Over time, all faces naturally develop fine lines and wrinkles in certain areas due to repetitive muscle contractions from normal everyday facial expressions or movements. For example, squinting or smiling creates “crow’s feet” at the corner of the eyes, while lifting your eyebrows forms forehead lines.

I’m often asked by patients what I would recommend we use to relax their expressions: Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, Jeuveau

In this article, we will discuss the similarities and the differences between the 2 most popular muscle relaxants: Botox and Dysport.


Botox and Dysport are both forms of botulinum toxin type A. They are neurotoxins that work at the junction of nerves and muscles, to relax the movement of muscles temporarily. These muscle relaxants are most commonly used in the aesthetic industry for minimizing FINE lines and wrinkles formed from repetitive movements, as well as for neck and jaw muscle slimming. in addition to their common use in the aesthetic industry, these neuromodulators have many other uses such as treatment of headaches, jaw pain from clenching, Sweat gland overproduction, muscle spasticity.  These invitations will be discussed in a separate article.

Both Dysport and Botox are highly effective in temporarily relaxing muscles.  After a few months, nerve impulses start to stimulate the muscle area again, so the muscles contract, and the wrinkles reappear. Our experienced injectors can help maintain your positive results of muscle relaxants with regular treatments roughly every 3 to 6 months.

With repeated regular use, over time the muscles get weaker and the expression lines are less likely to form, so you may not need as frequent treatments as when you first started.

Often the choice between what to use comes down to the preference of the individual patient and the provider. 

But here are some comparisons to consider when making your choice. 


Botox is made by Allergan, the makers of Juvederm, is much better known and has been around longer. 

Dysport is made by Galderma, the makers of Restylane and Sculptra, is a newer player in the aesthetic world, and is steadily gaining popularity.

Number of Units:

The biggest difference between Botox and Dysport is how we count the units used to treat a certain condition. On average 1 unit of Botox is equivalent in effect to 3 units of Dysport. This difference does not translate into a difference in the volume of injection or potency, it is just units of measurement.  I explain to my patients like this: the difference is similar to inches and centimeters: 1 inch is the same as 2.5 centimeters but they are both the same distance. 


At our clinic Botox costs $12 /Unit, Dysport $4 per unit. This can be confusing to patients especially if they believe they are receiving a more economic option by getting Dysport. However, given that 1 unit of Botox is the same as 3 units of Dysport, for The same area of treatment, Botox and Dysport cost the same. 

How Fast It Starts Working

 Another major difference that can affect the choice of which Neuromodulator to use is the speed of onset of action. Dysport starts working in 1 to 3 days, with maximum effect in 10 days. Botox starts working in 7 days with maximum effect in 14 days. If somebody has an event they want to attend in the near future, I recommend using Dysport to see results faster. 

How Long Does It Last?

 Both Botox and Dysport last between 3 to 4 months. However, some patients experience Dysport lasting slightly longer. one recent study by Galderma has shown that Dysport can stay effective on average for 2 weeks longer. In practice, what we know for sure is that the longevity of action is directly related to the number of units used: the more units injected the longer the muscle will stay inactive, and the longer the wrinkles will be gone.


Dysport has a smaller molecule which causes its quick onset of action.  Historically it was thought to spread over a greater area, but this has not been consistently shown in comparison studies. What really affects distribution over an area is more related to what the dilution of the neurotoxin is, the volume injected, the speed and the force of the injection, the depth, and the plane of tissue where each injection is placed. Here is another place where the experience and knowledge of your injector can make all the difference.


The choice of which neurotoxin to use often comes down to the preference of the patient and the injector. There is no contraindication in switching between the two muscle relaxants, but even using them both in the same session.  If you were trying to find out which works better for you, it is best to try each of them separately, and see which gives you better and more long-lasting results, given that they’re injected by the same provider and reliably with an equivalent number of units. For more information on Botox visit our Botox page HERE Or Dysport page HERE

Please contact us or call us at (858) 222-1444 to schedule a complimentary consultation.