So you’ve seen an ad on the internet that reads ‘Botox injections £99 – half price!’ It sounds too good to be true – how do you find out if it really is BOTOX®?
What many people do not realise is that BOTOX® is a brand of Botulinum Toxin Type A, non-surgical cosmetic procedure practitioners may be using alternative brands of botulinum toxin rather than BOTOX® specifically.
Botulinum Toxin Type A is made up of a protein and neurotoxin, which when injected will smooth wrinkles and reduce the signs of aging. BOTOX® is a specific branded example of Botulinum Toxin Type A, which is registered to Allergan.
The word 'botox' is being used and misused widely, much as the brands ‘Hoover®’ and ‘Coca Cola®’. it is common for people to refer to the above trademarks when they are not intending to be brand specific, and sometimes when they are referring to alternative and dissimilar brands which may even be inferior unknown vacuum cleaners or cola drinks or even botulinum toxins.
Whilst there are perfectly safe and effective alternative brands to Botox®; all described on our fact sheet, there are practitioners using botulinum toxins purchased illegally on-line, from Russia and China, which have not been licensed or supplied legitimately. Save Face calls on all those receiving treatments to beware and ask to see the brand being used. Particularly if 'cheap' treatment is offered.
What Is Being Injected?
No two biological products are the same and therefore every botulinum toxin product is different. These will differ by unit dose per non-surgical cosmetic procedure, the manufacturing process, potency and any adverse effects.
If you would like to specifically have BOTOX® then look out for the registered trademark. This is listed by Allergan Inc. and will be packaged in a purple and orange vial which is clearly labelled. It will also have an Allergan hologram on its side.
There are several other botulinum toxin brands available in the UK: ‘Dysport’ and ‘Xeomin’, which are Botulinum Toxin Type A; and ‘Neurobloc’ which is Botulinum Toxin Type B.
Licensed brands of botulinum toxin A include,’ Botox®, Azzalure®, Bocouture®, Xeomin®, and Dysport®. All botulinum toxins are prescription-only medicines (POM) and can only be prescribed by doctors, dentists, prescribing nurses and pharmacists with a prescribing qualification, following a face-to-face assessment and consultation with the qualified prescriber.
Practitioners: Can I Call it Botox?
Botulinum toxin is a ‘Prescription-Only Medicine’ (POM), which means there are specific rules on how and where you can advertise services that offer this.
As a prescription-only medicine (POM), it is unlawful for Botox or Botox treatments to be advertised in any way to the public. This extends to all media, including social media and on websites, as well as both paid-for advertisements and non-paid-for marketing posts or communications.
Customers: How to Find Out What You’re Having
If you are looking at visiting a cosmetic clinic for a non-surgical cosmetic procedure to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, there are a few things you should do to ensure you know what is being injected.
- Research the practitioner and/or clinic before you pay them a visit.
- If you are undergoing treatment with a practitioner who is not a healthcare professional you MUST have a face-to-face consultation with either a Doctor, Dentist, Independent Nurse Prescriber or a Prescribing Pharmacist. This is a legal requirement and will ensure that you are suitable for treatment and have been issued a valid prescription for a licensed and legitimate product/
- Research the different types of botulinum toxin and their effects; this way you can have in mind the product you would like to use.
- Book a consultation beforehand, where you can ask any questions you may have.
- Ask to see the unopened box of product/medicine to be used and make a note of the brand and the LOT number (take a photo) for future reference, should you later see another clinician
Being educated about the products used by non-surgical cosmetic procedure practitioners is a vital element in ensuring you have a high quality, safe procedure. To make sure you're fully informed, take a look at our treatment information which will give you all the information you need, and find an accredited practitioner using the Save Face register so that you don't fall foul of someone unqualified, unsafe and unethical.