Botox Party Bust: Why Botox and Parties Don’t Mix.
Oil and water. Fire and ice. My own taste buds and Christmas-flavored coffee. (Never again.) There are things in this world that simply do not, and should not mix. And since summer is upon us, and it’s easy to get lost in the boozy haze of poolside cocktails and friendly gatherings, we thought we should 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)
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 as you put down your cocktail. Yes. A New York Times article in late 2004 told of an osteopath in Florida and 3 of this patients who contracted severe botulism poisoning after being injected with a mixture 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, this horror story is extreme, but what isn’t uncommon are unqualified injectors over-diluting Botox (which comes in powder form) so you’re getting far less of the FDA approved pharmaceutical than you’re paying for.
We spoke to board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Hisham Seify, about Botox parties and a few of the things that might lead one to an injection soiree in the first place — a relaxed social environment, a lower price point and, of course, a nice cocktail.
“Mixing alcohol with Botox nullifies the informed consent process where the patient is not able to assess the risks and alternatives of the procedure,” notes Dr. Seify. “Unnecessary injections, or worse, wrong injections could occur as well, since this is not in a professional environment but rather a festive one.” 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 injections have been the most popular kid 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 3.5 million procedures performed in 2014 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 the injections — many people have come to falsely believe that these injectable treatments aren’t real medical procedures. But in fact, they are. And they come with real side effects.
“The problem is usually excessive injection or injections too close to the eye lids resulting in a droopy eye lid,” 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 in the state of annoyance, folks. And even more disturbing than a wonky eye or misplaced brow among 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 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 a Botox party worth your health, so let’s save the multitasking for matters of less consequence, shall we?