BOTOX® vs. Dysport®& JUVÉDERM® vs. Sculptra®: What’s the Difference?

Different injectables model

Injectables remain the most popular cosmetic treatments performed in the world, and there is no sign of that changing. Patients get injections of BOTOX and dermal fillers at our Boston practice virtually every day. Despite the popularity of fillers and BOTOX, many people considering these treatments aren’t sure which option is right for them.

Adding to the confusion is the arrival of similar products manufactured by different companies or composed of different ingredients. Dysport, for example, is one of at least 3 BOTOX competitors. And while JUVÉDERM may be the most recognizable name when it comes to dermal fillers, not all fillers are the same.

Knowing the difference between the products can help patients make more informed decisions about their treatments, so in this blog post, we’ll explore their similarities and distinguishing features and explain the benefits of each.

What’s the Difference Between BOTOX and Dysport?

BOTOX is a household name in the U.S. and many other countries around the world because it is so effective at smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. The FDA approved its use as a cosmetic treatment in 2002 (originally, it was used for eye muscle disorders, which led to the discovery of its ability to minimize wrinkles). Dysport’s FDA approval came in 2009.

Both BOTOX and Dysport belong to a category of treatments called neuromodulators, which means they interfere with signals sent from the nervous system to the muscles. Because they block signals from the nerves, muscles are weakened and can’t create expressions that result in lines and wrinkles.

So, What Makes Them Different?

Even though botulinum toxin type A is the primary active ingredient in each product, they differ at the molecular level because they are slightly different structurally. BOTOX is formulated using unique proteins and is approved by the FDA for a range of treatments besides reducing wrinkles and fine lines. These other uses include non-aesthetic conditions, such as chronic migraines, hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating), and an overactive bladder.

Dysport seems to take effect slightly faster than BOTOX—showing results about 2 to 3 days after injections, rather than the 5 to 7 days that it takes BOTOX. While BOTOX treats many different types of wrinkles, including crow’s feet, forehead wrinkles, and laugh lines, Dysport is often the go-to treatment for correcting glabellar lines (the vertical frown lines between the eyebrows). It’s especially effective for patients with moderate to severe frown lines.

Which One Is Right for You?

The best way to determine whether Dysport or BOTOX is right for you is by consulting with an experienced injector or plastic surgeon. They’re most familiar with the subtle differences and know which is best to achieve specific cosmetic goals. It’s also useful to know that a single unit of BOTOX is about 3 times more potent than a unit of Dysport because of the way they’re formulated. Keep that in mind when comparing the cost per unit of each product.

What’s the Difference Between JUVÉDERM and Sculptra Aesthetic?

Unlike BOTOX and Dysport, JUVÉDERM and Sculptra are quite different. Yes, they’re both dermal fillers, but they’re formulated using different types of active ingredients. Additionally, the JUVÉDERM collection of fillers includes several specialized products designed to be used in different areas of the face. Sculptra is primarily used to restore volume to the cheeks.

What Are JUVÉDERM Fillers?

Like most fillers available today, JUVÉDERM fillers are made using hyaluronic acid, a substance found naturally in the body. Hyaluronic acid performs numerous functions in the body, such as cushioning and lubricating joints. Skincare products include HA because it binds to water molecules and attaches to cells, making them plump. Supplements that include HA are meant to reduce dry skin, and hyaluronic acid serums are designed to reduce wrinkles. HA is most effective, though, when used in a dermal filler.

Age, sun exposure, and other environmental pollutants deplete the skin’s volume, resulting in wrinkles and creases such as nasolabial folds and smile lines around the mouth. JUVÉDERM and other HA fillers are gel-like substances that restore the volume with results that you can see immediately. JUVÉDERM fillers (and other HA fillers) are reversible if a patient is unhappy with the results.

The results last between 9 and 18 months, depending on the specific filler used, and the product is naturally absorbed by the body.

What Is Sculptra?

The active ingredient in Sculptra is poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), which is quite a bit different from hyaluronic acid. Instead of simply replacing volume as JUVÉDERM does, Sculptra stimulates the production of new collagen. Collagen is an essential element of smooth, tight skin. The amount of collagen in our skin declines as we age. Many skin rejuvenation treatments, including microneedling and laser skin treatments, work by triggering the body’s healing process—which creates new collagen.

Because Sculptra works by increasing your body’s own collagen, results appear gradually. It may take 2 or 3 treatments over the course of 2 months to create the desired results. Many patients believe the wait is worth it, as results can last 2 years or more, making Sculptra the longest-lasting filler available.

Because fillers and neuromodulators such as BOTOX address different types of wrinkles, patients often choose to get both treatments during a single appointment. If you’re considering cosmetic injections and want to discuss your options, request a consultation using the online form or call us at (781) 740-7840 to schedule an appointment.

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