Dermal Fillers vs. Neuromodulators

Injectables Rome, GAWhen you mention “injectables” patients can get confused about what that means. Injectables can be broken into dermal fillers and neuromodulators. At Snodgrass and Robinson we carry a variety of these injectables to help our patients erase wrinkles and return volume to areas such as the cheeks.

Here’s the difference between dermal fillers and neuromodulators.

Dermal fillers

As their name implies, dermal fillers “fill” a wrinkle or an area that has lost volume due to decreasing collagen and slackening skin. Fillers are injected under the wrinkle and they fill the area and push the skin back upwards. Dermal fillers are used on what are known as “static” wrinkles, wrinkles that show themselves at all times and are usually the result of sun damage and natural sagging of the skin.

Fillers are classified as either “natural” or “synthetic.” Natural fillers are made from hyaluronic acid. This is a natural occurring substance in the body that is responsible for hydrating and plumping the skin. It does this by binding with nearby water molecules. Juvederm, Restylane, and Perlane are three of the most popular dermal fillers. Both the Juvederm and Restylane lines now feature a variety of different products targeted for different areas of the face.

Synthetic fillers are made from synthetic materials, such as calcium microspheres. These provide structural support under the skin. Radiesse and Sculptra are two popular synthetic fillers. Some synthetic fillers add immediate volume, plus they encourage the body to produce new amounts of collagen to expand their results.


The king of the injectables is Botox. This neuromodulator has become one of the world’s most famous brand names since its approval by the FDA for the treatment of facial wrinkles in 2002. Dysport and Xeomin are also neuromodulators.

Unlike dermal fillers, neuromodulators don’t fill wrinkles from beneath. Botox (and the others) instead address “dynamic” wrinkles. These are wrinkles that form as the result of a muscle contraction under the skin. These wrinkles form when we make expressions such as smiling, frowning, squinting, and others. Muscles contract with these expressions and as we age wrinkles form on the surface skin above the muscle.

Neuromodulators are made from the same bacteria that are responsible for botulism, the botulinum toxin type A. That sounds scary, but scientists discovered back in the 1950s that when a miniscule amount of this toxin was injected into a muscle it temporarily stopped the muscle from contracting. This proved valuable for stopping things like involuntary eyelid spasms.

But when the FDA approved Botox for treatment of wrinkles on the upper third of the face (the expressive section of the face) in 2002, Botox became a household name. When it is injected into the muscles that create crow’s feet, the 11s, and some forehead lines, Botox blocks the nerve message in the muscle. This means the nerve never signals the brain to contract the muscle, so the muscle doesn’t contract and the wrinkle above it doesn’t form.

Now you know the different between the different injectables. Do you want to put them to use addressing your wrinkles and areas of volume loss? Call us at Snodgrass & Robinson, (706) 378-0200, and ask us about which injectables would be right for you.

Posted in: Injectables

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