Laser facelift or Botox: Which method is suitable for which purpose?


Skin aging is a natural process that starts in everyone over time. As the skin becomes less elastic over the years and collagen formation decreases, deep expression lines dominate the appearance in addition to fine lines and small wrinkles. Due to external factors such as alcohol or free radicals, visible skin aging begins very early in some affected individuals – sometimes before the age of 30. In order to curb the visible skin wrinkles, medical science is using innovative treatment options such as the laser facelift in addition to proven, well-known methods such as Botox. In the following article, both methods, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, are presented and recommendations for use are given.

Laser facelift: definition, area of application and procedure

Laser facelift aims to smooth skin wrinkles while stimulating natural collagen formation. In this way, long-lasting skin smoothing is to be achieved. Depending on the indication, such a minimally invasive facelift is performed for superficial or deeper wrinkles, pigment spots, moderate age-related skin sagging or sun-damaged skin. Depending on the location and size of the skin wrinkles, the treatment is usually performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. In one or more sessions, the used tissue is removed by high-energy light.

Advantages and disadvantages of laser facelifting

A major advantage of laser facelifting is the long-lasting and intensive skin tightening. Due to the fact that the collagen layer is rebuilt by fractional laser impulses, the skin rejuvenation reaches its peak only after several months. Depending on the individual lifestyle, the result remains for about eight to ten years afterwards. In addition, the facial skin does not look altered in its facial expression or “operated” after the laser facelift. It is also possible to apply the treatment only to individual areas and to adjust it individually to the respective skin type.

Another advantage is the minimally invasive method as such, which leaves no scars or marks and causes only moderate pain. In the case of laser facelifting, how sustainable the minimally invasive method is is also related to proper aftercare. Patients should avoid intense UV sun exposure for the first six months after laser facelift and consistently use moisturizing or lipid-containing creams for skin care. After the treatment, it is also necessary to cool the face with cold compresses and wash it several times a day. Disadvantages of the method are the risks associated with it. In rare cases, the desired tightening effect does not occur. Sometimes slightly reddened skin, swelling or increased sensitivity to the sun may also occur.

Area of application of wrinkle treatment with Botox

With a treatment with botulinum toxin, visible results can often be achieved after a single application. Unlike a laser facelift, this treatment uses a medically prepared bacterial protein that specifically reduces expression lines, laugh lines or frown lines. In the low dosage, the nerve toxin blocks the excitation transmission of neurotransmitters to the nerve endings, which paralyzes the muscle movements in the respective skin area. As a result, the muscles relax and wrinkles are visibly reduced.

Furthermore, Botox is used to alleviate conditions such as migraines, spasticity or muscle twitching. Similar to laser facelift, the treatment proceeds in several steps: After the consultation and planning of the procedure, Dr. Bernard performs it under local anesthesia. Here, the doctor injects the required amount of Botox into the respective muscle with a fine needle.

Advantages and disadvantages of Botox treatment

One of the biggest advantages of Botox treatment is the prompt effect. Unlike laser facelifts, Botox usually smoothes out smaller wrinkles within 12 to 24 hours. Thus, the skin looks fresh and regenerated within a short time. The peak of the effect is reached after about 14 days and then subsides over time.

Furthermore, the use of Botox, which has been used in aesthetic medicine for decades, is now considered very safe due to its precise dosage. In contrast to a facelift, treatment with Botox also costs considerably less. While patients have to budget at least 1,500 euros for a laser treatment, the prices for a therapy with Botox start at around 100 euros, depending on the area and the amount. If there is a medical necessity – for example, in the case of migraine or teeth grinding – the health insurance company will cover the costs of the procedure in individual cases.

On the other hand, the relatively short shelf life is a disadvantage: the skin rejuvenation does not last for several years, as it does after laser treatment, but must be refreshed at regular intervals – after about four to six months. Another disadvantage of Botox is the rare, possible side effects that can result from the procedure: In addition to infections, slight swelling, bruising or reddened skin areas, an asymmetrical facial expression (such as a raised eyebrow) can occur in rare cases. Furthermore, symptoms such as muscle pain or headache, skin rashes, allergic reactions, dry mucous membranes or muscle weakness are rare side effects. Patients can reduce the risk of unwanted side effects with proper follow-up care. They should therefore avoid sports and cosmetic treatments as well as sauna sessions during the first few weeks. In addition, patients should not press on the treated skin areas to avoid infections.

Furthermore, Botox may not be used in some patients. Contraindications include coagulation disorders, neuromuscular diseases, and certain skin and eye diseases. Also, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and adolescents under 18 should not or must not be treated with Botox.

Conclusion: Wrinkle treatment with laser or Botox

Botox and laser are both suitable for smoothing wrinkles depending on the individual case. Their areas of application vary slightly, as laser facelifting is predominantly used for age-related wrinkles, while treatment with Botox tends to be more directed at treating expression lines. Both methods achieve different results and come with individual benefits and risks, so be sure to seek detailed medical advice before making a decision. In addition to the laser lift and Botox, there is also the option of fillers. Only together with an experienced plastic aesthetic surgeon like Dr. Bernard should you determine which method is more suitable for you.