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Written by Lela Lankerani, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on October 11, 2018 


Botox and Xeomin are two types of injectable neurotoxins (forms of botulinum toxin type A) that have been approved by the FDA for minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. Many people think that Botox and Xeomin are basically the same thing. Probably the biggest myth about Xeomin is that it is simply a cheap and generic version of Botox.  In reality, there are some significant differences between the two products.  


Xeomin and Botox do share some similarities. Both treatments are effective in eliminating expression lines and wrinkles that occur due to repetitious muscle contractions involved in everyday facial movements. Specifically, both treatments have been FDA approved for addressing forehead wrinkles that occur due to squinting or raising of the eyebrows. Both types of neurotoxins address lines and wrinkles in the same manner: by relaxing targeted facial muscles. When Botox or Xeomin are injected into the muscle they temporarily block the nerve impulses that are needed for contraction. The resulting muscle relaxation and decrease in movement reduce the appearance of lines or wrinkles in the area. The results of both Xeomin and Botox are temporary. After a period of time, both wear off and the nerve impulses begin to reach the muscle again (causing contractions and wrinkles to begin to appear again). This means that both treatments do require periodic maintenance (typically every 3-6 months) in order to maintain the results over time.

Finally, Botox and Xeomin are dosed similarly (i.e. 20 units of Botox equals the strength of 20 units of Xeomin). 


The main difference between Xeomin and Botox has to do with the formulation. Xeomin is a “naked” neurotoxin. That is, Xeomin contains only a single ingredient (botulinum toxin A), while the formulation of Botox includes various protective proteins clustered around the active molecule. The benefit of Xeomin’s pure-form means users have a lower chance of developing resistance (antibodies) that can limit its desired effects. Another difference between Botox and Xeomin is the onset of results. While the results of both treatments last for about the same duration (3-6 months), Xeomin requires up to 4 days for results to fully form, while Botox typically only requires about 72 hours.  The final major difference is behind the scenes: since the Xeomin formulation does not contain additional additives it does not have to be refrigerated before use. This feature simplifies distribution and storage of the product, which may make it more desirable than Botox to some clinical practices.


In the end, the choice between Botox and Xeomin may be best left to an experienced injector. A skilled provider will analyze your current facial characteristics and health history to determine the best course of treatment given your desired end result.

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