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Botox and fillers. They’re often called “minimally invasive cosmetic procedures,” but if you go to a sketchy provider, they can cause majorly invasive problems—from lumps under your skin to drooping eyelids to even death. That’s why we’ve compiled this advice for finding a trustworthy pro to do these beauty procedures for you.
Check Manufacturer Websites
Board-certified dermatologist Cheryl Burgess of Washington, D.C., suggests going to the websites of companies such as Allergan, maker of Botox, or Galderma, maker of a filler called Restylane—and others—to see their lists of approved doctors. Just type in your zip code to see providers near you. “Theoretically, anyone with a medical license can order from any company,” Burgess said. “However, the highest injectors of the medical product are usually listed at the top.” In other words, the doctors who have the most experience using the product will be listed first —and experience counts.
Next, check with your state to make sure the doctor or other medical professional you’re interested in really is licensed. I personally would only have this kind of procedure done by a doctor, preferably a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon (ideally a facial plastic surgeon.) Another specialty with respected skills in this area is oculoplastic surgery, which focuses on the area around the eyes. You can confirm a doctor’s board certification through CertificationMatters.org. Whether you hire a doctor, a nurse, or a physician assistant (they are allowed to do cosmetic injections in many states if they are supervised by a doctor), ask how many of your type of procedures they’ve performed. Also check online reviews. If they’re negative, skip it, of course. If positive, make sure that same person actually does your procedure.
Ladies, this is going to go against the grain, but make sure you are NOT paying the lowest price in town for your Botox or fillers. Reason being, if somebody’s charging way less than the going rate for these services, that’s a red flag. Botox and fillers are expensive cosmetic medications. If a provider is charging less than they cost, then he or she is probably not using real Botox and fillers! At the very least, they could be watered down; worst case scenario, they could be injecting you with dangerous substitutes.
Have a Consultation
You’re supposed to have a consultation before you ever have an injection. It’s your chance to ask questions, discuss risks and decide if you’re a good candidate before actually taking the plunge. If you bought a discount coupon, you may need to call and make sure the deal includes this important option. Persuade them to include it if you have to. If you find yourself at a so-called “pumping party,” there’s just not going to be a proper consultation. So don’t get any procedures done. Period.
Inspect the Meds
Finally, when you’ve chosen your provider, there are two more safeguards, if you want to be truly thorough. Find out which brand of product your medical provider plans to use and call the company to confirm he or she has an account to buy that product.
Then, on the day of the procedure, ask to see the cosmetic medications you’re to be injected with. The doctor (or other medical pro) should happily grant your request. If not, walk out. Genuine Botox by Allergan has a hologram plus the lot number and expiration date on the actual bottle label. Dysport and Xeomin, other neurotoxins used to freeze wrinkles, also have lot numbers, though not holograms, printed on their labels.
After your treatment, Dermatologist Cheryl Burgess says there is one final thing to watch out for: Neurotoxin treatments like Botox and Dysport should last three to four months. If yours fades significantly faster than that, the provider may have watered down the medication.