Category: Skincare
What’s the difference between Botox and Fillers?

There’s no doubt that the popularity of injectables is on the rise, but there’s still a lot of confusion when it comes to the difference between Botox and filler. Here, Dr Dower explains what each treatment is used for, so that you’re better equipped to make a decision.

The difference between Botox and filler

Botulinum toxin (also known as ‘Botox’) is a natural, purified protein that is injected directly into the facial muscles to temporarily relax them. This prevents the muscle contractions that would otherwise result in wrinkling of the skin. Botox is therefore an excellent treatment to help minimise the appearance of wrinkles, while preventing the formation of new ones. An experienced hand and skilful technique is essential to ensure a softer, more rested appearance and to avoid the dreaded ‘frozen’ look. A trained practitioner can achieve a natural, discreet result by injecting careful volumes in the correct anatomical pattern. No one should suspect that you’ve had Botox. In fact, you should receive compliments on how rested you look, not questions about what you’ve had done! One can also use Botox to treat a number of medical conditions, like excessive sweating (or hyperhidrosis), or jaw clenching.

An important note: Botox is actually the brand name of a specific Botulinum toxin. Other FDA-approved neurotoxins include Dysport and Xeomin.

Filler is used to bring harmony to the face by optimising ideal proportions, which the human eye recognises as youthful and beautiful. This is done by enhancing the volume in areas such as the cheek and jaw line, and by smoothing out contours around the eyes or mouth. It’s also ideal for filling in creases and fine lines, and to plump up thin lips.

The different types of fillers

There are a number of different types of dermal fillers, with the most common being hyaluronic acid derived fillers. Hyaluronic acid injections are typically used to improve facial contours and to fill out any depressions due to acne scars, injuries, or lines and wrinkles. They are also ideal for treating crow’s feet around the eyes, nasolabial furrows, and marionette lines around the mouth, as well as redefining lip borders. Brand names include Juvederm and Restylane. For the beauty of it blogger, Chereen Strydom recently had lip filler for the first time. Watch here to see what she had to say about it!

Calcium hydroxylapatite is a mineral compound that is found in human bones. It is biosynthetically produced, which means that no animal products are used during production. This lowers the risk of allergic reaction, and it also results in a very natural appearance with little to no side effects (and no migration). You can also use calcium hydroxylapatite to enhance fullness and improve volume, particularly in areas such as the cheeks and other facial contours. This is also a good option to plump up wrinkles and fine lines. Brand names include Radiesse.

Newer generation fillers contain polylactic acid, which is a synthetic filler. Polylactic acid helps to boost your body’s own production of collagen for a plumper, firmer appearance. Unlike other dermal fillers, polylactic acid doesn’t produce immediate results, but works over time to stimulate collagen production. This helps to reverse the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, particularly around the mouth and nose. You can also opt for polylactic acid fillers to plump up thin lips. You’ll need about three treatments, and it can take up to six weeks to see visible results. Brand names include Sculptra.

The potential side effects

When it comes to getting injectable treatments like Botox and fillers, complications are rare – but they do happen. Botox has one of the best safety profiles compared to other treatments used in medical aesthetics. The unintended spread of the neurotoxin is the biggest risk you face when getting Botox. This could result in the paralysis of unintended muscles, for example, a drooping eyelid. Fortunately, this effect is short lived and will wear off over time, along with the treatment effect.

The biggest concerns when getting fillers include the risk of infection, possible bleeding and bruising, lumps, skin necrosis (loss of skin from disruption in blood flow), and even blindness. Fortunately, although very serious, the last two complications rarely occur. It’s vital that you talk to your doctor and understand the red flags to look out for after your treatment.

Botox or fillers… or both?

Botox works for the glabeller region (the area between the eyebrows), the forehead, around the eyes, and on ‘bunny lines’. For the right candidates, it’s also helpful when used in the lower third of the face. This can help to lift the angle of the mouth or to correct a gummy smile. Botox is also an excellent preventative measure to halt the formation of more wrinkles.

Fillers are best used to restore volume to the face, and soften creases such as nasolabial folds or marionette lines. You can also use fillers to improve facial contours and to plump up your lips.

With the right technique, both Botox and filler treatments can offer striking results in a natural way.

Skin Cancer: what are the signs and what are my treatment options?

With the summer holidays fast approaching, there’s never been a better time to ensure that your skin is protected against the sun’s harmful rays. It’s also the perfect time to clue yourself up on the facts surrounding skin cancer.

The three most common types of skin cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma. Although incidences of Melanoma are still relatively uncommon compared to Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma, it’s certainly the most feared skin cancer. It also has the highest mortality right.

Diagnosing Melanoma

The most common signs of Melanoma are changes to existing moles, whether it’s in shape, size or colour. You should also keep an eye out for any suspicious, pigmented lesions, or a wound that doesn’t heal. The initial diagnosis will be done via a biopsy, where your doctor will remove all or part of the suspicious mole or lesion. This will then be sent off to be analysed and if it does come back as positive for Melanoma, your doctor may advise that you undergo Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy (or SLNB).

SLNB involves identifying the sentinel lymph node, which is the lymph node into which the tumour first drains. A radioactive tracer or dye (or both) is injected around the area of the Melanoma. The radioactive tracer or dye stains the affected lymph nodes, and your surgeon will then remove them via a small incision. Your doctor will then examine these to check for cancerous cells.

A positive SLNB result indicates that cancer is present in the sentinel lymph node, and may be present in surrounding lymph nodes and organs as well. A negative SLNB result means that the cancer has probably not yet spread to other lymph nodes or organs.

This procedure can help your doctor identify the stage and prognosis of the cancer, so that he or she can prescribe an appropriate treatment plan.

Treating Melanoma

Some of the latest developments in terms of treating Melanomas include immunotherapy and targeted therapy. Immunotherapy utilises drugs that stimulate the body’s own defenses in order to destroy cancer cells. Target therapy, on the other hand, makes use of drugs that target specific pathways that the cancer cell uses to grow and replicate.

SLNB has been shown to improve the survival rate for those with Melanomas between 1,2 to 3,5mm thick. However, complication rates are between 5 to 10 percent, and include infection, hematoma, seroma, wound dehiscence (coming apart), and lymphedema (swelling of the limb).

Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

Although there are several cancers that fall under the broader category of Non-Melanoma skin cancers, Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are the two most common types. That said, Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCC) is about 4 to 5 times more common than Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC).

One of the most common signs of BCC is a small, pearly or waxy bump on your skin. These often resemble a pimple or a small, flesh-coloured mole. SCC usually presents as a res, scaly patch or a wart that may bleed when scratched. Although these are considered less dangerous that Melanoma, they are destructive and can result in damage to facial structures, such as the eyes and ears. They are also often more challenging to remove, since they are often lager in size and typically occur on the face. In the case of SCC, it may also spread to distant lymph nodes.

Treating Non-Melanomas

The primary goal when treating skin cancers is the complete removal of the tumour. This is usually done via surgical excision performed by a plastic surgeon, dermatologic surgeon, or your GP – depending on the size and location of your tumour. The aim is to remove the tumour in its entirety, while preserving as much of the tissue as possible. In some instances, non-invasive treatments (such as radiotherapy, curettage, and cryosurgery) can be used. Your doctor may recommend these if you’re at a high risk fo surgery. They’re also ideal in instances of large, non-invasive Melanomas or early BCCs.

Your doctor may perform the surgery under local anaesthesia, sedation, or with general anaesthetic. This decision is based, once again, on the size and location of the tumour. Your age is another factor that may play a role in this decision. Excision is usually a day case surgery, but there are instances when patients may need to stay in hospital overnight.

What you need to know after surgery

You can expect a fair amount of downtime, with bruising taking roughly two weeks to settle. Swelling may take a little longer to go down, usually subsiding after three or four weeks. Procedures performed on the forehead and around the eyes may result in more significant swelling around the eyes. Fortunately, this usually settles fairly quickly.

You can expect wounds on your face to heal fully within two to three weeks. Wounds on the body may take a little longer to heal – roughly three to four weeks. Skin grafts on the lower leg may take even longer to heal, depending on how good the blood supply is.

Your scars may be red and raised throughout the healing process. It could take about 9 – 12 months for these scars to mature fully. Fortunately, scars in elderly patients usually heal very well and are hardly noticeable with time.

Skin cancer prevention

If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer before, you’re at a high risk for developing a second cancer.  This means that life-long follow ups and skin checks are essential.

Make sure that you apply a sunscreen with SPF15 or higher on a regular basis. Doing so for the first 18 years of life could reduce the lifetime incidence of Non Melanoma skin cancers by an extimated 78%. This is why it’s vital that you protect your children from the sun’s damaging rays at all times.

Regular daily use of a sunscreen with an SPF15 or higher could reduce your chances of developing Melanomas by 50%. It also cuts your chances of developing Squamous Cell Carcinoma by approximately 40%.

When it comes down to it, there really is no reason not to apply sunscreen on a daily basis. It could greatly reduce your chances of developing both Melanoma and Non Melanoma skin cancers. It’s a small amount of effort that could end up saving your life!

Dr Rory’s Top 6 Spring Skincare Changes to Make Now

As temperatures begin to rise and thick jerseys are tossed aside for sleeveless tops, one thing you may have overlooked as you prepare for Spring is your skincare routine. Make no mistake: the rich lotions and nourishing oils that you relied on during the winter months just won’t cut it during the warmer weather.

Here are 6 of Dr Rory’s top Spring Skincare Changes to Take You into the New Season:


  1. Exfoliation is essential for good skincare

First thing’s first: a good exfoliation is just what the doctor ordered. It will help remove dead skin cells that usually result in a dull, dry complexion. A light chemical peel will help to get rid of dull, winter skin in a flash. Try the ZO Skin Health Ossential Skin Brightening Treatment at our Therapy Specialist MediSpa. You can also use a chemical exfoliant once or twice a week to ensure that your skin remains radiant as the season progresses.

  1. Start using a serum

It’s best to apply your serum to freshly cleansed skin before your usual moisturiser. A serum differs from a moisturiser. It contains a higher concentration of active ingredients. This makes it the perfect addition to your skincare routine, especially if you have specific skincare concerns like fine lines and wrinkles, or pigmentation. One of my top picks for Spring and Summer is SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic. This daytime Vitamin C serum reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improves the skin’s overall radiance. It also helps to protect your skin against environmental aggressors, like harsh UV rays and pollution.

  1. Lighten the load

It’s time to set aside the rich, nourishing night creams and luxurious facial oils that you’ve come to rely on during winter in favour of lighter, oil-free formulas that won’t clog your pores. Choose a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser, like SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture. This non-greasy, hydrating moisturiser maintains your skin’s moisture levels while protecting it from environmental damage.

  1. Wear sunscreen every day

If you don’t apply sunscreen on a daily basis, now’s the time to start. ZO Skin Health Oclipse Sunscreen + Primer SPF30. It is a multi-tasking product that everyone should own. Not only does it offer UVA and UVB protection, but it also doubles up as a makeup primer that improves the longevity of your foundation. Not a foundation fan? No problem! It’s tinted, so it’ll disguise a few imperfections for a more even appearance. What’s more, it won’t leave a chalky, white residue on the surface of your skin.

  1. Stay hydrated from the inside out

We all know that we should be drinking at least eight glasses of water every day, but how many of us actually manage this? Optimum water intake is not only essential for your overall health, but also helps to reduce the incidence of headaches (often as a result of dehydration) and improves the overall appearance of your skin. All the more reason o down a glass of H2O right this minute!

  1. Don’t forget your hands

You may have heard that your hands are one of the first places to show your true age, and we couldn’t agree more. Treat your hands to a pampering hand exfoliation, followed by a nourishing hand cream at least once a week. ZO Skin Health Oraser Correcting Hand and Body Scrub gives your skin a dual chemical and mechanical exfoliation using a combination of salicylic acid and sugar crystals. It also contains shea butter, mango, and safflower oils to soften your hands, feet, and other dry patches.

Pick one or two tips to incorporate into your beauty routine, or try them all. Either way, you’re bound to notice a vast improvement in the overall appearance of your skin. Contact our Aesthetician to learn more about skin health today.

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