Dysport vs. Botox: What's the Big Difference?

Dysport vs. Botox: What's the Big Difference?

Botox is the injectable wrinkle fighter that everyone's heard of.

In fact, the product is so synonymous with its impressive results that many people think that’s the actual name of the ingredient!

However, there's another product on the market that you may not have heard of before that claims similar results.

For many, the decision to pursue injectables to help manage their skin care issues comes down to Dysport vs. Botox.

But what’s the difference, and which one is right for you? We're breaking it all down.

A little terminology

Before digging into Dysport vs. Botox, let’s go over a little bit of terminology. Discussion of both of these injectables often centers around where on the face it is used, and tends to use medical terms.

To avoid confusion, here’s a quick primer on some of the terms you’ll encounter:

  • GLABELLAR LINES: The glabellar lines that are so often a target of both Dysport and Botox are located between the eyebrows. They can extend either up and down or side to side and are often referred to as “frown lines.”  These are often the very first visible signs of the aging process. You may hear people refer to these lines as the “11s,” as well, after the up-and-down direction they occur in. 
  • BUNNY LINES: “Bunny” lines are the fine lines that show up when you wrinkle your nose, usually on either side of your nose just beneath the bridge. They can occur either straight or diagonal.  
  • CROW’S FEET: Crow’s feet extend from the outside corner of your eye toward the side of your face. They are usually more prominent when you smile or laugh. 
  • SMILE LINES: Known medically as nasolabial folds, these lines occur at the corner of the mouth. They are sometimes called marionette lines and usually extend out and down.

Botox 101

In the Dysport vs. Botox battle, let’s start with the more well-known of the two. 

Botox has been around for decades, and it first started making waves in the cosmetic treatment industry in the 1990s.

However, it wasn’t until April of 2002 that the FDA officially approved it to treat glabellar lines. (It may even surprise you that it was only approved for treating crow’s feet in 2013, which wasn’t all that long ago.)

Botox is also known as Botulinum toxin type A. Most people know that Botox is a form of botulism, but many don’t understand exactly what that means and how that’s possible. 

Technically, the same method of action that gives Clostridium botulinum its classification as a neurotoxin is what makes it so potent for wrinkle reduction. 

When injected, Botox also paralyzes certain muscles in the face and blocks the firing of specific nerves. While it doesn’t possess all of the other scary symptoms that people get when they have botulism, the neurotoxic abilities remain the same.

Botox is delivered in “units,” with different amounts recommended depending on where you want to treat and how deep the wrinkles are. It has also been used for other things, which gives it a slight edge in the Dysport vs. Botox conversation.

Things like excessive underarm sweating, migraines and overactive bladder have all been targets of Botox treatments, and research continues into other ways of using it as well.

Dysport 101

Dysport, on the other hand, is a little bit more of a newcomer. It has just reached FDA approval in April of 2009, and only for glabellar lines.

Dysport, just like Botox, is also a variation of Botulinum (abobotulinumtoxinA). The main difference between Botox and Dysport really comes down to their concentration.

Botox is more concentrated, while Dysport is essentially a diluted version. 

When it comes to who may benefit the most from Dysport, it was mostly designed to help those with moderate to severe glabellar lines. 

Just like Botox, Dysport is delivered in “units.” The usual recommended dosage is up to 50 units total, divided into five portions injected directly into the target areas.

How these toxins work

Although there is a slight difference in potency and effectiveness between Dysport and Botox, the way they work in the body is the same. 

When you schedule an appointment, it starts with evaluating your skin and what your skin goals are. That can help us decide which of the two products will be best for helping you reach them.

First, your skin will be numbed with a mild anesthetic to help take away any potential pain. Most people describe the feeling as a slight pinching. Then, using very tiny needles, either Dysport or Botox is injected just under the skin into the underlying muscle.

If it helps ease your jitters, the size of the needles is no bigger than just three strands of hair.

Once the medication is injected, it works to paralyze those muscles, which also relaxes them. With the muscles in the face still, the skin above them appears smoother and more wrinkle-free.

Neither injection can eliminate the wrinkles for good, but they can make them far less noticeable. 

How much downtime should I expect after these injections?

One of the best parts about doing injectables is that they don’t come anywhere near the downtime that total cosmetic surgery requires. In fact, there is so little downtime involved with Dysport and Botox that many people return to their jobs right after treatment.

If there are any side effects from the injections, they are usually very mild in nature. These include swelling and bruising at the injection sites or even mild flu-like symptoms, such as headaches.

There are a few things to take into account after your appointment, too. It’s recommended that you not touch or otherwise manipulate the area that the injections were given in for at least 4 hours. 

In addition, avoid laying down flat or working out for extended amounts of time. This can help reduce the likelihood that the medication will migrate out of its injected areas. 

How long will my results last?

How quickly your results show up and how long they last have a lot to do with which injectable you get and how many units are used.

Dysport, for instance, usually only takes a few days for you to see full results. In general, the results can last for three to four months before needing to be refreshed. 

Botox, on the other hand, takes longer at first. Most people report that they begin to see results in a week or so after the injections, but it may take up to an entire month. 

However, they also tend to last a little bit longer, potentially up to six months. Studies have shown that Botox wins the Dysport vs. Botox battle every time you’re looking for longer-lasting results. 

If you continue to use either injectable, you’ll get to know just how long they last for you. Most people will schedule follow-up appointments in three to four months, which is usually before the medication has worn off. 

What are my other options?

Not every wrinkle is something that can be treated with injectables. In some cases, the lines are too deep or too set to have either Dysport or Botox make a difference. 

But that doesn’t mean that you have to live with those lines. There are other options out there to help you feel more comfortable with your appearance without going through complicated and risky procedures. 

Instead of stilling the movement of the muscles under the skin, fillers plump up the wrinkle and fill it out more (hence the name). While fillers are often spoken about more in terms of how they are used to plump up the lips, they have a lot of other abilities. This is just one of them.

To wrap it up...

Between the battle of Dysport vs. Botox, the winner is whichever one works best to help you achieve your goals! 

If you have fairly significant frown lines, Dysport may be most effective. However, if you’d like a more all-over anti-aging boost, Botox could be your best choice. 

Either way, you can count on advanced practice providers at Skin Pharm to help you be as happy and confident as possible in your own skin. 


Botox | Botulinum Toxin | Botox Injections | MedlinePlus

A comparison of two botulinum type a toxin preparations for the treatment of glabellar lines: double-blind, randomized, pilot study | PubMed

A systematic review of dermal fillers for age-related lines and wrinkles | PubMed


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