Dysport vs. Botox: Which is Right for You?

An example of Dysport and Botox injection

Published Sept. 14, 2022

In recent years, Botox and Dysport have become the go-to treatment for people wanting to get rid of facial wrinkles. Both procedures involve the injection of Botulinum toxin, a purified substance derived from a certain type of bacteria.

But which should you go for, Dysport or Botox?

While both Dysport and Botox use Botulinum toxin to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, there are a lot of differences between them. Knowing these differences is crucial to choosing the best treatment for you and making the most out of your money.

To help you out, we created this detailed comparison of Dysport vs. Botox.

What is Botox?

Botox is a cosmetic procedure that involves injecting onobotulinumtoxinA, a substance derived from Botulinum toxin. Hence the name “Bo-tox”. It’s largely known for its ability to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles making you look younger. That’s why it’s typically used for treating forehead lines, crow’s feet, smile lines, as well as glabellar lines – the vertical lines found between your eyebrows. It’s also used to treat conditions like hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), lazy eye, and even neck spasms.

In the medical world, OnobotulinumtoxinA is what most people refer to as a neuromuscular blocker. It blocks certain chemical signals from the nerves which reduce muscular activity, one of the leading causes of wrinkles. 

When the facial muscles are relaxed and unable to move, there is less opportunity for wrinkles to form. This gives botox injections its characteristic anti-wrinkle effect.

What is Dysport?

Dysport is a trademarked name for a prescription injection used to treat moderate to severe cases of facial wrinkles, particularly the fine lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines). Like Botox, it’s also derived from the Botulinum toxin. As such, it also works by temporarily relaxing the facial muscles to prevent the formation of wrinkles.

Aside from those looking to get rid of fine lines and severe wrinkles, Dysport is also recommended for people who have:

  • had surgical procedures done on their face
  • droopy or sagging eyelids
  • deep facial scars
  • disproportioned face
  • have weak facial muscles
  • thick oily skin
  • wrinkles that can’t be smoothed by stretching the skin

Though it’s recommended for a variety of conditions, it’s not for everyone. Dysport isn’t recommended for people who:

  • are allergic to cow’s milk protein
  • have displayed allergic reactions to botulinum toxin and its by-products
  • have a skin infection in the target injection site
  • are having difficulty breathing and swallowing due to a muscle or nerve condition
  • have mild glabella lines

Since it’s a prescription treatment, you can only get a Dysport injection if you have expressed recommendation from your healthcare provider.

Dysport vs. Botox: The Face-off

Now that you understand both procedures as well as how they work and their uses, let’s compare the differences between Botox and Dysport.

Price

Winner: Dysport

On average, a botox injection costs about $12 per unit while Dysport typically comes at $4 to $5 per unit. Just by looking at these numbers, you’ll probably think that you’ll save a lot of money if you go for Dysport.

However, you also need to consider that the dosage differs for both procedures. In general, you need about 25 units of botox to get rid of frown lines. But such treatment typically requires 50 units of Dysport.

At $12 per unit, you’ll spend around $300 for Botox. While if you go for a Dysport injection that costs $5 per unit, you’ll pay about $250. In short, the amount is rather negligible.

Pros 

Winner: Dysport

In general, people prefer Botox because:

  • it can help with other medical conditions like chronic migraines, excessive sweating, and an overactive bladder
  • the entire procedure only takes less than 10 minutes making it perfect for people with tight schedules
  • it poses fewer side effects and risks when administered correctly
  • you’ll see visible results only after 2 to 3 days
  • it produces lasting results
  • you can customize your treatment plan and choose which areas of your face you’ll want to focus on

While those who prefer Dysport claim to do so because:

  • it creates a more natural appearance and doesn’t change the look or movement of the rest of your face
  • it also acts as a dermal filler by filling the empty spaces around the muscles caused by a lack of collagen and elastin
  • it prevents wrinkles from forming in the long run
  • it’s a great alternative for people who’ve developed a resistance to the effects of Botox
  • each injection contains lesser proteins than Botox so there’s a lesser chance of the patient developing an allergic reaction or resistance to it
  • it requires no downtime so you can go back to your usual activities right after the procedure
  • it diffuses easily so it covers a larger area

Cons

Winner: Botox

Some of the downsides of Botox are:

  • it limits your facial muscle movements creating a “frozen face” effect
  • some people tend to develop allergic reactions or resistance to Botox rendering the treatment ineffective
  • some patients tend to experience side effects like headaches, nausea, and droopy eyelids – though these are quite rare

But if you’re planning to get a Dysport injection, know that it has disadvantages too such as:

  • it involves a series of shallow injections which can be one needle too many for people with trypanophobia (fear of needles).
  • there are always risks of side effects like swelling, redness, tenderness, bleeding, and bruising
  • it contains certain proteins that may trigger an allergic reaction or drug resistance among patients
  • wrong administration can result in botulism, a type of botulinum toxin poisoning that can be fatal
An example of botox injection

Which Last Longer?

Winner: Botox

The effects of a botox injection can last up to six months. While a Dysport treatment may only be effective for up to four months.

Number of Treatments Needed

Winner: Botox

As the effects of Botox tend to last longer than Dysport, you’ll need fewer treatments per year if you go for the former.  Also, as mentioned, 25 units of Botox injections is already equivalent to about 50 Dysport units.

So, Which is Better?

Deciding which treatment procedure is better for you is a personal choice. And most of the time, your doctor will determine what treatment is appropriate for you.

Although rare, keep in mind that both Dysport and Botox injections can cause botulinum toxicity. So, whichever facial injections you will choose, it’s always best that a licensed medical practitioner should administer the treatment for you. In this way, you can make sure that you will have the procedure appropriate for your facial skin. And at the same time, you can make sure that everything will be safe because it’s done by a professional.

Both Botox and Dysport are nonsurgical procedures that use substances derived from botulinum toxin. Each can treat muscular conditions, as well as improve facial wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing the muscles. However, almost all insurance does not cover these kinds of cosmetic procedures.

Moreover, both Botox and Dysport injections only take a few minutes, and each procedure has little to no recovery time. Thus, both of them do not require hospitalization. Although temporary side effects may occur, such as slight pain, numbness, and headache, both are considered safe.

Can You Switch Between Dysport and Botox?

Yes, it’s safe to use Dysport and Botox alternatively. They contain basically the same ingredients and many people have been doing it.

Since they have different effects, switching between Botox and Dysport also allows you to determine which treatment works best for you. Furthermore, both treatments work best on different areas of the face so using both makes so much more sense. Some people also regularly switch between Dysport and Botox to lessen the risk of them developing resistance to both treatments.

If you can’t decide between the two or are planning to use both alternately, your doctor can recommend the best treatment for you.

(Related: Are PRP Injections Effective?)

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Judy Ponio is a professional writer and SEO specialist.

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is a professional writer and SEO specialist. She works hard to ensure her work uses accurate facts by cross checking reputable sources. She is the lead author for several prominent websites covering a variety of topics including law, health, nutrition, and more.