Here at Save Face we only accredit non-surgical cosmetic practitioners who have been vetted by clinically experienced nurses according to our strict Save Face best practice guidelines. If you opt for a practitioner who comes to your home, or even if are thinking of taking advantage of cheap 'do-it-yourself' kits and injecting yourself, you’re opening yourself up to a host of complications.
Here at Save Face we would never recommend you take such unnecessary risks with your health. We believe that qualified, registered healthcare professionals practitioners are the best people for the job, and we want you to understand why.
So why should you see a qualified expert? What are the risks of being injected at home, either by yourself or someone claiming to be a ‘professional’? Get informed about the facts before you undergo any procedures.
What Are the Dangers?
It may be tempting to buy a very cheap do-it-yourself botulinum toxin kit, but is it really worth the risk?
Although they are commonly used for cosmetic purposes treatments such as botulinum toxin injections and dermal fillers are medical treatments and as with any treatment, come with possible side effects. The risk of the side effects increases considerably when administered at home or by yourself.
Botulinum toxin injections smooth out wrinkles by blocking nerve signals to the muscles. If they're administered to the wrong area they can cause parts of the face to become droopy. In extreme situations, should the toxin get into a vital organ or muscle, such as the esophageal and respiratory muscles it can cause difficulty in breathing and even death. Other side effects could be speech impairment, difficulty swallowing and an affected eye sight. Attending and receiving these injections at a 'Botox Party' (a growing trend where people get together to have the treatment in their homes) increases your risks, the product cannot be safely stored, the practitioner cannot protect your confidentiality, the lighting and your positioning for treatment, hand washing and hygiene between injections, safe disposal of contaminated needles and you have no idea who is treating you and how or where any complications can be managed..
Having a friend inject you is just as dangerous. Dermal filler injections are not classified as prescription medication, and are therefore only covered by the same level of regulation as products such as ball point pens. This means that anyone can buy and administer them, and their quality is far from guaranteed.
The main risk here is that you really don’t know WHAT is being injected, you risk infection, prolonged swelling and pain and possible scarring if your body reacts to this substance and should you have serious complications an expert is challenged to treat you because they don’t know what they are dealing with. If the product is injected accidentally into an artery it can cause permanent and catastrophic damage to the skin and in rare cases, permanent blindness!
Doctors, dentists and nurses are trained to avoid such complications and recognise any signs of these reactions, most important they are able to carry out first aid should any problems arise. The same cannot be said for untrained individuals.
Worryingly, these complications are on the rise. Leading cosmetic surgery company Transform have seen an alarming 15 per cent rise in the number of patients seeking help following ineffective treatments by non-registered practitioners. They say patients come to them after being treated in a non-clinical environment, despite being given a prescription-only medicine. A survey carried out by the company found that more than five in six people who have had botulinum toxin admit to having no idea what exactly was injected into their face, and many said they had no idea if the person administering the injection was appropriately trained.
For further information about the complications that can arise as a result of unaccredited persons administering these procedures, as well as other information, take a look at our Useful Downloads page. You'll find factsheets, industry reviews, and a consumer check list which will help you make informed decisions.
Save Face minimises your risk by ensuring your practitioner is who they say they are, are appropriately trained and qualified, are insured, use safe products, legitimately supplied and that the environment is fit for these treatments to be provided safely with policies in place to protect you from harm.
As well as adverts for 'do-it-yourself' kits, you may also come across supposed 'specialists' who offer to come to your home to carry out procedures there.
Anybody offering to come to your home is unlikely to have the appropriate skills and training to be administering these procedures. The fact that they are happy to administer medical procedures in an environment that is not equipped for medical emergencies should be a red light to anyone thinking of trying to save money by taking advantage of these services.
Ash Mosahebi, a consultant cosmetic and plastic surgeon and a member of BAAPS, says the results can be nasty.
"When things go wrong they can go badly wrong," he says.
"You're putting your health and well-being at risk by trying to save a few pennies. I've seen some terrible botched jobs. Fillers have gone all over the place and migrated to places they shouldn't have gone and it's been virtually impossible to correct it. The worst case scenario could leave you being disfigured."
The Cooking Oil Injector
The most famous (and horrific) story of a self-injector is that of Hang Mioku, a former model from Korea. Mioku quickly became addicted to the idea of the perfect image and had a number of surgical and non-surgical procedures, but when her face began to swell doctors refused to carry out any further procedures. This is where she took things into her own hands. Mioku bought silicone on the black market and injected it into her face, and when that ran out she turned to injecting cooking oil.
As a result she was left with a severely swollen face, and despite 10 corrective surgeries and the removal of 260g of silicone and other foreign substances she will never look ‘normal’ again.
So the next time you are tempted by a deal for DIY botulinum toxin injections, or other non-surgical cosmetic procedures, stop and think. Give your nearest cosmetic clinic a call and ask their opinion on the products. We’re sure they’ll send you to a professional instead.