Many people search online for the difference between Botox® and Juvéderm®, and what they can be used to treat. The confusion is understandable—both products are used to treat wrinkles. However, they work very differently.
Botox is a neuromodulator. It works by blocking the nerve signals that tell your facial muscles to contract. Based on how it works, Botox can treat wrinkles that are caused by repeated facial movements like wrinkling your brow, raising your eyebrows, frowning, and squinting. Once it is injected, the muscles will be very limited in how much they can move—depending on the site, and the skill of the injector, and your body’s response to treatment. By reducing the movement, you can no longer make the facial expressions that cause the wrinkles to appear, and the skin becomes smoother. Botox can reduce wrinkles that are fine, and can also be effective on deep wrinkles. Botox has other medical uses as well: it is often used for treatment of hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), chronic migraines, and uncontrollable muscle spasms (such as vocal cord spasm or uncontrollable eyelid blinking).
Juvéderm is a volume filler. It is made of hyaluronic acid, which is normally produced by your skin cells. Hyaluronic acid is a normal part of the extracellular matrix (the “stuff between the cells”), and tends to absorb and hold water in your skin. Over time, repeated facial movements (such as smiling) can break down both the collagen and the hyaluronic acid in your skin—like folding a piece of paper the same way over and over again. As we age, our cells also produce less hyaluronic acid than when we were young. Juvéderm works by replacing the lost volume—plumping the skin under the surface to restore it to a more youthful appearance. Juvéderm won’t relax your facial muscles, or change your facial muscle movement, so you can continue to make all your usual facial expressions. Because of this, Juvéderm is great for treating wrinkles around the mouth. It can also be used to fill in other areas like tear troughs or cheeks, which tend to “hollow out” with age. Juvéderm can be used to plump earlobes or improve uneven contours of the nose, or improve the definition of your jawline.
Botox and Juvéderm can also be used together! Sometimes, just stopping muscle movement may not be enough to fully mask or hide the wrinkles and Juvéderm can be used to fill in and restore the skin’s smooth contour.