Fancy some botox? Well now you can do it yourself

Since time immemorial women (and not a few men) have sought to erase the visual results of getting older. There are probably forgotten arts of the ancients still to be re-discovered, but the introduction of ‘facial fillers’ such as Botox has revolutionized the cosmetic improvement industry. As opposed to surgery, Botox treatments are infinitely preferable; cheaper, quicker, usually safer and relatively painless.

However, they are still out of reach financially for a lot of people who want to look better/younger, and it’s not surprising that enterprising companies have come up with a cheaper option: do it yourself Botox. Anyone can go online with a “buy Botox” search and find a multitude of offers. The problem is that there is no real regulation at present, though medical professionals and consumer watchdogs have called for it repeatedly.

The fact is that even when administered by trained and licensed medical personnel, things can go wrong; damage to facial muscles is only of them. When unskilled consumers choose to inject themselves with a product that may not be what it claims to be, following instructions in a package obtained through the internet, the odds of negative results go up exponentially.

In the UK, a ‘legitimate’ Botox treatments runs about £200; reportedly a DIY kit can be purchased online for less than £50, and sales are brisk. In addition to a long list of possible dangers from bad products and/or misuse, recently the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) came out with a warning about infections and diseases such as HIV spread by the use of ‘dirty’ needles.

Apparently quite a lot of people are re-using syringes that should be destroyed after one use; according to Rajiv Grover, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), because there are almost no regulations there is no way of knowing how many seekers of beauty could be at risk from worse things than drooping eyelids. He says unequivocally that the procedure should never be attempted by anyone except a trained and qualified practitioner.