October 25, 2015

What’s The Difference Between Wrinkle Relaxers and Dermal Fillers?

Written by Dr Kate Jameson

A common question I get asked is ‘what is the difference between wrinkle relaxers and dermal fillers’?

There is a common misconception that having wrinkle relaxing injections means walking out of the clinic looking frozen, expressionless, puffy and fake.

People also still associate the trout pout lips and a frozen lower face with anti-wrinkle injectables, however this could not be further from the truth.

Wrinkle relaxing injections are used to soften dynamic lines and stop the movement of muscles (which can in turn cause wrinkles). They cannot cause an increase in volume or alter the shape of the face. This is the role of dermal fillers.



Wrinkle relaxers do just that, they work with dynamic lines to stop contraction of muscles of facial expression to soften existing wrinkles and prevent the formation of new ones.

Now here is where some confusion lies. We cannot name the individual product’s as these are medications. Australian law prevents the advertising of individual medications, and for good reason.  There are three anti-wrinkle injection brands available in Australia at present, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. So you will see a huge variety of words in advertising, different clinics, online and in the media which really refer to the same treatment.

A few of these include:

  • Neuromodulators
  • Wrinkle relaxers
  • Anti-wrinkle injections
  • Wrinkle injections
  • Cosmetic injections


There is also confusion surrounding dermal fillers with the legacy of silicon still bitter in our mouths.  This is no longer used as a volume restoration agent and although there are still human and bovine collagen equivalents on the market,  in the majority of cases we prefer to use naturally occurring gel like substance which occurs within our skin.

These injectable gels contain a naturally occurring substance found within the skin which is essential to maintain internal hydration and moisture retention within the skin. It is used to improve  skin volume and hydration, restore and enhance facial features and also augment lips.

So what dermal filler to chose, when there is a huge variety of products the market.  Again the prevention of advertising brands also creates some confusion.

You can break dermal fillers down into a few categories: 

  • Very superficial/skin boosting to Superficial to deep fillers
  • Semi-permanent to permanent fillers
  • Passive filling agents vs active agents
  • Collagen vs hyaluronic acid vs calcium hydrocylapatite (CaHA) vs poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA) microspheres

Confused? What filler do I need? What do they mean? You’re injecting my face with WHAT???

When you come in for a consultation you will have a full facial assessment where you’re facial shape, structure and areas of concern will be assessed and the need for a particular filler will be determined.

Deeper and more superficial fillers can be used together to restore lost volume and contour the face for example. The use of wrinkle relaxing injections can also work synergistically with fillers. This is a case by case basis but it is nice to know there are a huge array of options for you.

I focus on prevention, augmentation of natural features with aesthetically pleasing results. Have a lovely day and please let me know if there are any topics you would like to hear more about.

Dr Kate x