Dysport is a brand name of the nerve blocker botulinum toxin A. It paralyzes muscles the way Botox does, and so they have similar medical applications. In dermatology, both drugs are primarily used to relax dynamic wrinkles—the skin folds that form with repeated facial muscle use. Many parts of Dysport treatment are identical to those of Botox procedures.
The Dysport recovery period is a breeze, but good aftercare helps ensure the best outcomes. This article explains some essentials of the procedure and recommendations for post-treatment care and maintenance.
What Can You Expect During Your Dysport Appointment?
A Dysport procedure is short and sweet. At the start of your session, the physician will clean up the treatment area and determine the exact spots to inject the drug. After that, the actual injection. The whole process takes only a few minutes unless some form of pain medication is used.
The FDA approves Dysport cosmetic injections for the treatment of blemishes referred to as “frown lines” or “elevens.” These are wrinkles found in the glabellar area—the region between your eyebrows. However, an experienced dermatologist may use it off-label, or without FDA approval, for other skin issues like:
- “Crow’s feet” or the wrinkles beside your eyes
- Fine lines around the lips
- Forehead lines
- Excessive sweating
- Some forms of chronic dermatitis
And many others.
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 Is the Timeline of the Effects of Dysport Treatment?
In the first 1-3 days after the procedure, you will notice gradual muscle weakening in the treated area. Dysport will reach its full effects 2 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 complex.
You may check out our article comparing Dysport to Botox to learn more about their similarities and differences and what studies say about their clinical performance.
What Should You Do to Get the Best Results from Your Dysport Injection?
Three things are crucial to getting the most out of your Dysport cosmetic treatment.
Getting a Bona Fide Cosmetic Dermatologist to Do Your Dysport Procedure
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.
Faithful adherence to the post-treatment instructions helps prevent complications and allows the drug to work efficiently.
Similar to Botox aftercare, 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 site
- Hot showers, exercise or anything that causes flushing
You may use a mild cleanser after this period but dry your face gently afterward.
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.
- Taking supplements that prevent bruising like bromelain and arnica days before and 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, high doses of vitamin E and herbal supplements like ginkgo biloba days before and after your appointment. These agents interfere with 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. The skin is vulnerable to infection and irritation during this time, so it is best to wait until the next day to apply makeup.
Your doctor may recommend the regular use of sunscreen and vitamin-containing medications on the treated site. Follow the regimen as instructed.
Making Healthy Lifestyle Choices
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.
It sounds cliché, but there is no shortcut to long-lasting, youthful beauty.
Most patients have two to three Dysport sessions a year for maintenance. When you see your glabellar lines or other problem areas starting to come back, don’t wait too long to schedule your next dermatology appointment.
How Long Is the Downtime after a Dysport Procedure?
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.
What Are the Side Effects of Dysport Cosmetic Treatment?
The expected side effects of the procedure are mild swelling, redness and tenderness on the injection site. 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 or Botox treatment. Their cause is poorly understood, especially since botulinum toxin injection has also been used to relieve migraines. But studies suggest that their development could be related to deep muscle or bone bruising, reactive muscle spasms and patient stress or 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 physician will sterilize the target area before injection so the procedure itself will not cause infection. But you need to keep it clean afterward and avoid contact with dirty surfaces to minimize the odds of microbial contamination. Call your doctor if it happens. You need topical or oral antimicrobials for treatment.
- Numbness or altered sensation on the injection site
Botulinum toxin A blocks acetylcholine release from the nerve endings. Acetylcholine is a nerve chemical essential for muscle contraction and has little effect on sensory function. However, it may modulate the actions of nerve chemicals that affect the senses. The cause of numbness and altered sensation after botulinum toxin injection is not well established, either. 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 and elevating the lower limbs. Atropine may help if conservative therapy does not work.
- Allergic reaction
Dysport and the cow proteins in its medium can trigger allergic reactions in vulnerable individuals. Antihistamines and steroids can curb the symptoms. But you should seek medical care fast if you start to feel short of breath, have widespread rashes or feel like fainting. A skilled dermatologist will recommend an alternative, e. g. laser treatment, if you have a significant hypersensitivity risk.
- Reduced efficacy
Unused muscles shrink and weaken over time, so longer-lasting paralysis is expected after repeated Dysport or Botox injection. However, proteins like botulinum toxin A can induce immune cells to form antibodies, which can inactivate it and shorten the duration of its effects. That is why some patients need increasingly frequent sessions. The risk of developing botulinum toxin resistance varies from person to person. But your dermatologist may recommend a dermal filler or some other wrinkle treatment if you have stopped responding to the neurotoxin.
- Facial asymmetry
A droopy eyelid or eyebrow is a sign that Dysport has spread outside the target area. Some patients may even experience double vision. These can happen if the provider lacks experience in giving Dysport or Botox treatment. Drugs like 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 very small. But on the off chance that it happens, it is considered a medical emergency. The symptoms of this condition include difficulty swallowing, speaking and breathing. These are signs that the wrinkle relaxer has spread to the more distant head and neck muscles.
- Unsatisfactory cosmetic result
An unqualified provider may inject Dysport the wrong way or use an inappropriate dose, jeopardizing both the cosmesis 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, but entrusting it to a highly trained medical professional guarantees your safety.
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 gave 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
Your dermatologist will give you a thorough health check to make sure that this procedure is safe for you. So they may ask for your complete medical history during your initial visit.
Dysport Aftercare Is Quick and Painless
The Dysport aftercare regimen is similar to that required by a Botox cosmetic procedure.
- Some activity restriction is required in the first few hours after injection to prevent spreading the neurotoxin to distant sites.
- Protection of the treated area from infection, trauma and the sun is crucial in the next few days.
- You must follow the post-treatment regimen that your dermatologist prescribes.
- Various remedies are available for post-injection bruising.
- Healthy lifestyle choices and timely repeat injections are key to the long-term maintenance of the drug’s effects.
Lastly, keep in mind that only a highly experienced, board-certified dermatologist can ensure the success of any cosmetic treatment and an uncomplicated recovery process. So choose the best one to perform your Dysport procedure.
Turn Back the Clock with BHSkin Dermatology’s Beauty Experts
Collagen-depleted facial wrinkles improve with injectable fillers, microneedling, vampire facials and skin resurfacing procedures. But dynamic ones are best treated by muscle relaxers like Dysport and Botox.
How do you know which one is the remedy you need? That is a question you leave to a specialist.
At BHSkin Dermatology, our award-winning skin care experts are committed to helping patients reverse the signs of facial aging. Visit us at our Glendale or Encino clinic or use our telederm portal to consult with our dermatologists.
Book your appointment today!
Get superior skincare from LA's finest dermatologists
Book the type of an appointment that suits you best.