It doesn’t take an expert to recognize that cosmetic injectables like Botox and Juvederm are more popular—and commonplace—than ever these days. Many people consider such injections to be simply another part of their regular beauty regimen, no less necessary than going to the hair salon, getting waxed, or having their nails done. In and of itself, having a casual attitude toward cosmetic injectables is fine . . . as long as you’re having them done by someone who you know is totally qualified. Unfortunately, a side effect of the mainstreaming of neurotoxin such as Botox and dermal fillers such as Juvederm seems to have been that many people are becoming rather lax about doing their homework regarding who they should trust to perform the procedure. One example is the trend of having “injection parties,” where aestheticians, nurses, and other individuals lacking adequate training administer injections to an entire group of people in one sitting. Then there are the underground operators—the people working out of hotels, apartments, and houses—who promise low prices for the same results.
No matter what assurances you’re given by the “professionals” who offer you their services, if they’re not coming from a board-certified plastic surgeon or a dermatologist who has been specifically trained to administer cosmetic injectables, you shouldn’t go anywhere near their needle. Even if what they’re holding is actually Botox, Juvederm, or another brand-name injectable, allowing someone unqualified to inject something into your body is dangerous; and even more dangerous is the possibility that what they’re using isn’t an approved substance, a practice which is occurring with alarming frequency and which can lead to hospitalization and even death.
In order to help patients protect themselves, the Physician’s Coalition for Injectable Safety (PCIS) has come up with a few pointers for making safe choices when it comes to cosmetic injectables: 1) Ask the person who’s going to do the injection for their qualifications, and make sure that the procedure is performed in a licensed medical facility; 2) Ask specifically for the brand name of the cosmetic injectable that will be used, and about potential outcomes (good and bad); 3) Do not accept treatment unless both of these criteria are met to your satisfaction, and if you suspect illegal practices, report them to the FDA. You can also find more detailed elaborations of these steps here.