Dysport vs Botox: The ultimate comparison

Dysport vs BotoxAs far as wrinkle treatments go, there is no denying that Botox is a household name.  However, there are alternatives to Botox that are available.  Dysport is one of them.  However, what are the differences?  In this post, we will explore Dysport vs Botox.

What is Dysport?

Like Botox, Dysport is an injection that softens frown lines and dynamic wrinkles.  As a neurotoxin, it limits muscle movement in the treated area, so it decreases the appearance of wrinkles that occur when muscles contract.

Wrinkles appearing from muscle movements are those in the frown, crows feet, and forehead.

Dysport can also be used to raise the eyebrows, lift the corners of the mouth, decrease dimpling in the chin, reduce neck lines, and slim the face by decreasing the bulk of the jaw muscles.

How long does Dysport last?

Clinical studies show that Dysport lasts up to 4 months.  This is similar to Botox.  In my experience, some patients find that Dysport lasts longer than Botox; whereas, others note the opposite or no difference between the two injectables.

On average, there is no difference in how long wrinkles stay away with either Dysport or Botox.  However, every individual is different, so one may find that one of these products lasts longer than the other for them.

How fast does Dysport start working?

Both Dysport and Botox are absorbed by nerve endings near the treated areas soon after injection.  They work by blocking the release of transmitters from the nerves that signal muscles to contract.

The majority of people begin to see the effects of Dysport 2-3 days after injection.  This is a slightly faster onset of action than Botox which is typically about 3 days after injection.

For both Dysport and Botox, effects reach full result in 2-3 weeks.

In the case of time to onset in Dysport vs Botox, Dysport has the advantage.

Effectiveness and final appearance

Once they reach full effect, both Dysport and Botox are equally great at reducing wrinkles.

Treatment with Dysport does require more units than Botox to get the same result, but with appropriate dosing, each gives equally effective final results.

Potential risks

One unique feature about Dysport is that it has a feathering effect.  Meaning, the effects gradually taper off as you move away from the center of injection.

This can be both good and bad.

When injecting a muscle that we want to soften, Dysport could spread to affect a muscle that we don’t want to treat if the two are located near each other.

Dysport vs Botox lower crows feet areaAn area where this could occur is in the lower aspect of the crows feet.  The lower outer edge of the crows feet is relatively close to the upper end of one the muscles needed for smiling.

So if too much is injected in the lower portion of the crows feet, some Dysport could spread wide and impact the smile.  This would lead to a crooked smile.

Another area where the spread of medicine could be a problem is in the chin.

We aim to accomplish two things in treating the chin.  One is to reduce dimpling of the chin itself.  The other is to lift the corners of the mouth.

We have to be precise in treating both because any drift of medication could effect the muscles used to speak and smile.

Just to be clear, the spread of medicine to unwanted areas could also occur with Botox, but it may be a little more likely with Dysport because of its feathering effect.

Natural appearance

On the other hand, the main benefit of the feathering effect of Dysport is that it can create a more natural appearance.

By naturally feathering itself at it’s edges, there can be less of a demarcation between treated and untreated areas.

Two areas where this may be particularly helpful are the forehead and crows feet.

In some patients who get Botox in their forehead, there is an obvious and abrupt transition between treated and untreated areas which creates a “boxy” appearance.

When these patients lift their eyebrows to wrinkle their forehead, the center part of the forehead is smooth, but there area wrinkles around the edge.  The result is that the treated part of the forehead, which is in the center, looks like a rectangular box.

It is very obvious where treatment ended.

To create a smooth result with Botox, very small amounts of medicine have to be placed around the edges to blend them.  Dysport naturally blends, so there is less of a chance to end up with a “boxy” result.

Similarly in the crows feet, it is critical to blend between the bottom of the crows feet and upper cheek.  Otherwise, there is an obvious transition especially visible when smiling.

Again, blending can be done using micro-drops of Botox, but Dysport often does it naturally.


To the consumer, the cost of both Dysport and Botox are usually about the same.  In our office, they are exactly the same.

You need more units of Dysport to get the same result as Botox, so the price per unit of Dysport is less.  Since you need more, however, the final price ends up being the same.

The companies that synthesize each of these products do occasionally run promotions which makes one product more attractive than the other from a cost perspective.

Dysport vs Botox: The final verdict

In the battle of Dysport vs Botox, there is no clear winner.  The choice of which product to use depends on many factors including the individual response of the patient, the familiarity of the injector with the nuances of the product being used, and the areas being treated.

A skilled injector can get excellent results with either product, and the only way to assess individual response is to try each one and compare for yourself.

One word of caution in doing a personal Dysport vs Botox challenge.

It may not be fair to draw a final conclusion after one treatment of each.  A little know fact is that the FDA allows a certain range of potency in the manufacture of each of these products.

Meaning, you could get one bottle of Botox that is super-potent and another that is on the weaker side.  If you ended up being treated with a super-potent bottle of Dysport and compared it to a treatment from a weaker bottle of Botox, you would probably think that Dysport was far superior.  However, it could have just been that the Botox was a weaker batch.

As injectors, we can’t tell which bottles are more or less potent.  So, it’s safest to do several injections with each product for a really good comparison.

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