Written By Kevin Kerfoot / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
While fillers and neurotoxins, such a botulinum toxin, are safe when administered by board-certified physicians to create a more youthful skin appearance, dermatologists are becoming increasingly concerned that the internet is serving as a dangerous marketplace for “DIY” cosmetic treatments. There are some items dermatologists say you shouldn’t shop for virtually including cosmetic injectables like fillers and neurotoxins.
An article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology reveals just how common these illicit products are on popular e-commerce sites, increasing the public’s risk for severe and potentially long-term complications, including blindness, disfiguration, and stroke.
“With non-surgical cosmetic treatments increasing in popularity, we’ve seen more patients in our practices who have experienced complications from procedures that have either been performed by unqualified individuals or involved illicit products,” says board-certified dermatologist Brian Morrison, MD, MS, FAAD, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Miami and article author.
“To help find out why this was happening, we started searching online forums and quickly realized there’s a growing trend of unregulated cosmetic injectables readily available for purchase by the general public.”
Researchers performed searches for neurotoxins and fillers for sale at common online retail giants and marketplaces and were able to easily purchase the items from both domestic and international vendors without needing to provide any medical license information, which is required by federal law.
“We were shocked to see these types of products available online for the public, as it puts consumers at risk for devastating side effects, like infection and blood clots that can cause permanent damage to your soft tissue and skin,” says lead article author Dr. Marina Li, MD, MS, dermatology resident at the University of Miami.
“It’s extremely worrisome that patients are getting cosmetic treatments with unregulated, potentially harmful products from untrained individuals or worse, attempting to self-inject these products at home.”
anti-aging Filler And Neurotoxin Injections
Filler and neurotoxin injections are some of the most popular anti-aging medical procedures available, and medical professionals inject millions of patients each year. Because the results depend largely on the skill and experience of the person performing the procedure, it’s important to have these procedures performed in a medical office by a licensed physician.
When purchased online from unlicensed, unregulated sources, however, fillers and other injectables may be misbranded, tampered with, counterfeit, and unsafe.
Board-certified dermatologists have the education, experience, and training to safely and effectively inject fillers which help restore fullness to the face and neurotoxins which relax wrinkles into targeted areas to create a smoother, more youthful appearance without affecting other muscle groups. The effects last three to four months, and sometimes longer.
“Some of the most common complications from unregulated cosmetic products include infection, scars, and swelling, while more severe cases can involve long-term paralysis, Bell’s palsy, blindness, and stroke,” says Dr. Fabrizio Galimberti, article author and dermatology resident at the University of Miami.
“The problem is two-fold: you’ve got products that can’t be trusted, and you’ve got people injecting them without adequate medical training and experience. To protect your health, you should never get injections in a non-medical setting, such as a party or someone’s home.”
Questions about cosmetic injectable procedures
Questions consumers should ask to ensure safety when considering cosmetic injectable procedures include who is going to perform the procedure and how many of these procedures has the physician performed? The procedure should be one that the doctor performs regularly.
A dermatologist can tell you if the procedure will deliver the desired results based on the condition of your skin as well as your age and health.
You will want to know what results can be expected? How long is the recuperation period? Are before-and-after photos of previous patients available? Are there any risks? Do the benefits of the cosmetic procedure outweigh the risks and will the doctor be available if the patient experiences complications?
Patients should also ask to see the lot number and expiration date on the actual injectable product being used to rule out any counterfeit suspicions. If the price seems too good to be true, it’s probably not reliable, as the product could either be diluted, which would increase the risk of contamination or illicit.
Dermatologists encourage proper cosmetic injectable procedures
Dermatologists encourage patients who experience poor outcomes from unregulated cosmetic injections to report any adverse events to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Getting a filler or neurotoxin is a medical procedure, and knowledge is power,” Morrison added. “Patients need to feel empowered to ensure that what is being injected into their skin is legitimate and purchased from a reliable source.
“A board-certified dermatologist who has been trained in the proper use of fillers and neurotoxins can help you get the results you want and avoid complications. And if you do experience any complications, a board-certified dermatologist has the expertise to help.”
Dermatologists’ Tips for Applying Scalp Medications
Dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology estimate that at least half of the people who have plaque psoriasis have it on their scalp. Scalp conditions, such as alopecia areata, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis are very common.
Patients can improve their conditions using topical medications prescribed by their dermatologist. These medications can come in many forms, including shampoos, lotions, sprays and oils. The most popular are foam and liquid-based solutions.
“There are many safe and effective treatments for scalp conditions, and a few of these can even be purchased without a prescription,” says board-certified dermatologist Amy J. McMichael, MD, FAAD, a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. “However, applying these medications can be tricky if you don’t have the proper technique.”
She recommends applying scalp medications to dry hair using a simple, “five-line” approach. With a little practice, the application should take less than two minutes to complete.
However, it’s important to follow your dermatologist’s directions when applying scalp medications, as different conditions may require different instructions.
Applying A Solution Scalp Medication
- Part your hair down the middle of your head and use a dropper to apply the medication along the part, from the front of your scalp to the back. If your medication doesn’t come with a dropper, you can get one from your local drugstore. Make sure you continuously squeeze out the medication as you work your way along the part with the dropper.
- Part your hair a second and third time to the right and left of your middle part, about two inches down.Continuously apply the medication along each part from the front of your scalp to the back.
- Part your hair a fourth and fifth time just above your right and left ears.Continuously apply the medication along each part from the front of your scalp to the back.
“Solution medications are commonly used among those with naturally straight hair, including Asian-Americans and many Caucasians,” McMichael continued. “For those with coarse, curly or chemically-relaxed hair, including many African-Americans, foam medications may be easier to apply and more popular.”
Foam medications can be applied the same way as solution medications, except that you should use the bottle cap instead of a dropper. Since foam medications are designed to melt when they come into contact with a person’s body heat, the medication will dissolve if it’s applied to the hands before it’s applied to the scalp.
Applying A Foam Scalp Medication
- Part your hair down the middle of your head and dispense a small amount of medication into the bottle cap. Bring the bottle cap up to your hair and use your fingertips to continuously rake small amounts of the medication out of the bottle cap and into your part, from the front of your scalp to the back.
- Part your hair a second and third time to the right and left of your middle part, about two inches down.Continuously rake the medication out of the bottle cap and into each part from the front of your scalp to the back.
- Part your hair a fourth and fifth time just above your right and left ears.Continuously rake the medication out of the bottle cap and into each part from the front of your scalp to the back. Wash your hands immediately after applying the medication.
“No matter what type of scalp medication you use, it’s important to follow your doctor’s directions,” McMichael added. “If you have questions about your treatment options, or if you suspect you have an undiagnosed scalp condition, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.”
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With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.