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As we get more informed about the products we use, we want to make sure we’re not missing out on anything. When it comes to injecting stuff into your face, it doesn’t hurt to know if there’s a better option. We’re all familiar with Botox, but what’s the deal with Dysport? More importantly, what’s the difference between Dysport and Botox? When it comes to Dysport vs Botox, which one performs better in treating wrinkles in the forehead, around the eyes, and between the brows?
Personally, I have absolutely nothing to do with these injectables other than the fact that I am at the receiving end of them. So when I hear from word of mouth that Botox supposedly has a new rival, I like to know about it.
Because I want to know if my injections can last longer or if there’s any way to make these injectables, you know, less expensive! If you’re like me, here’s what you need to know.
Both Dysport and Botox are brand names for type A Botulinum Toxin and are widely used for non-invasive anti-aging treatments (1). Both products are safe to use as they’re both FDA-approved (2).
Dysport and Botox are two different brands designed to treat the same issues. They’re commonly used to remove the visibility of wrinkles in the forehead, between the brows, and around the eyes along with other wrinkles on the face.
They both take the same amount of time to perform and have the same potential side effects. If they’re so similar, then what’s the difference between Dysport and Botox?
Dysport vs Botox
Botox was first FDA-approved for treating wrinkles in 2002. When you’re the first at something, you pretty much cover “branding” right off the bat.
And Dysport was approved for treating wrinkles in 2009. It hasn’t been around as long as Botox. That’s why people are having a hard time changing from Botox to Dysport.
The 7-year gap favors Botox because it means more exposure and familiarity with the product. Here’s how they compare in more detail.
One unit of Botox equals 3-5 units of Dysport. But this literally doesn’t mean anything. It does not make one better than the other. It certainly doesn’t mean that one is stronger than the other. It’s because of the way they are made; the molecular structure they have.
Dysport is a smaller molecule compared to Botox. This causes some differences in terms of potency. This means both products achieve the same result using different amounts of units.
Does this mean Botox is better because you need less product? Not necessarily. It simply means that they’re different. But there is a difference that might be the only one that matters. To clarify the issue, I reached out to board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ken Smart from Frisco Plastic Surgery:
“Because of Dysport’s molecular structure, the product tends to spread a bit more. This could potentially increase the risk of eyelid drooping if it migrated into the wrong muscle.“
Considering that you’re working with very small and delicate muscles, I think this would count as an important difference. Then again, these potential risks can be the same for Botox if not performed by a professional. So, keep that in mind.
You might think that Dysport costs more than Botox as Dysport requires more units. The prices for these products can vary depending on your doctor and the geographical area. Again, Dr. Smart clarifies:
“Botox costs $10 – $13 per unit in Texas. Dysport costs about half the price per unit. But as Dysport takes about twice the units to achieve the same result, the price ends up the same.”
Regarding the cost, it’s safe to say that they’re pretty much equal.
Unfortunately, there’s not enough research on the efficacy of Botox vs Dysport. And not enough research on longevity either. The only objective research available on the topic is this one from 2011 (3).
During the study, 53 patients were injected with Botox on half of their upper face and with Dysport on the other half. All patients were monitored for 150 days. And the result is that there is no significant change in the way these drugs work.
The study slightly favors Dysport because the author notes that the difference in units may result in Dysport being more cost-effective.
Dr. Smart comments on the results according to his own experience:
“I’ve used Dysport but I use Botox almost exclusively now. They both work very well. But most people know Botox and just stick with it. Why change if it works? Dysport does have a quicker onset of action, as fast as 24 hours compared to Botox which is 3-5 days. In practice, I don’t see much difference between the two in the length of duration.”
The Bottom Line
- There’s not enough research/evidence on the subject.
- According to the study, there’s no significant difference between Dysport and Botox.
- The only major difference between the two is the structure of the products.
- This structure is what makes them unique in their own way.
- Dysport’s tendency to spread can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage.
These differences don’t make one better than the other. The fact that Dysport diffuses more can be leveraged when used in a wider area if performed by a professional. Most of the information about these two products concerns the doctors rather than us, people who get anti-wrinkle injections.
As I always say, if you choose your doctor wisely, you’ll get the most out of your procedure no matter what the product is. If your doctor is inexperienced, it won’t matter which product they use. Find a reliable doctor so that you can trust their choices as to which product they’re comfortable with using.
In the end, it turns out we’re not missing out on anything. Things seem to be pretty much the same between these two. Personally, I’m sticking with Botox.
Read Next: How Botox Treats Necklines and Wrinkles
- Ranoux, D., Gury, C., Fondarai, J., Mas, J. L., & Zuber, M. (2002). Respective potencies of Botox and Dysport: a double blind, randomised, crossover study in cervical dystonia. Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, 72(4), 459–462. https://doi.org/10.1136/jnnp.72.4.459
- MEDICATION GUIDE BOTOX® BOTOX® Cosmetic (Boe-tox) (onabotulinumtoxin. (n.d.). FDA. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.fda.gov/media/77359/download
- Basil M. Michaels, George A. Csank, Gabriel E. Ryb, Frederick N. Eko, Abigail Rubin, Prospective Randomized Comparison of OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) and AbobotulinumtoxinA (Dysport) in the Treatment of Forehead, Glabellar, and Periorbital Wrinkles, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 32, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 96–102, https://doi.org/10.1177/1090820X11430685