An insight into the Botox industry and why ‘faux-tox’ is no laughing matter.
A recent article in the Daily Mail stated that a staggering 84% of Botox users have absolutely no idea of the ingredients of the injections that they are being given or even if they contained the key ingredient ‘Botulinium toxin’ (which gives ‘Botox’ it’s name).
Many of the patients asked also said that they were unaware if the person administering the injection was appropriately trained to perform the delicate procedure.
At Good Skin Days, we also happen to agree with the two-thirds of the 1,500 respondents who think that the industry should be more stringently regulated in order to protect the UK population from unqualified practitioners using sub-standard products.
What exactly is in Botox and is it safe?
The word ‘Botox’ is actually a brand name and it only applies to the formulation that is manufactured by Allergan, the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of cosmetic injectables containing Botulinum Toxin.
This active ingredient ‘Botulinum toxin’ is also found in three other products available on the UK market; Vistabel (the same as Botox, with identical applications in cosmetic treatments and also manufactured by Allergan, but less widely known), Azzulure and Bocouture.
There is an important distinction to make between Botox/Vistabel and the alternative products available. If you are being treated with Azzulure or Bocouture, there are some things you should know:
Azzulure and Bocouture are cheaper alternatives to Botox and there are reasons for this. If you think that you are being treated with Botox, do double check, as these cost savings are often not passed on to the patient by some unscrupulous practitioners/clinics. If your practitioner doesn’t open the box in your presence, look out for a purple or red top (which indicates Botox), if the bottle has a blue top, it’s one of the cheaper alternatives.
Not to suggest that Azzulure and Bocouture won’t have any effect, they probably will, but the effects are widely considered to last less long than when using full-strength Botox/Vistabel, hence the cheaper price tag.
But perhaps more importantly, the actual formulation of the genuine Botox product is quite unique, as explained here by Rajiv Grover, secretary of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and himself a Harley Street Plastic Surgeon:
“Botox has a bigger molecular structure, which does not diffuse in the tissue as far as Azzalure/Bocouture,’ he says. ‘This means that the accuracy of an injection around the eye, for example, is far greater as it is less likely for the toxin to travel away from the site of injection, causing a droopy eyelid or eyebrow.”
Essentially, the smaller molecular structure of the cheaper alternatives, means that they are more likely to travel away from the chosen injection site into areas where the product is not intended to go. In delicate areas like around the eye, this is less than desirable.
In terms of safety, Botox was approved for use as a cosmetic treatment in 2002 after formal trials by the FDA. Since then it’s use has become widespread and it considered completely safe when used in the appropriate clinical environment, by a trained practitioner. You are safe to have Botox at any age as long as you don’t have certain medical conditions. A full medical history should be taken before you are offered treatment.
What you should expect from the clinic and the practitioner that is treating you:
- A clinical and sterile environment. Work surfaces and equipment should be appropriately prepared.
- Medical gloves should always be worn – if they aren’t, ask why not.
- The practitioner should be dressed appropriately, with hair tied back and a clean uniform.
- The Botox should be refrigerated at a temperature of between 2-8 degrees centigrade within the clinic before use. If it isn’t refrigerated, it will lose its effectiveness or may even be rendered useless.
- Botox products delivered directly from the supplier. Clinics like Good Skin Days have an excellent relationship with Allergan; our Botox is delivered direct from source, stored in dry ice, without the use of an agent or middle man. If the product comes directly from the manufacturer, you can be assured that it has been handled and stored appropriately.
- A purple or red top for genuine Botox/Vistabel. Cheaper alternatives are likely to have a blue top.
We hope that you have found all this information useful. At Good Skin Days, we pride ourselves on the highest possible standards of care for our patients. For further information on this subject or to book an appointment, please call the clinic on 01943 882010 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.