5 Things You Need to Know About DIY Botox

EliseR on 18 Aug 2011 at 1:33pm

It made its first appearance in late 2008. Now, it yields over 2 million hits on Google and has step-by-step tutorials on YouTube. Do-it-yourself Botox and other dermal filler kits are sweeping through nations around the world, but is it safe?

“The dangers of injecting illegal so-called "Botox Freeze" and other [related] products are almost too numerous to count,” says Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. David Pearson. Here’s why:

1. They’re not legit.

Prescription Botox and other dermal fillers used in medical offices are just that- prescriptions. Injections that are available to the public are counterfeit products, which means…

2. They’re not monitored.

Counterfeit drugs do not go through the FDA approval process, therefor they have no enforced safety measures, but plenty of room for error.  Example: in 2005 a doctor named Bach McComb purchased and administered counterfeit Botox to himself and 3 other people. This non-FDA approved product (purchased from Toxin Research International) was inadvertently made ten times more potent than licensed Botox. The result was nearly fatal, as each person who received injections suffered more than two months of paralysis.

3. They’re not easy.

Dermal fillers require proper dilution. Counterfeit Botox kits do not arrive “ready-to-inject,” which leaves the responsibility of preparing the mixture to the consumer. Let’s face it, we’re not all mathematicians. In fact a study comparing the math skills of 12th graders in 26 different countries put Americans 3rd to last. Should we really be mixing our own neurotoxin?

4. They’re not sterile.

Botox is packaged in a sterile environment, using sterile equipment, and then mixed with sterile saline. Botox knock-offs often aren’t. This skyrockets the risk of infection. On May 27th, 2011 the Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia issued a press release of a woman who suffered severe facial disfigurements and infections (see lead picture) after purchasing a “dermal filler substance” from an overseas website. The woman (who requested to remain anonymous) developed massive swelling, infections, and a large abscess on her cheek due to the unhygienic nature of the dermal filler* she administered.

5. They’re not legal.

Have you seen this woman’s tutorial on administering your own Botox?

Her name is Laurie D’Alleva, and she’s now in jail and facing charges of operating illegal websites and offering prescription drugs without a license.

Dangerous and illegal, it must be hard to obtain, right?

Wrong. After less than 10 minutes of searching, we've already found counterfeit Botox and Juvederm.

Buyers beware: These products are not FDA approved, and could result in facial disfigurement, paralysis, or even death.

*While Botox and dermal fillers have different purposes (one to freeze, one to fill), injecting at home provides similar risks
Photo and video credits: The Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia (CPSA), Buzzfeed.com