Neuromodulators vs. Fillers: What’s the Difference?

If you’re new to the world of cosmetic treatments, it might seem like there are tons of injectable options. It can become a little overwhelming, but it’s important to know that there are two major types of injectables and that they accomplish different things. Here’s a guide to consider while you look at your treatment options with Dr. Sieber.

What are neuromodulators?

These injectable options commonly go by their brand names like Botox®, Dysport®, or Xeomin®. While there are slight differences that might make one a better option for you, they all function in virtually the same way. They’re called neuromodulators because they block the receptors in muscles that receive signals from the brain for movement. These injectables are derived from the bacteria that causes botulism, but they’re perfectly safe in the hands of a professional and highly effective at preventing unwanted movement. This can be a great cosmetic treatment because it can relax muscles that cause frown lines or crow’s feet over a lifetime, smoothing out the areas prone to frequent movement or contraction. Neuromodulators also have many medical uses, like treatment for migraines, muscle spasms, and overactive sweat glands.

What are dermal fillers?

These injectables are a little more varied in their technique and composition, but they generally fall under a handful of popular families like Restylane® or Juvéderm®. These brands and others have many different injectable options that are formulated for different areas of the face, hands, or other areas, and can be made of substances like hyaluronic acid, poly-L-lactic acid, or calcium hydroxylapatite. Dermal fillers use these substances to create volume underneath the skin, which can effectively smooth out wrinkles and sagging that is usually caused by a loss of volume over the course of aging. Dermal fillers can have just as many creative, off-label uses as neuromodulators, including “liquid” rhinoplasties or chin augmentation.

Which is best for me?

As a very general rule, neuromodulators most benefit the upper face (forehead, glabelal, crow’s feet) while dermal fillers most benefit the lower face (cheeks, tear troughs, lips, etc), but each can be tailored to your unique needs. The best way to determine which injectable will benefit you best is through a consultation with Dr. Sieber, who can examine your treatment area and aesthetic goals to recommend the right product for you. There are many that exist, but Dr. Sieber can ensure you’re educated about your options and treatment plan.

To consult with Dr. Sieber and see which options are best for you, contact our San Francisco office and schedule your appointment at our state-of-the-art aesthetic facilities.


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*Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person. Editorial content, before and after images, and patient testimonials do not constitute a guarantee of specific results. All images feature models except for before and after images.

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