Aesthetic Treatments

This Is the Exact Difference Between Injectable Wrinkle Reducers and Filler

By Sophie Wirt
Woman Making Funny Face

Stocksy United / Carey Shaw

Perhaps you’ve asked friends about their personal experiences with cosmetic injectables, or you’ve started to seriously consider these treatments for yourself. But despite the increasing buzz these treatments are creating, cosmetic injectables are still shrouded in many myths. For one, it’s not uncommon for people to believe that all injectables are all the same; a catchall term and treatment for any wrinkle, fold, or deflated area. In reality, there are distinct classifications of cosmetic injectables: the most common are injectable filler and injectable wrinkle reducer.

While both substances are administered via a syringe, that’s pretty much where their similarities end. In fact, injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable filler are comprised of two entirely different substances. (Not to mention, they present different sets of potential risks.) So, if you’re considering going under the needle — or even if you just want to set the record straight next time injectables come up in conversation — read on to discover the differences, according to a dermatologist. 

What are injectable wrinkle reducers?

Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face. According to San Francisco-based dermatologist Dr. Vic Narurkar, neuromodulators (i.e. injectable wrinkle reducers) work by reducing the muscle activity behind certain facial expressions. For this reason, injectable wrinkle reducers are administered to the areas where you tend to squint or furrow most. Specifically: in between the eyebrows (the elevens), crow’s feet, and the forehead.

Dr. Narurkar explains that repeated contraction of these muscles is often what creates wrinkles. By reducing the muscle activity that contributes to the lines, the lines are less prominent. Like any medical treatment, injectable wrinkle reducers have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a doctor to see if they’re right for you.  

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What are injectable fillers?

Fillers, on the other hand, are intended to address age-related volume loss, Dr. Narurkar notes.  “As we age, we lose facial fat in numerous areas, including the upper lip and mid [cheek]” he explains. To temporarily restore volume, filler can be injected into lips, cheeks, and deep lines around the mouth (often dubbed “marionette lines”). There are multiple options for injectable filler, so it’s a good idea to discuss which is right for you during the pre-treatment consultation.

Like any medical treatment, fillers have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a doctor to see if you’re a candidate first.

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Yes, they’re different — but you can use them each to treat different areas.

Perhaps one reason people confuse injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable filler is because of how commonly the two are used by the same person. Narurkar says that the injectable treatments treat different areas, explaining that the process of smoothing the appearance of wrinkles and plumping up areas that have lost volume may have a desirable outcome.

Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume via hyaluronic acid to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, it has potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a doctor to see if it’s right for you.

How do I know which injectable treatment is right for me?

Aesthetically speaking, “to determine whether [you need] injectable wrinkle reducer, injectable filler, or both, consult a properly-trained, experienced injector,” Narurkar says. “A thorough consultation with knowledge of anatomy is essential,” he adds. Additionally, a good injector will watch your face in motion to optimize treatment.

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Injectable FillersInjectable Wrinkle ReducersAesthetic TreatmentsCosmetic InjectablesFace CareAdvice
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