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Botox vs Dysport: What’s the difference?

As an aesthetic injector I’m frequently asked the question “What is the difference between Dysport and Botox?” Both Dysport and Botox are botulinum neurotoxins produced from the fermentation of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum.

When you frown or concentrate, the muscles between your brows contract, causing your skin to furrow and fold, commonly referred to as frown lines. You’ll see lines forming when you squint or smile, and the muscles around your eyes contract, causing crow’s feet. When you raise your eyebrows, the muscles on your forehead contract, causing skin to furrow and fold. Both Dysport and Botox block the abilities of those muscle groups to contract, so those targeted facial muscles relax, and fine lines are minimized.

There are currently 8 serotypes of botulinum toxin however only two, serotypes A and B, are used in clinical practice. Both Botox and Dysport are botulinum toxin Type A neurotoxins which are composed of nontoxic accessory proteins (NAPs) and the 150-kD active neurotoxin bonded together. The action of the 150-kD neurotoxin can only take place when it is disassociated from the NAPs; this is where the difference in Botox and Dysport is apparent. During the manufacturing process, which purifies the neurotoxin into a pharmaceutically safe product, the two final products are composed of differing percentages of NAPs and the active neurotoxin.

The most important takeaway is that consumers should go to a provider who understands the dosing and placement of each of these drugs.

Dysport molecule size is smaller than Botox. The total molecular weight of Botox is 5.00 ng where the total molecular weight of Dysport is 0.87 ng. Some have theorized that due to the lower molecular weight of Dysport, the product may spread more in the targeted muscle, however in current recommended preparations this has been found to be untrue. Another common thought is that because of the higher molecular weight of Botox, perhaps it has a stronger effective action. However, studies have found no statistically significant evidence of this to be true.

So, what does that mean for you? Botox and Dysport vary in molecular weight, manufacturing process, and cost however current evidence shows no difference in the clinical results of one product over the other. The most important takeaway is that consumers should go to a provider who understands the dosing and placement of each of these drugs.

Personally, I have injected myself with both Botox and Dysport. I have not noticed a difference in strength or duration between either product, although anecdotally, I have had clients tell me they do notice a difference in some of these categories themselves. Reports I have received from clients include a longer duration of action of Botox, which is to say they think it “lasts longer” and a “softer” look with Dysport, and a quicker onset of desired action with Dysport.

My suggestion is to discuss your options with your injector and decide upon the best course of treatment with regards to your specific anatomy, preferences, and budget. We all have frown lines, but we don’t all want to treat them the same way, if at all! In the hands of a competent injector I am confident you will be happy with your results.


Heather Orr, MSN, FNP-C is a medical injector at Halcyon Med Spa.

Halcyon Med Spa is solely owned and operated by Dr. Lonnie Schwirtlich. All medical services are performed by Heather Orr, a Family Nurse Practitioner and Angelica Jackson, a Board Certified PA trained in Dermatology and an Allergen Master Injector.

Halcyon Med Spa is solely owned and operated by Dr. Jonathan Dancel D.O.

All medical services are performed by Allergan Master Injector Heather Lenhart, MSN, FNP-C, Donna Jackson, MSN, FNP-C and Megan Richardson-Cobb, MSN, FNP-C. Heather Lenhart is also an Allergan Master Injector.

Tags: neurotoxins, Skin care, botox, dysport,

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