Any time there’s a product people want and are willing to pay a lot for, you’re going to encounter counterfeits or fakes. All those knock-off designer purses wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a market for people looking for options that are more affordable than the real thing and if there weren’t people who are willing to copy those designs to make some ill-gained money.
The same is true with Botox and other injectable fillers. But while the knock-off designer purse racket raises questions of ethics and quality, the knock-off Botox — or “Faux-tox” racket also raises safety concerns. Unless you can confirm that someone is injecting the real-deal into your face, you have no idea just what has been put into that syringe, or what it can do to you.
Fortunately, there are ways you can protect yourself and avoid the “Faux-tox” market all together. Here’s what you can do.
Choose Your Provider Carefully
Perhaps the number one thing you can do to avoid a bad or fake Botox injection is to choose the right person to perform the injections. You want to work with a board certified medical professional. Ideally, the person you choose will be a facial plastic surgeon or someone with a comprehensive understanding of facial anatomy and how the face ages and develops wrinkles.
Along with choose someone who’s board certified, check out his experience performing Botox. Does he perform the injections on a regular basis and has he been offering them for years and years? You can also ask the surgeon about the type of training he received when learning how to perform Botox. Ideally, you want to work with someone who’s completed or participated in a formal training program.
Only Get Injected At a Medical Provider’s Office
The living room of your best friend or a motel that rents rooms by the hour aren’t ideal places for receiving Botox injections, even if those injectors are performed by a trained surgeon or other medical provider. A doctor’s office is going to provide a clear setting for receiving the treatment. Plus, if anything should go wrong, there will be staff and equipment on hand to help the surgeon fix the issue before it becomes a crisis.
Check Out the Packaging
“Faux-tox” isn’t the only thing you want to be aware of when getting injections. It’s also important to verify that the product you’re receiving isn’t past its expiration or hasn’t been used on another patient. Ask the surgeon to show you the packaging the Botox comes in before it’s opened.
You want to verify that the substance is still sealed in its box, and that its box features the logos and other marks of authenticity. The box the Botox is packaged in should have a tamper seal on the top of it. It should also have Allergan’s (the company that makes Botox) license number printed on one side and the official name of Botox printed on the top of the front of the box. On the bottom of the boxes are tracking numbers and barcodes to verify that the product was actually made by Allergan.
The vial of Botox itself has some authenticity markers, including a vertical hologram that reads “Allergan” on the bottle’s label.
Be Aware of Anything that Seems “Too Good to Be True”
Everyone wants to save money, and plastic surgeons do offer special promotions or offers from time to time. But it’s important to be very wary of any Botox specials that seem too good to be true, especially if they are coupled with suspicious packaging or a provider who’s not exactly certified or experienced.
Pay Attention to Side Effects
Knowing what to expect during your injection and afterward will help you take action quickly if anything is wrong or if you do end getting injected with a counterfeit or other compromised product. For example, the provider should use a very fine needle when injecting Botox and the treatment itself shouldn’t hurt, beyond a small pinch when the needle goes in.
Afterwards, it’s not uncommon to have some swelling or bleeding at the site of the injection. But you should still be able to participate in your usual activities and shouldn’t feel too out of sorts. If you have any severe side effects, such as a burning feeling or if the area around the injection feels hard or uneven, it’s a good idea to visit a doctor to get things checked out.
Your best bet when it comes to avoiding “faux-tox” is to see a plastic surgeon who has experience with the injectable and who has a relationship with Allergan, the company that produces it. In West Palm Beach, Florida, Dr. Michael Schwartz is a board-certified, gifted facial plastic surgeon who regularly offers patients non-surgical treatments, including Botox. To learn more and to protect yourself from fakes, call 561-228-5888 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schwartz today.