Since the FDA’s approval of Botox for cosmetic use in 2002, it has become one of the most well-known and widely used injectables for treating forehead lines, fine lines and “crow’s feet” around the eyes. Following not far behind it is Dysport, which entered the U.S. market in 2009, but was used in Europe as an alternative to Botox for more than a decade before that.
For years, these two options were seen as the only truly effective wrinkle treatments, but today, there are a wider variety of options for fine lines and wrinkles. Knowing which one is better for you comes down to understanding what each one does, how they’re different and what results you are looking for.
“Many doctors will tell you that comparing Botox and Dysport is like comparing apples to apples,” says Dr. Rachel Quinby-Graves, a board-certified dermatologist at North Texas Dermatology Plano. “That’s because they are very similar in that they’re both injectable neurotoxins that are very effective in minimizing the look of wrinkles.”
Both are also effective in treating hyperhidrosis, or severe sweating under the arms, as well as other non-cosmetic medical conditions.
Despite new treatments on the market, the popularity of these injectables as a cosmetic procedure continues to rise; in 2016, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that more than 7 million people received wrinkle treatment injections.
Botox vs. Dysport: How They Compare
As already noted, both Botox and Dysport are neurotoxins used to treat wrinkles. When injected, they relax the muscles and prevent those muscles from contracting, so they don’t react when you smile, laugh or frown. That keeps wrinkles from forming.
They are different than fillers, which also are a popular way to treat wrinkles.
“Injectable fillers work by actually filling the crease in the skin with another substance,” Dr. Quinby-Graves says. “Botox and Dysport paralyze those muscles, so they’re relaxed and will give you smoother skin and a more youthful appearance.”
Although Botox and Dysport work much the same way, the length of time for each one to take effect, as well as the amount needed for effective treatment, can differ.
After an injection, it generally takes Botox up to two weeks to reach its full effect, although you will probably start seeing some noticeable improvements within 72 hours. Dysport may have more immediate effects in some patients.
The effects of Botox can last anywhere from three to six months, depending on the area treated and how much is required to relax the muscle. After about a year of treatments, you can often go longer between treatments because it takes less effort for those muscles to relax.
Dysport is FDA approved to last four months, but, like Botox, may last as long as six months, depending on the individual.
What Makes Botox and Dysport Different
Perhaps the biggest difference you’ll notice between Botox and Dysport is the amount required for treatment. Dysport is more diluted than Botox, which means you’ll receive more dosage units if you use Dysport.
Dysport also reacts differently once injected, spreading to a wider area, while Botox stays near its injection area. If you’re treating a large area, like the forehead, Dysport may be able to spread out more, but Botox might be preferred for smaller areas, such as around the eyes.
“What it comes down to is finding a professional who understands the muscle structure of the face and can look at what’s best for you,” Dr. Quinby-Graves says. “It could even be that Botox is better for some areas of your face and Dysport is better for others.”
Who’s a Good Candidate for Botox and Dysport?
Chances are, whatever your age or skin type, you’re a good candidate for either Botox or Dysport. Most people who use wrinkle-treating injectables are between the ages of 35 and 65. Although treatments are still more popular with women, the number of men in that same age range increased by more than 300 percent between 2000 and 2015, according to an American Society of Plastic Surgeons study.
“More people realize that this is a simple way to maintain a youthful appearance,” Dr. Quinby-Graves says. “There’s more of an emphasis on men’s appearances these days, particularly with social media and online dating, and this is a way for them to maintain a healthy, youthful look without having an invasive procedure.”
Younger people are dabbling with injectables, too; the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reports that the number of patients under the age of 30 who are choosing non-surgical “prejuvenation” methods continues to increase each year.
The most important thing to remember when deciding on Botox versus Dysport is that you want to trust the professional who is providing the injections. If you’re interested in seeing what Botox or Dysport can do for you, contact U.S. Dermatology Partners today to make an appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists.