In dermatology, both drugs are primarily used to relax dynamic wrinkles—the skin folds arising from the repeated use of the muscles of facial expression. Many parts of Dysport treatment are identical to those of Botox procedures.
The Dysport aftercare regimen is simple yet crucial to getting the best outcomes. But what you do before your session is also vital. So in this article, we provide pre- and post-treatment tips that will help you prolong the effects of this wrinkle relaxer. It also talks about what you can expect during your Dysport procedure.
But first, we explain what Dysport is and how it differs from Botox.
What Is Dysport?
Dysport is a drug with the botulinum toxin A derivative abobotulinumtoxinA as the main active ingredient. Botulinum toxin A is one of several nerve toxin types produced by Clostridium botulinum, the canned food bacterial contaminant that causes botulism.
Botulism is marked by severe head-and-neck muscle paralysis, which you will see when large quantities of the neurotoxin are ingested. However, when given in small doses, doctors can use it as a remedy for various illnesses caused by muscle hyperactivity.
After penetrating the nerves, the toxin prevents the release of the chemical acetylcholine in the nerve tips. Acetylcholine is responsible for many body functions, including voluntary muscle action.
By weakening the facial muscles, Dysport and similar drugs smoothen dynamic wrinkles. The treatment is a safer and cost-effective alternative to plastic surgery for the same condition.
Dysport differs from a dermal filler like Juvederm or Restylane, which flattens wrinkles by volumizing thinned-out spaces in the deep skin layers. Dermal fillers have no effect on facial muscle activity.
Botox vs. Dysport: What Is the Difference?
Botox and Dysport are both processed forms of raw botulinum toxin, though their manufacturers use different processing techniques. On the surface, the differences between them seem trivial. But clinically speaking, they have huge implications for many patients.
Molecules of Botox, aka “onabotulinumtoxinA,” are larger than Dysport molecules. Moreover, Botox is mixed with human albumin, a blood protein, to keep it from sticking to its container. Dysport relies on both human albumin and cow protein to accomplish this.
FDA approval is given when clinical trials consistently show a drug’s efficacy and safety in treating specific conditions. Botox has more FDA-approved indications than Dysport, being older and having more supporting evidence. They include the following:
- Severe forehead wrinkles, glabellar lines and crow’s feet
- Excessive sweating of the armpits
- Urinary incontinence due to a hyperactive bladder
- Chronic migraine
- Spastic neck or limb muscles
- Some cases of crossed eyes and eye twitching
In contrast, Dysport is currently only approved for relieving severe glabellar furrowing and spasticity of the neck and limbs.
The molecular size difference is thought to influence the drugs’ clinical performance.
For example, Dysport particles, being smaller, diffuse more quickly than Botox particles. This may account for the slightly faster onset of muscle relaxation after Dysport injection.
Additionally, big proteins are more likely than small proteins to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies, which can inactivate them. This may explain Dysport’s slightly longer duration of action.
Provider and Patient’s Assessment of Cosmetic Effects
In clinical trials, evaluators and patients are more satisfied with the level of relaxation—and consequently, cosmetic transformation—Dysport provides.
Potential Side Effects
Complications from Dysport or Botox cosmetic injection are rare. However, Dysport may trigger an allergic reaction in patients sensitive to cow proteins.
Botulinum toxicity is, in theory, more likely to happen after Dysport treatment because of its faster diffusion rate. But this has not been reported at the FDA-recommended doses.
Botulinum toxicity occurs when botulinum toxin spreads to distant head and neck muscles. It is signified by difficulty swallowing, speaking and breathing.
For more information on how Dysport differs from Botox, you may check out our article on this topic.
What Is Dysport Used For?
As previously mentioned, Dysport’s only FDA-approved indications at this time are severe glabellar lines and neck and limb spasticity.
However, doctors skilled at injecting this acetylcholine blocker may also give it for non-FDA-approved conditions if doing so would benefit patients. Such “off-label applications” include the following:
- Brow lift, which opens up hooded eyes
- Acne treatment, which uses the drug’s ability to inhibit acetylcholine’s sebaceous gland stimulation
- Relief of rosacea symptoms by preventing blood vessel dilation
- Reducing persistent itchiness associated with some forms of chronic eczema
- Relaxing lower facial muscles, helping to improve smoker’s lines, droopy noses, thin lips and gummy smiles
- Weakening other upper facial muscles to smooth out severe frown lines and crow’s feet
- Other Botox-treatable conditions
Off-label cosmetic Dysport treatment must be performed only by highly-experienced, board-certified dermatologists, as only they can guarantee the best results.
What Can You Expect During Your Consultation for a Possible Botulinum Toxin Treatment?
Potential Dysport candidates are typically searching for a complete, long-lasting anti-aging regimen. But the drug only takes care of dynamic wrinkles, not static wrinkles, which result from gradual collagen loss and other inherent skin changes. So your dermatologist will look for both blemish types and other issues to see which treatments are suitable for you.
First, your doctor will ask what symptoms bother you the most and what remedies you have already tried. They will also inquire about your medical, social, and family history, which may reveal if you have contraindications to any cosmetic treatment.
Next is the physical examination. Normally, the dermatologist will only inspect the problem areas. However, they may ask permission to check other parts of your body if they find concerning lesions in exposed areas. Rest assured that the doctor will proceed with their physical examination professionally and with the utmost respect for your privacy.
Once they’ve completed their evaluation, they will discuss their findings and propose a personalized treatment plan. Dysport procedures are generally safe, so healthy patients may be scheduled for one right away. However, those with chronic health conditions may need medical clearance before their procedure to ensure safety.
What Should You Do Before Dysport Injection?
Your Dysport specialist may advise you to do the following before the procedure:
- Book your treatment about two or three weeks before your target date, e. g. your next social event. The drug’s peak effects will not be evident until the end of the second week after injection. If you’re having combined procedures, space them several weeks apart or as recommended by your dermatologist.
- Abstain from smoking and drinking starting a week before your appointment. Cigarettes and alcohol can disrupt skin repair mechanisms.
- You may start taking arnica or bromelain supplements a few days before your Dysport procedure to prevent bruising. The face has many blood vessels, making it bruise-prone. Individuals with thinning or sensitive skin are even more likely to bruise after an injection.
- Avoid blood-thinning treatments at least two days before your session. They include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and supplements like vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, Ginkgo biloba and garlic. If you’re taking them for a chronic condition, ask your primary care physician if you can safely stop intake temporarily.
- You may want to have an extra exercise session a day or several hours before your Dysport injection. Brief activity limitation is part of your aftercare regimen.
- Cleanse your face and leave it cosmetic-free right before your appointment.
Good pre-treatment preparation helps you avoid complications after your session.
What Happens During a Dysport Treatment Session?
A Dysport procedure is short and sweet.
At the start of your session, you will be asked to sit comfortably. Your dermatologist will then clean up the treatment area and determine the injection sites. They may ask you to make facial expressions so they can see the target muscles more clearly. After that, the actual injection.
You will be awake throughout your session. The whole process takes only a few minutes unless some form of pain medication is used. To make sure that everything goes smoothly, come in at least 15 minutes before your appointment.
Are Dysport Injections Painful?
Your doctor will use a very fine needle for the injection. Most patients experience only minimal discomfort during the procedure, so pain medication is typically not required. But if you have low pain tolerance, you may use an ice pack or topical anesthetic to numb the site before injection.
What Can You Expect After Your Dysport Procedure?
The following are the things you may observe after Dysport treatment:
Timeline of the Effects of Dysport Injection
In the first 1-3 days after the procedure, you will notice gradual muscle weakening in the treated area. Dysport will reach its full effect two weeks after your session.
After 4 months, the treated muscles will slowly regain their strength. It will take a few more weeks before the injected area returns to its pretreatment form. Studies show that Dysport stays effective for a longer time than Botox, and a duration of 5-6 months has been reported more often for the lighter neurotoxin.
The most common side effects of the procedure are mild injection site swelling, redness and tenderness. These symptoms are tolerable and disappear spontaneously in 1-2 days. Susceptible individuals may observe bruising, which is also temporary but may take 1-2 weeks to resolve.
Complications after a Dysport procedure are rare if it is performed properly, but they include the following:
Some patients report mild, short-lived headaches after Dysport injection. Studies suggest that they may be due to deep muscle or bone bruising, reactive muscle spasms and patient anxiety. You may take acetaminophen to relieve mild to moderate headaches. Meanwhile, intolerable headaches usually have a different source and must be investigated immediately.
Your dermatologist will sterilize the target area before injection, so the procedure itself is unlikely to cause infection. But you need to keep the treated skin clean and protected from dirty objects to minimize the odds of microbial contamination. If it happens, seek medical attention immediately for prompt antimicrobial treatment.
- Numbness or altered sensation in the treated area
The cause of numbness and altered sensation after Dysport or Botox injection is not well established, though it may be related to acetylcholine blockade. Such symptoms go away on their own. But seek medical help right away if they rapidly spread or are accompanied by widespread muscle paralysis.
Patients with pain anxiety may experience what is called a “vasovagal reaction.” Injection pain can trigger a sudden blood pressure drop in these individuals. It may be prevented by numbing the target area before injection. But when it occurs, one can remedy it by calming down, lying face up, elevating the lower limbs or injecting the drug atropine.
- Allergic reaction
Dysport and its cow proteins can trigger allergic reactions in vulnerable individuals. Antihistamines and steroids can curb the symptoms. But you should seek medical care fast if you start feeling short of breath, have widespread rashes or feel like fainting.
- Reduced efficacy
Unused muscles shrink over time, so longer-lasting paralysis is expected after repeated Dysport injections. However, antibodies can inactivate it and shorten the duration of its effects. That is why some patients need increasingly frequent sessions. Your dermatologist may recommend another wrinkle treatment if you stop responding to Dysport.
- Facial asymmetry
A droopy eyelid or eyebrow signifies Dysport has spread outside the target area. Some patients may even experience double vision. These can happen if the provider lacks experience in injecting the medication. Drugs like topical apraclonidine can help, but these complications will resolve on their own once the neurotoxin wears off.
- Botulinum toxicity
The risk of developing botulinum toxicity at the recommended Dysport doses is insignificant. But on the off chance it happens, seek help immediately as it is a medical emergency.
- Unsatisfactory cosmetic result
An unqualified provider may inject Dysport the wrong way or use an inappropriate dose, jeopardizing both the appearance and function of the body part being treated. Spare yourself the hassle by having a true Dysport expert perform your procedure.
The complications of Dysport injection are avoidable. Entrusting it to a highly experienced, board-certified dermatologist guarantees your safety.
The Dysport recovery period is quick. You may resume your normal 4 hours after treatment. Some patients may feel a bit of discomfort on the injection site due to increased pressure or some inflammation. But the sensation goes away on its own in 1-2 days. You may avoid strenuous activities during this time to reduce the risk of trauma to the treated area.
The Dysport recovery experience varies from patient to patient. One thing is for sure, though: The safety and effectiveness of the procedure largely depend on your provider’s expertise.
Dysport Aftercare: What Are the Dos and Don’ts?
The Dysport aftercare regimen is basically the same as that of Botox treatment.
The Dysport Aftercare Don’ts
You should avoid the following activities in the first 4 hours after injection as they risk spreading the drug outside of the target zone:
- Lying on your back
- Scratching or applying vigorous pressure on the injection site
- Hot showers, exercise or anything that causes flushing
You may resume your usual afterward.
The Dysport Aftercare Dos
To prevent bruising, the following remedies may help:
- Applying an ice pack repeatedly over the treated area during the first 24 hours after injection.
- Refraining from vigorous activities for 1-2 days. Physical activity increases blood flow to the face and other body parts.
- Continuing arnica or bromelain for a few more days after your session.
- Sleeping on your back at bedtime, with your head elevated. This helps limit the blood flow to your face.
- Delaying future surgeries and other injectables as advised to allow the skin to recover.
- Avoiding alcohol, blood thinners and other substances that can disrupt the clotting process.
Some patients recover very quickly from a Dysport procedure. But for most people, it takes a day for a skin break, such as an injection, to close up. It is best to avoid makeup while your skin still feels sore, as it is vulnerable to infection and irritation during this time.
Like proper pre-treatment preparation, good aftercare helps you avoid complications after Dysport injection. So it is one of the ways that can help ensure the best results from your procedure.
How Can You Make Your Dysport Last Longer?
By sticking to the Dysport pre- and post-treatment regimens, you’ve already taken the first step to ensure that the drug’s effects linger for a long time.
However, Dysport injection mainly addresses dynamic wrinkles. It doesn’t completely stop the process of facial aging, which can ruin your results.
To prevent premature facial aging and prolong Dysport’s effects, dermatologists recommend combining the procedure with static wrinkle remedies and adopting healthy habits. So the following can help:
- Most patients have two to three Dysport sessions a year for maintenance. When you see those facial lines starting to come back, don’t wait too long to schedule your next session.
- Avoid frequent botulinum toxin injections, which can increase your risk of developing antibodies to the toxin.
- Your dermatologist may advise you to have a dermal filler injection or a skin resurfacing procedure like microneedling or laser treatment for existing static facial wrinkles. Schedule one as recommended and follow the pre- and post-treatment instructions religiously.
- Good skin care significantly delays wrinkle formation. You may start with a simple routine consisting of twice-daily gentle cleansing, applying a topical antioxidant like niacinamide and moisturizing. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen and physical sun protection, e. g. a wide-brimmed hat, when going outdoors in the daytime.
- A blemish-free complexion is a reflection of overall health. To make sure that you don’t waste your trips to your skin care specialist, take care of your body, too. Eat a balanced diet. Hydrate adequately. Exercise regularly. Maintain good hygiene. Avoid smoking and drinking. Get enough sleep. Manage your stress levels. Minimize sun and pollution exposure.
- Dysport can make wrinkles disappear, but it does that by paralyzing the facial muscles. It is safe in the hands of a highly trained cosmetic dermatologist, but an unlicensed individual can wreak havoc with it. Ensure both the safety and effectiveness of your Dysport injection by trusting only an expert to do it. You may read our article on finding the right cosmetic dermatologist to learn more.
It sounds cliché, but there is no shortcut to long-lasting, youthful beauty.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dysport Cosmetic Treatment and Aftercare
Below, we answer some more commonly asked questions about Dysport treatment and recovery.
How Long Does It Take for Dysport to Kick In?
As in Botox treatment, most patients will experience gradual weakening of the injected muscles within three days after Dysport injection. Although delays of up to five days more frequently occur in Botox patients, both drugs produce complete relaxation at about the same time, which is after two weeks.
How Long Does Dysport Last?
Dysport relaxation generally lasts four months. A duration of 5-6 months is more frequently reported after Dysport than Botox use.
Who Should Not Get Dysport?
The following conditions are contraindications to Dysport treatment:
- Infection on the target area or one that affects the entire body
- Hypersensitivity to botulinum toxin treatment, i. e. if a prior Botox injection has given you allergies, Dysport is likely to do the same
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Pre-existing neuromuscular dysfunction, e. g. myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, ALS, etc.
- Taking medications that affect muscle movement
- Blood clotting problems or intake of drugs that interfere with clotting
- Cow protein allergy
So during your first consultation, it’s important to let your dermatologist know if you have any of the above conditions.
How Long Should You Wait to Exercise After Dysport Injection?
Vigorous activities increase the blood flow to your face, as signified by flushing. If done immediately after Dysport injection, the enhanced facial blood flow can reduce the drug’s absorption and action duration in the nerve endings. That is why patients are advised to restrict their activities for the first four hours after Dysport treatment.
If your skin remains sore after that period, you may continue to take it easy until the signs of inflammation are gone. Doing so helps you protect the treated area from further trauma. For some patients, this takes as short as 24 hours, but it may last longer for others.
Should You Do Facial Exercises After Dysport Treatment?
To date, no large clinical trials demonstrate any benefit from performing facial exercises after a Dysport procedure. A 2018 study found that facial exercises could prolong Botox’s effects, but it involved a small sample size—only 22 patients. Clinical trials must have much bigger sample sizes, and their results must be reproducible, among many things, to be conclusive.
Currently, no medical guidelines routinely recommend facial exercises after Dysport treatment. If anything, facial exercises may worsen dynamic wrinkles due to repetitive facial muscle movement.
Does Zinc Make Dysport Last Longer?
There is currently insufficient scientific evidence supporting zinc’s beneficial impact on Botox or Dysport injection. However, ask your dermatologist which vitamins are good for your skin. Topical niacinamide, vitamin C, vitamin A and many others can enhance your complexion, hence, the cosmetic effects of wrinkle relaxers.
Ensuring Only Excellent Dysport Treatment Results at BHSkin Dermatology
Patients often ask about ways to make Dysport’s effects last longer. They overlook the fact that good aftercare is a crucial step in that direction.
The Dysport and Botox aftercare instructions are simple and pretty much the same. The essential elements are temporary activity limitation, bruise prevention, inflammation control and protection from irritation and infection. When combined with good pre-treatment preparation, you avoid complications that can delay your recovery.
Once you heal, other measures that can help you get the best outcomes are regular maintenance injections, healthy habits, proper skin care and sun protection.
Lastly, the success of any cosmetic treatment rests on your provider’s expertise. Board-certified dermatologists are the real Dysport specialists, so choose one to perform your procedure.
Where to Get Effective Age-Defying Treatments in LA
The fine lines on your face could be from anything—too much frowning, too much sun, poor diet, pollution and many others. Finding the root causes of facial aging is critical. The wrong diagnosis can lead to the wrong treatment and bigger health issues.
At BHSkin Dermatology, we offer a full range of cosmetic treatments that eliminate the signs of facial aging. What’s more, you get them from our award-winning skin care specialists, so you’re sure to get the best results. Visit us at our Glendale or Encino clinic or use our telederm portal for your first consultation.
Book your appointment today!
Get superior skincare from LA's finest dermatologists
Book the type of an appointment that suits you best.