What is the Difference Between Botox and Anti-Wrinkle Injections?

It can be confusing when you hear of Botox and anti-wrinkle injections being talked about as if they were two different things when in fact both do the same job – of relaxing muscle activity and softening frown lines as a result. But there are some differences between the Botox and other anti-wrinkle injections, which is what this blog is here to explain. 

Is Botox just another type of anti-wrinkle injection? 

In a word, yes. Or to be more specific, Botox  is a BRAND name. There are a few other types of anti-wrinkle injections that are licensed for cosmetic use, which do the same job but which are not as well known or as widely used. All are derived from the nerve toxin, botulinum toxin type A. (Yes, nerve toxin. But anti-wrinkle injections including Botox are only used in tiny amounts when administered for cosmetic purposes. As ever, it is the dose that makes the poison, so these small amounts are well proven to be safe.) 



Aside from Botox, which is made by Allergan, the other brands of anti-wrinkle injection are Dysport (which is known as Azzalure in other countries), which is made by Galderma,  and BoCouture (originally known as Xeomin), from Merz. The newest contender in the anti-wrinkle area is Jeveau, from Evolus/ Daewoong, and there are others which are still working their way through clinical trials. 


so, What is the actual difference between Botox and other anti-wrinkle injections?

The key difference between the wrinkle-relaxing injections lie in minor variations to the toxin used. In Botox, it is onabotulinumtoxin A, in Dysport/ Azzalure is is Abobotulinumtoxin A, in Xeomin/BoCouture it is incobotulinumtoxinA,  and in Jeuveau  it is prabotulinumtoxinA. These all work in the same way. Some claim that they work more quickly, or diffuse a little more than others from the injection site (Dysport) but in practice, practitioners say they give remarkably similar results. 


Why are anti-wrinkle injections so popular?

Botox and other anti-wrinkle or wrinkle-relaxing injections offer a quick and more or less pain-free procedure that has become the gold-standard  for softening lines and wrinkles on the face. the effects last for several months, after which the muscles regain their function, and the injections need to be repeated if you want to keep up the effects. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons over 7.23 million Botox procedures were carried out in the US in 2017. Anti-wrinkle injections in the right hands can make your face look rested, you eyes a little more open and less tired than they did before.


Can it be used preventatively?

Absolutely.  By the time you get to late 20s or early 30s you might be starting to notice some expression lines. Often these are only visible when you move your face but after a while they may start to look more permanent. By relaxing your muscles Botox or other anti-wrinkle  injections can help prevent the lines and potential wrinkles from getting worse. Having said that, I feel compelled to add that personally I disagree with preventative use of toxins as I feel it demonises wrinkles, and makes younger people fearful of having any wrinkles at all, when it is perfectly natural to have a few lines on your face. 


Once I start Botox will I have to keep having more of it?

Botox tends to last between three and six months, with the average being four and if you stop having it you’ll  find the lines and wrinkles return. So you will need to have more injections if you want to keep your face looking relaxed.  However, some people find that once they’re not able to make those movements that give you the lines such as the 11s between the brows,  they lose the habit of doing it. As they lose the habit, the lines are less likely to reappear.


What can go wrong with botox and anti-wrinkle injections?

If injections are carried out by inexpert practitioners the effects may not be what you hoped for. Too much toxin above the eyebrows can cause drooping of the brows or eyelids (a condition known as ptosis) which may last for weeks. Because the toxin is adminstered by injections with a needle, there is always a small risk of  bleeding, infection, or an allergic reaction, which is why it’s so important to choose an experienced practitioner who will be able to deal with these problems.


   What can go wrong?

If injections are carried out by people who don’t know what they’re doing they can inject it in the wrong area and this could result in it having no effect, or it could cause a droopy eyelid or an uneven face which can last for weeks, or months. There is a risk of bleeding, infection, or an allergic reaction, which is why it’s so important to choose an experienced practitioner who will be able to deal with these problems.