Botox: It’s the revolutionary injectable drug that has changed the “face” of aging forever. Derived from botulinum toxins, the drug was found to almost stop time by freezing the muscles of the face, eliminating wrinkles and fine lines in the process. Though not the fountain of youth, the cosmetic injectable can stave off signs of aging for around six months per injection. But for some, the cost of that injection may be prohibitive.
Usually costing around several hundred dollars per treatment depending on the area to be treated, Botox is not for everyone, but a rash of new cases of “at-home Botox” have targeted those who cannot readily afford the drug – and it’s causing a lot of problems.
Dr. Raul Garcia of Miami, Florida, offers Botox cosmetics in his clinic. He said when it comes to Botox treatments, you get what you pay for.
“Botox at home requires advanced knowledge of the muscles of the face, which most people don’t have,” he said. “An expert who is very familiar with these muscles such as a dentist or plastic surgeon is the best and safest bet for this type of treatment.”
According to Garcia, injecting your own Botox is extremely dangerous for many reasons.
“In addition to injecting it in the wrong place and having that muscle frozen for up to six months, you can cause permanent damage to the face by injecting into the wrong place,” he said.
Worse yet, many cases of infection have been reported as well.
“People don’t always know how to sanitize equipment, nor are they necessarily injecting needles in a sterile environment,” Garcia said.
So, where are consumers getting this Botox from, anyway? Reports have found that the drug is available from places as far away as China, and all you need is an internet connection to get it.
“The trouble with buying it from an internet source is you have no idea how pure it is or how safe,” Garcia said. “You literally have no idea what you’re injecting into your body.”
Garcia said as the problem continues to grow, more restrictions on counterfeit and overseas products may develop, but as of right now there aren’t many restrictions in place to stop these sales and protect consumers.
“It’s kind of the wild west right now,” Garcia said.
Experts like Garcia recommend patients not run the risk of getting counterfeit Botox at all and stick to a board-certified, trained surgeon or dental professional.
“Botox works well and is very safe in the right hands,” he said. “But you may require a little more budgeting to have it done right. Ultimately it’s not worth the risk to your health to save a little bit of money up front. It could cost a lot more in the long run.”