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How Much Does Botox Cost?

By far, the most popular cosmetic treatment in the U.S. is Botox injections. Botox is the botulinum toxin manufactured by Allergan that acts as a neuromodulator to weaken target muscles that create the unwanted facial wrinkles. In our industry, Botox is not a poison, but more accurately is a protein. One reason why Botox is so popular is its effectiveness and it is super safe. Its effects are temporary and there is absolutely no risk to permanent damage.

That is why you are seeing so many providers offering Botox. Nurses, physician assistants, aestheticians are just some examples of providers that inject Botox besides surgeons and doctors. Even among doctors, you will find specialists that normally don’t offer cosmetic treatments now offering Botox (such as primary care docs, OB-Gyn docs, etc). Because it is so popular and so many different businesses are offering it, Botox has unfortunately—in my opinion—become commoditized. It’s very common for people to now choose where to go for Botox based on price.

Cost Factors for Botox

When you research Botox prices, the key thing is the price per unit. Botox is administered in units. Not in cc’s or milliliters. Different facial wrinkles require different amounts of units. Furthermore, different places may have slightly different recommendations on the units they recommend. For example, 10 units for the forehead wrinkles will achieve nice relaxation, but some places may recommend 20 units.

Price per unit will vary from market to market, but generally ranges anywhere between $9 to $15 per unit. $9 is considered the low end and $15 the high end. I think $9 is probably reasonable at a med spa, whereas $15 may be more acceptable if that doctor is world famous and treats movie stars. I would probably have some concern if you find a place that offers $6-$8 per unit. At that price, the practice is not making any profit and you may suspect the quality of the Botox.

Alternatives to Botox

A second popular botulinum toxin is Dysport. It is manufactured by Galderma and acts the same was as Botox. The difference lies in the proteins surrounding the core botulinum, which affects Dysport’s results. Studies have shown a suggestion that Dysport may be quicker in onset and lasts longer, but these were not statistically significant. Meaning we can’t say Dysport is better than Botox. They’re both equally effective products, and some patients may like Dysport’s effect more.

A common misconception we hear is “Dysport is cheaper.” The price per unit of Dysport will range between $3-$6 per unit, but you have to realize Dysport does not have a one to one relation with Botox dosage. In other words, for every unit of Botox, you need about 3 units of Dysport to have similar performance. So a 10 unit Botox means you will need 30 units of Dysport.

While there may be practices who market their Dysport as “cheaper, “ you will likely find many practices do what we do, and that is price the Dysport so that there is no difference. You will pay the same for 10 units of Botox as for 30 units of Dysport. The goal is end result. Now, if you’re lucky enough that Dysport lasts longer than Botox, than Dysport may make more sense because you’re getting more bang for your buck. I suppose that’s one way to conclude Dysport is cheaper.

Regardless of the price, I think the most important question you should ask when choosing a business to get Botox is, “will you get a good result?” Though Botox and Dysport are super safe, your results can be affected by the injector’s skill set. An experienced injector will more reliably achieve nice results while minimizing complications. In my opinion, getting a good result is much more important than saving a few $20 bills.

For more information about Botox or Dysport, contact Dr. Kenneth Yu Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. To schedule a consultation, please contact our Concierge Patient Coordinator at (210) 876-6868 or