Confused about Injectables? Here’s Your Cheat Sheet!

If you’re like me, you probably ditched your chemistry textbook back in your high school days—and maybe with glee! But do you ever feel like you need an advanced degree to make an informed recommendations to your clients? 

Read the fine print in a Botox® Cosmetic ad, and you’re likely to stumble over a sentence like “OnabotuabotulinnumtoxinA is recommended to treat glabellar lines.” In plain Englsh, that means Botox is great for improving the look of moderate to severe frown lines. Whew. We knew that.

Now, there are some new contenders in what’s technically called the neurotoxin field: Dysport and Xeomin. Are they better than Botox? Do their effects last longer? How do you know which might be right for you?  Here’s help!

First, know that the three products all work basically the same way: They block the signal of nerve impulses to particular facial muscles. This, in turn, prevents those muscles from making wrinkle-causing contractions. And that, in turn, creates a smoother, more attractive appearance where lines used to be. 

Plus, all three products offer temporary results, which can vary with each patient. So far, very similar…so what are some of the fine points?

Botox, the original, is designed to improve the moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows as well as crow’s feet. After a Botox injection, you usually see full results in 7 to 10 days—and their literature says the effects last up to 4 months.

Dysport offers results more quickly—usually in 2-3 days. Clinical trials shows it tends to “spread more” than Botox, which can be good if you’re treating a large area (you may need fewer injections to treat, say, a forehead).  But this “spread” factor means you should only use a skilled physician—who’s experienced with the delicate musculature of the eyes and face—for Dysport injections. Otherwise, the product could spread into unwanted areas of the face.  With Dysport, don’t ever go the cut-rate route!

Xeomin, the newest contender, won FDA approval for its success in treating cervical dystonia, a rare condition that involves an excessive pulling in the neck and shoulders. Now, doctors are permitted to use it off-label to treat the same facial lines as Botox and Dysport. Unlike its predecessors, Xeomin does not have to be refrigerated before use (experts say that may make it easier to distribute), and it has no additives (which mean it could carry a lower risk of developing antibodies to a particular ingredient). Much like Botox, Xeomin offers results in about a week that last from 3 to 6 months.

Feel like you’re back in Chemistry 101—or Chem Lite? Bottom line (no pun intended): Each of these products is safe and effective and whichever you recommend, your clients will look gorgeous. 

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