Botox, the injectable wrinkle treatment that temporarily paralyzes muscles, is one of the most famous beauty treatments out there. And Botox itself has become something of a catch-all term for all neuromodulators derived from the botulinum toxin. Sort of how no one says, “take ibuprofen” when you have a headache. They say, “take an Advil.” Botox is the name-brand drug of the injectable world.
So you might be surprised to learn that there’s more than one type of botulinum toxin-based wrinkle treatment. Botox isn’t the only one out there. One that’s becoming more popular is Dysport, which was widely used in Europe for many years before becoming FDA approved in 2009. But is Dysport exactly the same as its better known counterpart? The short answer is no. We’re here to break down the similarities and differences between Botox vs. Dysport.
What do Botox and Dysport have in common?
They’re both derived from botulinum toxin, which causes localized temporary paralysis of muscles. Stopping muscles in your face from moving temporarily releases wrinkles for a smoother, more youthful appearance. Both Botox and Dysport treat wrinkles this way. They are both administered by injection, and last between 2-6 months, although Dysport may not last quite as long on average.
How are Botox and Dysport different?
They treat different areas of the face
The main difference between Botox and Dysport is what areas of the face each of them are best for. Botox can be used in multiple areas of the face, including forehead, frown lines, crow’s feet, the mouth, and masseter muscle in the jaw. Botox does not have as much diffusion as Dysport, so it’s good for targeted areas. In other words, the injection stays where you put it, and doesn’t drift outward from the injection site.
By comparison, Dysport is best for frown lines, also called “elevens”--the lines that form between your eyebrows. In fact Dysport is technically only FDA approved for cosmetic use in one area: frown lines on the forehead. Frown lines tend to be some of the deepest wrinkles on the face, and Dysport is best for treating deeper wrinkles as opposed to fine lines.
Dysport has more diffusion, meaning it will spread out more from the injection site. The upside? You can treat a larger area with fewer injections. The downside? It’s not good for areas where precision is required, like around the eyes or for a lip flip. You don’t want your injections to spread out too much in these areas.
The dosage requirements are different
These products also differ in relative strength. A single unit of Botox is about three times stronger than a single unit of Dysport. That means you’d need three times as much Dysport to see the same results as Botox. If you’ve been getting Botox for frown lines and want to try Dysport, you’ll need more units to get the same results as what you’re used to. Dysport is a little less expensive per unit, but having to use more of it means the price of the treatments end up pretty comparable.
Dysport takes effect faster
The other difference between Botox and Dysport is that they don’t take effect at the same time. Botox takes longer to kick in, which is where Dysport has an advantage. It takes up to two weeks after injection for Botox to reach its full effect. By contrast, Dysport starts to show results about 2-3 days post injection. Some people even see results within 24 hours. So if you want fast results for frown lines, Dysport may be just what you’re looking for.
We’ll be honest and admit that we still think Botox is the gold standard for treating fine lines and wrinkles. You can’t beat its versatility, and being able to use it on so many areas of the face to get great results. But Dysport has its upsides for treating frown lines quickly and safely. So now you know what each product is best for, and which one may be right for you.