BOTOX® vs. DYSPORT®: Comparing and Contrasting Two Injectables

BOTOX® vs. DYSPORT®: Comparing and Contrasting Two Injectables

Industry surveys routinely show that the most popular cosmetic treatment in the United States is botulinum toxin injections, a category that includes several brands, including DYSPORT® and BOTOX®. San Francisco Bay Area-based board-certified facial plastic surgeons Dr. Sachin Parikh and Dr. David Lieberman offer both for treatments at their practice, with patients frequently asking about the differences between the two.


First, the similarities: Both BOTOX® and DYSPORT® are considered “neuromodulators,” because they impact how nerves work. Essentially, the active ingredient in these injectables—botulinum toxin type A—is a nerve blocker, preventing the proper reception of signals that tell muscles to contract. Introducing the chemical in small amounts to specifically targeted areas inhibits particular muscle activity.


In the case of BOTOX® and DYSPORT®, the impacted muscles are those that pull facial skin into wrinkles and folds, including horizontal forehead lines, frown lines, and crow’s feet. These are known as “dynamic wrinkles” because they appear due to the constant repetitive motion of the muscles associated with them.


Both injectables are effective, but temporary. The skin-smoothing effects appear gradually as muscles cease their regular movements, but visible lines and wrinkles return as the effects wear off in a matter of months and typical function is restored.


Botulinum toxin type A’s unique abilities have cosmetic and medical applications. BOTOX® and DYSPORT® both have FDA approvals for addressing facial lines, as well as calming limb spasticity and other muscle-related health issues.


The cosmetic form of DYSPORT® is FDA approved for glabellar lines, which are short, vertical lines that form roughly between the eyebrows. BOTOX® Cosmetic is also FDA approved for glabellar lines, as well as horizontal forehead lines and lateral canthal lines that radiate out from the outer corners of the eyes.


FDA approvals are significant, but they determine on how products can be marketed, not used. Off-label uses are those that are frequently employed by experienced physicians, even if they are not officially recognized by the Food and Drug Administration. BOTOX® Cosmetic, for instance, is also used to soften wrinkles and lines around the mouth, reduce the appearance of neck bands, and provide a slimming effect for a wide face.


BOTOX® and DYSPORT® do have some differences. Made by Allergan—also the producer of the Juvederm® line of dermal fillers—BOTOX® Cosmetic requires about three to seven days to take effect. DYSPORT®, made by Ipsen, begins to show visible results after one to two days.


The duration of effects from BOTOX® or DYSPORT® depends on a range of factors, including the patient’s own physiology. Both injectables can be expected to last for months, with muscle movement gradually returning.


A significant difference between the two is in how far the formula spreads from its injection site. BOTOX® stays closer to where it is injected; this is a mixed benefit, as this characteristic allows for greater precision, but also necessitates the use of more product to impact all of a targeted muscle. DYSPORT® has a greater tendency to spread, so less of it can be used to reduce wrinkles. That makes it a potentially more economical choice, but also curbs a physician’s ability to tailor precision-based results.


Both injectables are proven safe and effective, so choosing between the two is often a matter of personal choice. BOTOX® Cosmetic is arguably more popular, with millions of injections performed each year.


The best way to determine which is best—BOTOX® or DYSPORT®—is to schedule a consultation with a provider experienced in both injectables so they can take skin, signs of aging, cosmetic goals, desired results, and more into account when developing a recommendation. What works well for one person may not be ideal for another.


Find out more about DYSPORT® and BOTOX® injections from San Francisco Bay Area facial plastic surgeons Dr. David Lieberman and Dr. Sachin Parikh, serving Palo Alto, San Jose, and beyond. Call (650) 327-3232 or visit