Woman debating which is better, Botox vs. Dysport in Louisville, KY

Botox® vs. Dysport® – Which is right for you?

Before we answer that question, it is helpful to understand the differences between Botox® Cosmetic and Dysport®. Take a look at the table below to see some of the main differences:



Manufacturer Allergan® Galderma®
FDA Approval 2002 2009
Type of Botulinum Toxin OnabotulinumtoxinA AbobotulinumtoxinA
FDA approved treatment areas Lateral canthal lines (crow’s feet), horizontal forehead lines, and glabellar lines (frown lines)  Glabellar lines (frown lines)
Molecular Differences (accessory proteins) 300-500 kD 750 kD
People with an allergy to cow’s milk protein Can use Cannot use
Potency Onset 3-4 days, but can take up to 14 to see full results Onset as soon as 2-3 days
Amount / units needed For every 1 unit of Botox, 3 units of Dysport are needed For every 3 units of Dysport, 1 unit of Botox is needed

Core Differences

Both Botox® Cosmetic and Dysport® are both used to treat dynamic lines; those lines that form due to the influence of muscle contraction. The active ingredient in both medicines is botulinum toxin type A (BoNTA) which is composed of a core protein and accessory protein complex. Those neurotoxin accessory proteins are where the molecular differences between the two products lie: Dysport is 300-500 kD (molecular weight) and Botox® has a molecular weight of 750 kD. The core molecule is the toxic portion, and that element is identical in Botox and Dysport. The toxin is what results in the immobility of the treated muscle while the accessory proteins are non-toxic — their job is to protect the core protein. Ultimately, the most important ingredient that does the work is the same in both of these products.

FDA Approval in Botox vs. Dysport

Another difference between Botox and Dysport lies in their FDA approved uses. The cosmetic use of products containing botulinum toxin type A is considered safe and is FDA approved, though Dysport is only FDA approved to treat the glabellar complex (the lines we make between our eyebrows when we frown). On the other hand, Botox is FDA approved to treat the glabellar complex, lateral canthal lines (crow’s feet), and horizontal forehead lines.

How Long It Takes to See the Effects

In addition to these differences, the effects of Botox can be a little slower to appear compared to Dysport. Dysport results appear as early as 2–3 days post-injection whereas Botox® can take up to 14 days to see the peak effects. Once administered, both products last around 3–4 months.


In general, more Dysport product is needed in comparison to Botox (about a 3:1 ratio). Essentially you need a little more Dysport in comparison to Botox to see the same effects. This is why, in many cases, Dysport is less expensive per unit. Due to the higher amount of Dysport needed, the pricing for each treatment ultimately ends up being about the same.

Side Effects

When cosmetically injected, Botox and Dysport both mute nerve endings and relax facial muscles, resulting in smoother skin, reduced wrinkles and fine lines.  Following an injection, the most common side effects for each of these are mild (minor bruising and flu- or cold-like symptoms), but other side effects are possible. Your practitioner will discuss these with you in detail when discussing treatment options.

Bottom Line

So, what does all of this mean in terms of how they work?  Is one better than the other? The answer is generally no.  When comparing these two popular skin treatment products, their mechanism of action is the same. Botox and Dysport can be used to treat the same areas and both are common for off-label uses as outlined in the table above.

Many patients that have been treated with both products see little differences between the two, though there are some patients that feel one product lasts longer or is more effective for them than the other. A great analogy is that even if two people are prescribed the same blood pressure medication, one person may see lower blood pressure results than the other. Essentially everyone reacts to medications a little differently.

Ultimately, you and your provider can choose the product that is best for you based on your aesthetic goals and the treatment areas you are interested in.

Still not sure which skin treatment is right for you?

Schedule a free consultation and our team of trained aestheticians in Louisville, KY will be glad to discuss your skin care goals and make recommendations. 


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