With a rise in DIY aesthetic treatments, Nafisa Mughal considers how the dental profession can help educate against this phenomenon.
I can’t quite believe how long we have been in lockdown. But luckily there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
As we are all preparing for a possible reopening on 12 April, this month I want to discuss the horrors I am seeing online with DIY aesthetics treatments.
What is happening?
As many of you know, there are a multitude of online forums for aesthetic practitioners, which you may be members of yourself.
These forums are great for advice, tips and tricks. But recently I have seen some horrors of people getting scarily undesirable results from DIY aesthetics treatments.
This is not only sad for the patient, but is also extremely dangerous and could even cause permanent damage.
I saw one case where a lady had bought fillers from the internet and injected it into her forehead muscles thinking it was Botox.
The fillers left her with undesirable and uneven lumps all over her forehead. She then reached out to her practitioner for help.
On further investigation, the filler is for volume replacement and projecting cheeks. This makes it very thick and difficult to mould.
Why is it so bad?
The obvious point that a member of the general public, with no training, self-injecting is an absolute no no! They likely have little anatomy or product knowledge. Let alone knowledge on what to do if things go wrong.
It is shocking and saddening that there are companies still selling fillers on the internet to the general public.
When things go wrong (and chances are very high), the patient panics and contacts their GP or A&E for help. In many cases GPs are not trained in aesthetics so would not necessarily have the right products to treat an adverse reaction or to dissolve filler that has been administered wrongly.
A&E is generally not prepared for this type of event. It is already overrun dealing with other emergencies, so it’s extremely unfair to add this extra burden.
Also, it is embarrassing for the patient to self-treat. They may not even tell anyone, hoping the problem will resolve on its own.
As we know in cases of a vascular occlusion, this is extremely dangerous and can lead to life-threatening consequences if left untreated.
We need to also consider the effects it has on the patient’s mental health and general wellbeing. There was a reason they were self-treating in the first place. Having a result that ends up looking worse can affect mental health even more.
What can we do?
We as professionals have a duty of care for patients. Using our own social media platforms we can help educate against this type of behaviour.
Posting about how much training is needed, how much anatomy and physiology knowledge we have as well as potential risks, can help them to see that it’s not just a few haphazard injections in the face that anyone can do without sufficient training.
It is important that we all continue using our platforms to educate patients and potential patients alike.
I will post using #botchedtox to raise some awareness.
It would be nice if those reading this would do the same to raise awareness of the dangers of self- administered treatments.