Dermal Fillers Vs muscle relaxants: Which is Best for Facial Rejuvenation?
Wrinkles and fine lines are a natural part of ageing. No matter how hard we try to prevent them, they’re bound to appear at some point in our lives. Fortunately, thanks to a range of recent advances in cosmetics, adults have several non-surgical solutions that can help reduce or eliminate wrinkles and restore youthfulness to the face.
Two of the most popular are dermal fillers and muscle relaxant. Both options combat wrinkles and fine lines, but they do so in different ways. Muscle relaxants – one of the world’s most recognisable facial rejuvenation products – relaxes the muscles underneath the skin, helping to smooth lines and reduce deep creases that appear when the muscles contract. Dermal fillers, on the other hand, add volume underneath wrinkles, in the lips, and around forehead creases to smooth and reduce their appearance.
You might be thinking, If both lessen wrinkles and lines, which one is best for facial rejuvenation? Well, the answer varies, because each treatment works better for different types of wrinkles.
Muscle relaxants offers a solution for dynamic wrinkles – which are caused by muscle movements. Horizontal frown lines on the forehead are a perfect example of dynamic wrinkles. Fillers, on the other hand, are better suited to reverse static wrinkles, which are visible when the face is at rest and become more prevalent in our late 30s and early 40s.
How Do Dermal Fillers Work?
Static wrinkles are the result of a loss of volume in the face’s underlying layers of skin and tissue. In particular, the dermal layer – directly underneath the skin – loses fullness and becomes thinner and more dry with age. At the same time, the top layer of skin beings to lose elasticity and collagen stores, which diminishes its ability to stay full over the dermal layer. As a result, common signs of ageing like wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin become more prevalent later in life.
Dermal fillers are designed to reverse these common concerns. In particular, dermal fillers are used to add volume to the dermal layer of skin, helping to plump up the tissue and push out the wrinkles and fine lines. That’s why dermal fillers are so effective for static wrinkles, rather than wrinkles caused by muscle contractions. Most commonly, dermal fillers have been used to add volume to thin lips, smooth shallow facial contours, soften lines and wrinkles, and smooth acne scars.
What Are Dermal Fillers?
Dermal fillers are comprised of natural-occurring substances, and they are injected into the dermal layer of skin. There are numerous brand name options on the market today, but in general, dermal fillers fall into two categories: hyaluronic acid fillers and collagen fillers.
Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally within the body, and it has natural water-retention properties. Thus, unlike collagen, hyaluronic acid can add volume underneath the skin, as well as increase stores of hyaluronic acid in the skin and boost moisture retained in the tissue. Therefore, hyaluronic acid improves complexion as well as smooths fine lines and wrinkles. In recent years, this type of filler – often available under different brand names– has become a popular choice for anti-wrinkle treatment.
Like hyaluronic acid, collagen also adds volume to the face’s underlying skin and tissue, and in some cases, it is the best option for smoothing lines and wrinkles. Yet, results from collagen injections do not tend to last as long as they do with hyaluronic acid fillers. Aside from these two options, there are numerous others, including fat transfers, PMMA and polylactic acid, which are also alternatives that are used in specialised cases.
Can Dermal Fillers Replace muscle relaxants?
As mentioned, dermal fillers target static wrinkles by adding volume to the dermal layer of skin. Muscle relaxants on the other hand, are used to temporarily relax the muscles in the face that cause wrinkles and folds. Traditionally, muscle relaxants have been a popular choice reducing the appearance of frown lines, forehead creases and crow’s feet that appear when smiling or frowning.
Therefore, muscle relaxants alone is not the best option for static wrinkles that are visible when the face is at rest. Instead, it’s often used as an option for reducing muscle movements that are causing static wrinkles, along with dermal fillers to add volume and possibly laser skin resurfacing. Dermal fillers, though, can be used to add volume to dynamic wrinkle areas, including the brow and crow’s feet.
How Popular Are Filler Treatments?
For decades, dermal fillers have been used by facial rejuvenation specialists. Most commonly, dermal fillers have been used to plump out thin lips, and many celebrities have brought attention to this type of treatment. Recently, American socialite Kylie Jenner had her lips enhanced, leading to a renewed interested in this type of procedure.
Although dermal fillers for lip enhancement might be their most well-known use, these fillers have also long been used as an anti-wrinkle treatment. Collagen fillers were often used, but they’re being replaced at many facial rejuvenation clinics by hyaluronic acid fillers. In fact, today’s dermal filler treatments offer longer lasting results, a greater level of precision, and more natural-looking results.
Lip enhancements with dermal fillers can be performed on people of all ages, as Kylie Jenner has shown. Yet, facial rejuvenation with dermal fillers typically isn’t necessary until static wrinkles begin to appear. For healthy adults who don’t smoke and protect their skin from the sun, these types of wrinkles don’t become visible until the late 30s. But younger patients who want to correct skin abnormalities like acne scars may utilise dermal fillers before their late 30s.
Which Type of Treatment Is Right for You?
Ultimately, the choice of utilising dermal fillers or muscle relaxants for anti-wrinkle treatment comes down to a number of factors. The underlying cause of the wrinkles and lines you are experiencing is the first consideration to make. Muscle relaxants and dermal fillers are most effective if used to specifically target the different types of wrinkles an individual may have. In many cases, a combination of treatments personalised to the individual is necessary. Frown lines on the forehead, for instance, might not be treated effectively with dermal fillers alone. In this case, Muscle may be necessary to relax the muscles, along with a dermal filler treatment to add volume around these lines.
Cosmetic specialists understand how use these anti-wrinkle treatments to achieve natural-looking, balanced results. Choosing a skilled specialist can ensure you receive the most prescriptive form of therapy that treats the underlying causes of the wrinkles.
Dr Michael Zacharia is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Head and Neck (Otolaryngology) and specialises in Facial Plastic Surgery. He is also an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist surgeon. Combining the latest medical, surgical and health techniques, Dr Zacharia delivers the best outcome for each and every one of his patients.
PSF would like to thank Dr Michael Zacharia, ENT and Facial Plastic Surgeon for his input into this blog post.