Make sure that the aesthetician is licensed and reputable. When it comes to “cheap” BOTOX® and fillers, it often really is “too good to be true.”

I want to mention that Artemis Colorado runs different aesthetic promotions every month, and they often feature BOTOX® and fillers. Keep an eye out for great discounts that can alleviate some of the cost of these treatments.

Length of Impact

This is one of the best parts – effects from both BOTOX® and dermal fillers really last! Fillers can last between 6 and 18 months, while BOTOX® typically lasts between 3 and 6 months.

Better Together!

One fact that patients often overlook is that BOTOX® and fillers can be even more powerful in combination! Each excels in its own way, and their unique properties can also enhance the effects of the other. I often recommend Botox for treating forehead wrinkles, for example, while suggesting fillers for lost volume in the cheeks. 

BOTOX® vs. Fillers: How to Decide?

After reading this comparison, maybe one of these procedures appeals more to you or seems like a better fit for your aesthetic goals. With that preference in mind, schedule a free facial assessment with me so that we can discuss these possibilities at more length. Of course, you have the final say on which approach you would like to use, but I can offer my own perspective as an experienced aesthetician and someone who cares a lot about her patients and their results. I look forward to seeing you at Artemis Colorado in Westminster! Call or fill out our contact form to get on our schedule.

(p.s. Here are some great before and after pictures for both BOTOX® and Juvéderm!)