Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Botox style DIY shots disfigure women

An increasing number of New Zealand women are buying beauty products online to inject at home. Photo / Thinkstock
An increasing number of New Zealand women are buying beauty products online to inject at home. Photo / Thinkstock

An increasing number of New Zealand women are being disfigured - and risking death - by buying beauty products online to inject at home.

New Zealand and Australian surgeons are warning people not to buy derma fillers, or fake products purporting to be Botox, on the internet.

Dr Teresa Cattin, president of the New Zealand College of Appearance Medicine, said she saw women with injuries from DIY cosmetic procedures about once every six weeks.

One patient was admitted to hospital for six weeks after a friend injected a substance bought online into her face.

"She had huge big abscesses. She went into kidney failure. We still don't know what the substance was.

"In one case they got it tested and it turned out to be cooking oil.

"It really is scary. The products we use are prescription medicines, and they're prescription medicines for a reason - you only want to be injecting stuff that is tested."

Dr Cattin said she would often refer patients to plastic surgeons to have affected areas of the face cut out.

This week photos were released by an Australian woman, who did not want to be named, showing the swollen lips and face blotches she suffered after a friend injected her with a product bought online.

Her lips ballooned two weeks after being injected with supposed dermal filler, and abscesses showed on her face six weeks after the injection.

She is now being treated with antibiotics and drainage, and asked for the photos to be released to alert the public to the danger.

Dr Garsing Wong, also a member of the NZCA, told the Herald the photos highlighted the dangers of buying such products online.

"MedSafe do their best to stop all prescription medicines coming in, but sometimes they can slip through."

He said it was a great concern that websites claimed to offer products such as Botox, some of which marketed do-it-yourself application kits.

The Australian woman had bought a supposed dermal filler labelled "HA 40 mg/ml", which was now being analysed.

"Judging by the photos, it's very unlikely she would have got a pure form ... The worst thing is you don't know what's in it."

Dr Wong said that such products could cause outcomes much worse than permanent scarring.

"You risk anaphylactic shock, which in the worst-case scenario could kill you instantly. That's because it could contain impurities."

Another reason for consulting a doctor was to check the prescription against the patient's medical history and allergies.

"Not only that, you need to have the options explained. Maybe that's not the best treatment for you. Maybe no treatment is needed."

Both doctors said the dangerous importation of prescription drugs bought online extended to other medicines such as Viagra, weight-loss pills and steroids.

American woman Kerry Campbell recently caused global outrage when it was revealed she was injecting her 8-year-old daughter with Botox to help her win beauty pageants.

- NZ Herald

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