In aesthetic medicine, practitioners can carry out botulinum toxin injections (botox) or hyaluronic acid. Many patients wonder about the difference between these two methods. In reality, the characteristics and applications of the two products are quite different. Botulinum toxin is used to 'smooth out' wrinkles by reducing the tone of certain muscles, while hyaluronic acid is a filler that visibly erases wrinkles and creates volume. Often confused, these two products are quite distinct, but can be complementary.

Botox or hyaluronic acid: different effects

There is often confusion between the two products used in aesthetic medicine. This misunderstanding results from the similarity of the method of application, i.e. injection. The botulinic toxin - commonly known as botox - and hyaluronic acid are both products used in aesthetic medicine to rejuvenate the face without surgery, in other words a medical facelift. Another point they have in common is that the benefits of the injections are temporary. In the case of botox, lasting results require repeat injections at intervals of around 6 months. The effects of hyaluronic acid injections vary according to the area treated (whether or not it is subject to strong tension) and the type of acid used (whether or not it is highly cross-linked). These effects are visible over a period of between 12 and 18 months.

The action of botox on the skin is not identical to that of hyaluronic acid. Botulinum toxin has a muscle relaxant effect and therefore neutralises the contraction of the nerves responsible for expression lines such as the frown lines. Botox therefore has a slight paralysing effect on the muscles, which is why the somewhat stilted appearance is often decried when too much is injected. Hyaluronic acid reduces wrinkles by filling in furrows. At the same time, hyaluronic acid is recommended for creating or recreating volume, for example by sculpting and shaping cheekbones, when the doctor observes that malar fat has melted away.

Injecting hyaluronic acid: filling wrinkles and creating volume

The term 'acid' may frighten some people, but hyaluronic acid is in fact a totally biodegradable and biocompatible substance. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is naturally present in the body. This molecule is found in the dermis, in the synovial fluid in joints, and also in the humour of the eye. Playing a key role in the healing process and protection against the sun's ultraviolet rays, hyaluronic acid is known to capture and retain water in the tissues, helping to rehydrate the skin deep down. With age, the skin loses tone and suppleness as collagen and hyaluronic acid production diminishes. Epidermal cells regenerate less quickly, tissue slackens and fine lines and wrinkles appear.

In addition to its moisturising properties, hyaluronic acid is an excellent filler. Injected subcutaneously, this substance tightens and plumps up the skin, making it possible, for example, to visibly reduce wrinkles that modify facial expression, such as nasolabial folds or bitterness lines. One notable advantage is that, because it is natural, hyaluronic acid is extremely well tolerated by patients, and side-effects from injections are rare and limited. In just a few years, hyaluronic acid has become the leading product in aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. Since it does not involve surgery, the method of injectinghyaluronic acid in Geneva and elsewhere.