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Facial Procedures

Botox Party Bust: Why Botox and Parties Don't Mix.

Oil and water. Fire and ice. My own taste buds and cinnamon-flavored coffee. (Never again.) There are things in this world that simply do not, and should not mix. Yes, yes. We know. It’s easy to get lost in the boozy haze of happy hour cocktails and other friendly gatherings, we thought we should, however, point out two more things that don’t mix: Botox (Botulinum Toxin) injections and parties. (Same goes for the other brand names of botulinum toxin: Xeomin and Dysport, and dermal fillers)

Both Botox and parties have their stand-alone merits—Botox can soften a wrinkle or fold, stop an overactive sweat gland and help prevent the dreaded signs of aging, while parties… well… they’re parties—wine, cocktails, low-lighting, witty banter and questionable-decision making. But that’s not a conducive environment for having someone with questionable credentials inject your face with even more questionable pharmaceuticals.

“Questionable pharmaceuticals?” you ask, putting down your cocktail. Yes. You read that correctly. A New York Times article as early as 2004 told the cautionary tale of an osteopath in Florida and 3 of this patients contracting severe botulism poisoning after an injection of botulinum toxin type A, which the doctor acquired and mixed himself without informing his patients that what they were being injected with was not FDA-approved Botox. Of course, that horror story is extreme, but it brings to mind the fact that you must, must, must always ask for verification that what you’re being injected with is indeed what it’s supposed to be. On a less terrifying, but equally ethically dubious front, it’s not uncommon for unqualified injectors to over-dilute Botox (which comes in powder form) so you’re getting far less of the FDA approved pharmaceutical than what you’re paying for. Do we know for certain that these situations happened at a Botox-party? No. But we’ll refer you back to the questionable decision-making we mentioned earlier and let you do the math.

To provide more concrete reasoning, we spoke to board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Hisham Seify to get his professional take on the dangers of Botox parties. “Mixing alcohol with Botox nullifies the informed consent process where the patient is not able to assess the risks and alternatives of the procedure. Unnecessary injections, or worse—wrong injections—could occur as well, since this is not in a professional environment but rather a festive one,” notes Dr. Seify. And he’s right. If a relaxed atmosphere and a cocktail or two impairs your judgement, what do you think it’s doing to the judgement of your injector?

Since its 2002 clearance from the FDA to treat a furrowed brow, Botox has become the coolest kids on the anti-aging block. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the injection of botulinum toxin is the single most popular nonsurgical procedure performed today, with over 1.5 million procedures performed in 2017 alone.

Due in part to this immense popularity—and also likely owing to the medi-spas, mall salons, dentist offices, your best-friend’s sister’s cousin’s Mom and gasp Botox parties offering up injectables—many people have come to falsely believe that these injectable treatments aren’t real medical procedures. And buying into this idea that injectables aren’t really procedures can come with real side effects.

“The problem is usually excessive injection or injections too close to the eyelids resulting in a droopy eyelid,” Dr. Seify explains, based on the most common adverse reaction that he sees in his practice. “It’s a temporary issue and will resolve with some eye drops, but could still be annoying to the patient for a period of time. A more pronounced facial asymmetry is another side effect I see sometimes.”

If you’re shrugging your shoulders and thinking—“Hey, I’ll just wait out the effects of my hangover and my misplaced Botox party injections”—think again. Dr. Seify reminds us, “Botox lasts on average 3-4 months. If it was injected in the wrong place or with the wrong amount, the adverse effects could last for the entire time period.” That’s a looong time to live in a state of annoyance, folks.

Even more disturbing than a wonky eye or misplaced brow are the other hazards involved with Botox party injections. “The more serious issues that could occur are related to the sterility of the location, availability of proper medical supplies, the type of Botox utilized and the skill and training of the injector,” notes Dr. Seify. “The majority of board-certified plastic surgeons will not be involved in Botox or filler parties, which leaves this to less qualified injectors.”

A consult with your board-certified plastic surgeon is one way to ensure that your injections are done accurately and safely. There’s really no amount of savings, soirees or cocktails that can make any Botox party worth your health, so let’s save the multitasking for matters of less consequence, shall we?

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