No one is immune to the effects of aging. The myriad of age-related facial symptoms can vary from one person to the next, from lines and wrinkles to sagging skin and even discoloration. But one thing remains constant: if you want smoother skin with fewer visible wrinkles, regular injections of a neuromodulator, like Botox or Dysport, should be part of your anti-aging routine. But with several options available, each claiming to be better than the next, how can you know which wrinkle-reducing injectable is best for you? We’re doing the work, so you don’t have to.
Two of the most popular injectables are Botox (the original botulinum toxin type A product, which has been used for the past 20 years) and Dysport. While much of what patients choose comes down to personal preference, there’s a lot to know about each product. Although Botox and Dysport work towards the same end goal and seem relatively similar (they also have medical indications besides their cosmetic applications), they’re pretty different. Both utilize botulinum toxin, the protein that limits muscle contractions to smooth the skin and reduce the formation of static wrinkles (ones that appear when the face is at rest). And both have temporary results in terms of diminishing wrinkles and fine lines. But that’s where the similarities end, and the differences begin.
Suppose you’re considering a wrinkle-reducing injectable for the first time or are thinking of switching to a new brand. In that case, these are the significant differences between Botox and Dysport to determine which is best for you.
They both use different proteins.
The difference in molecular structure is what sets Botox and Dysport apart. Although they both contain botulinum toxin type A, the main ingredient in these products, the proteins are a point of distinction. The neuromodulators’ proteins can communicate with nerves and stop the contraction that causes a wrinkle to form. Botox contains unique proteins. Dysport contains additional proteins, making it a heavier, less potent formulation. That’s why you need more Dysport to get a similar effect to Botox.
Both products also go through a purification procedure that is different from one to the next. For example, Botox follows a purification process of repeated precipitation and re-dissolution, and Dysport is purified by a column separation method.
Botox has more FDA-approved uses, and this is a big plus.
When an injectable product receives FDA approval, it undergoes a rigorous, multi-year testing and assessment process. From there, the FDA approves areas where the product is safe and studied for use. As a result, Botox holds more FDA approvals than Dysport and can be used to smooth out frown lines, crow’s feet, and forehead lines. Dysport is currently only FDA-approved for use between the eyebrows.
Botox is stronger.
When comparing the two, Botox is more potent than Dysport. A single unit of Botox is believed to be almost three times more potent than a unit of Dysport. That means that more Dysport is more dilute, so your injector needs to administer more products to produce a similar result, which also drives up the cost.
The 'spread' of each is different.
Some patients like Botox over Dysport, and others prefer it the other way around. Since Botox and Dysport have different molecular compositions, the way each product diffuses and behaves is also different. The more ‘spread’ a product has, the more area it can treat in a single session and the more diffuse the effects. Of course, injector technique and skill play a considerable role in the final result. While Botox and Dysport can reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles, Botox is a higher concentration and spreads slower, which is why many skincare experts prefer to use it to treat smaller areas.
Both act temporarily.
No matter which injectable you decide on, both offer temporary results since neither Botox nor Dysport is a permanent fix for wrinkles. While Dysport’ kicks in’ faster, usually in a few days, compared to Botox, which can take five to seven days, Botox tends to last a little longer.
They both come with potential, yet rare, side effects.
Side effects and adverse reactions to neuromodulators are rare, and most patients do just fine with injections. However, there is always the potential for side effects, and those associated with both Botox and Dysport include:
- Temporary bruising and swelling
- Minor pain
- Redness at the injection site
- A short-term headache
- Weakness or dizziness