SO... you're thinking of getting Botulinum Toxin (otherwise known as Botox). You've decided you've had enough of looking in the mirror and noticing the ageing process. Or maybe you're terrified of the day that this starts to happen. Whatever your reason, you're starting consider Botox treatments.
You might've looked through everyone that offers Botox in your area, or you might be lost on where to start. Either way, everyone is going to be offering different prices, different products and different information on the treatment.
Here are three things to think about before you get your first Botox treatment...
1. Botox is a prescription-only medication (POM)
All brands of Botulinum Toxin are prescription only medications. Not in the same way that antibiotics are prescription, you can't get this medication at your local pharmacy! Botox requires an individual who is medically qualified, a registered prescriber and trained in administering Botox - and this is before you even meet the person injecting you! This is because you need to have an in-depth medical consultation to ensure you have no contraindications to the treatment being performed. Once this is completed, Botox will then be prescribed to you specifically.
If you have decided to use a practitioner who is NOT a prescriber (such as a non-medically qualified practitioner, or a medically qualified but non-prescribing practitioner) you will need to have a face-to-face appointment with their prescriber before every. single. appointment. This ensures that you are receiving products that are prescribed in your name, and used only for your treatment.
If you have decided to use a practitioner who IS a prescriber (such as a registered GP, or a healthcare professional who has completed their prescribing qualifications) the process is a little different. This is because prescribers are legally allowed to keep a 'stock' of product, meaning consultation and treatment can be done on the same day. However, it is important to note, they should still be providing an in-depth medical consultation.
To summarise, make sure you are always meeting face-to-face with a prescriber before you get injected. Do not be afraid to ask proof of you practitioners qualifications, insurance or ability to prescribe (where applicable). Any reputable practitioner should be able to provide this with no questions asked, and will not be offended for you looking after yourself!
2. Know your Botox brands (UK)
Consultation out the way, now you're in the salon waiting to be injected! You've filled out your forms, and are waiting on the beauty couch while your practitioner prepares your vial. Its important to know what is being injected.
In the UK, there are three main brands of Botulinum Toxin that are legal and licensed use. These include:
Botox (by Allergan)
Azzalure/Alluzience (by Galderma)
Bocouture (by Merz Pharma Group)
Currently, any other brand outside of these three, are not licensed for use in the UK.
In recent years, there has been an increase of awareness in the possible side effects of using unlicensed products. Some of these products include (but not limited to):
These brands, along with many others, are NOT LICENSED for use in the UK. However, they are licensed in some other countries.
This does not mean that if you have had this used previously, that you will develop side effects, but there are higher risks when using products that are not licensed in this country.
You should always ensure that you know what product is being used - just ask!
If you are worried that you may have had unlicensed product used previously,support is available from the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and you are able to report a practitioner, if you should wish to do so.
3. Your practitioner's qualifications.
Like most industries, there are different qualifications needed for different treatments. Many practitioners will proudly display their certificates for all to see, but if you don't know what they mean they're not reassuring! There are many different types of qualifications to do with Botox, and it is important that your practitioner is competent to carry out the treatment they are providing.
Basic/foundation Botulinum Toxin qualification - the practitioner is qualified to treat = the glabella (between the eyebrows), crow's feet (around the eyes) and frontalis (forehead).
Advanced Botulinum Toxin qualification - the practitioner is qualified to treat additional areas such as (but not limited to) = bunny lines (sides of nose), lip flip (upper lip boarder), face slimming (jawline) etc...
Hyperhidrosis qualifications - the practitioner will need to gain qualifications for the areas that they are treating such as forehead or underarms. Some qualifications will only cover them to treat specific areas, whereas others may allow them to treat a range of areas = it is always best to check with your practitioner
"Micro-dosing" - The practitioner will need to have at least a basic/foundation qualification alongside microneedling and/or mesotherapy depending on how they are using the product.
If your practitioner is displaying their qualifications, have a closer look to understand exactly what they have trained in, when they trained and where. If in doubt, ask and find out!
Now you know what to look for before you book your first appointment! You only have one face, make sure you look after it with someone you can trust!
*disclaimer - this post is meant for client education, and is in no way directed at specific practitioners*