Botox Vs. Dysport: What’s The Difference?
Botox and Dysport are both neurotoxins (forms of botulinum toxin type A) that have been approved by the FDA for minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. While both products are used for the same indications and are chemically similar, there are a few key differences between the two. These differences are so great that its important for patients to understand that these products are not interchangeable.
In this post we’ll discuss both the similarities of Botox and Dysport, as well as provide guidance on which neuromodulator is best:
The difference between Botox and Dysport comes down to varying formula characteristics:
Dosage: There is one important difference between Botox and Dysport: they are dosed differently. For example 50 units of Botox does not equal 50 units of Dysport. Please see a licensed injector for proper dosage.
Dilution: Dysport is diluted differently than botox. So if a patient is used to a certain number of Botox units for a treatment they will likely need to increase the number of units when switching to Dysport (or vice versa). However, greater dilution does not mean that Dysport is less effective than Botox. It just means that a higher quantity of Dysport is needed to achieve the same level of result. For clinics that price the products by the unit, you will find that that price per unit of Dysport is typically much lower than the price per unit of Botox, but to get a similar treatment result the final cost may be about the same.
Molecule size: The Dysport formula contains smaller molecules compared to Botox, which may be beneficial. Smaller molecules enable Dysport to work faster than Botox and a larger area of spreading. In some areas this is beneficial and in some areas this is not. That is why it is very important to go to a provider who has lots of experience and expertise in proper dosing and placement of your neurotoxin.
Diffusion: Dysport tends to diffuse more than Botox, causing it to spread to a broader area after it’s injected. This means a larger treatment area can be addressed in fewer injections, which can be beneficial when addressing larger treatment areas. However, this diffusion means Dysport is less effective in treating smaller areas where more precision is needed or areas with thicker muscles.
Onset: Compared to Botox, Dysport has the quickest “onset” of action; typically requiring 24 hours for all results to be realized. Botox can take up to 72 hours for results to fully establish.
Over time, fine lines and wrinkles naturally develop in areas of the face due to repetitious muscle contractions from normal everyday facial movements or expressions. For example, smiling and squinting create ‘crow’s feet’ around the eyes, while raising your eyebrows results in forehead lines.
Both Botox and Dysport address fine lines and wrinkles by relaxing muscle tissue to the point where they prevent the muscle from contracting. When either product is injected into a targeted muscle area the nerve impulses that control muscle contraction are temporarily blocked. The resulting decrease in movement and relaxation of muscles reduces the appearance of wrinkles in the area.
The results of both Botox and Dysport are temporary. After a period of time nerve impulses begin to reach the targeted muscle area again, resulting in both muscle contractions and the reappearance of wrinkles and lines. However, an experienced injector can maintain the positive results of neurotoxins with regular treatment sessions approximately every 3-6 months.
Studies: Which Is Better?
In the Botox versus Dysport debate, there have been patient reviews supporting the superiority of both products. However, these are only personal reports with no scientific proof supporting the claim.
To date the only study focused on the cosmetic differences between Botox and Dysport was undertaken in 2011 (note the study was funded by Dysport’s parent company Medicis Aesthetics). Subjects of the study were injected with Botox on one side of their face and Dysport on the other side. The study showed a notable difference in wrinkles after 30 days, with the Dysport side having fewer wrinkles when the subjects smiled. One problem with this study is that there isn’t one clinically accepted conversion ratio used to compare the thinner, more diluted Dysport to the thicker, more concentrated Botox. This uncertainty led Allergan (Botox’s parent company) to conclude that researchers simply used more Dysport than Botox, which is highly probable.
In the end, the choice between Botox and Dysport may come down to simple preference of both the injector and the patient. At times, skilled injectors may even use both products concurrently during a single treatment session to most effectively produce a patients’ desired result.