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Posted 19th Nov 2020

The Dangers Of DIY Injectable Treatments

Botched lip filler complications

It’s fair to say that many people have turned to do-it-yourself during lockdown. However, some have taken this to the extreme with DIY injectable treatments. Impatient for aesthetics clinics to reopen, desperate men and women are reportedly taking matters into their own hands. This is a particularly worrying trend as the dangers of injecting your own botox and fillers cannot be overstated.

Botched lip filler complications

Increasing Concern

Anecdotally, various media reports suggest aesthetic practitioners across the UK have been seeing a noted uptick in at-home injectables. This has coincided with both lockdown periods. All necessary products for at-home injectables are easy to find online. YouTube tutorials also readily show how to self-inject fillers into lips, tear troughs or cheeks, or how to administer your own botox. So, when it’s made this simple, the rise is perhaps unsurprising. DIY injectables has been a concern for many years, since treatments such as botulinum toxin became more widely sought after. Notably one of the aesthetics industry’s most notorious champions, Kim Kardashian, gave it a go. She was filmed trying to inject herself with filler for her global reality TV show Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Whilst she came away unscathed, others who try to inject their own filler are not so lucky.

Lack of Quality and Experience

When you visit an aesthetic practitioner, there are certain basic elements you should expect:

  • a fully-trained, qualified and insured practitioner
  • sterile equipment that is fit for purpose
  • good quality products, eg licensed dermal filler or botulinum toxins
  • all necessary PPE for both the injector and the patient.

When you try to carry out DIY injectables at home, you run a number of risks as:

  • you are not qualified either to inject the product nor to deal with any complications
  • your environment is unlikely to be sterile, increasing the likelihood of infection
  • you may be allergic to the product
  • you’re unlikely to have a credible source from which to buy your products
  • botox and fillers need to be administered evenly for a natural looking result.

Furthermore, when it comes to the actual product, the filler or toxin you are being sold, there are additional concerns. As an unlicensed injector it’s likely you’ll be purchasing items blind from an internet retailer. The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has found numerous cases of counterfeit medicines being sold online and aesthetic treatments are no exception. The government agency ran a public information campaign in 2018 cautioning about the dangers of buying medicines and medicinal devices from dubious sources.

Harvard Medical School in the USA has also cautioned against the use of “black market fillers”. It warns that some of these products have been found to have been mixed with substances such as hair gel.

As the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) – America’s equivalent to the MHRA – advises: “never buy dermal fillers on the internet. They may be fake, contaminated, or harmful.” These are just some of the factors you should consider:

  • the filler or toxin you are buying may not be genuine
  • it could be mislabeled or out-of-date
  • the brand or formulation may be illegal in this country
  • it may not have passed the necessary strict UK safety and tolerability tests
  • the product may have been improperly stored, rendering it anywhere between useless and deadly

Long-lasting damage

Although the effects of lip fillers, facial filler and botox are all temporary, they can last for many months. Furthermore, if something goes awry – particularly in the wrong hands – they can cause long-lasting damage.

Common mistakes include injecting too much filler or botox and poor injection techniques leading to uneven, lumpy results. “Brow drop” – where botox causes your eyebrows to droop downwards – is also seen frequently.

Bruising and swelling could be the least of your problems if you choose to self-inject aesthetic treatments. Tweakments that have been improperly performed can cause myriad complications. These include a lopsided face, lack of blood flow to the lips or other areas of the face, skin cells dying and filler blindness, to name just a few.

There is also the additional issue of home injectables being carried out in a non-sterile environment which could cause infection. Sepsis is a lethal possibility here. Learning injectables training botox dermal fillers courses Harley Academy Additionally, there is the inevitable stress and anxiety that arises from not getting the results you wanted.

Some practitioners shared their DIY tweakment horror stories with Metro this Summer. Be warned, it makes for gruesome reading!

Aesthetics Mentor at Harley Academy

As an injector, it’s important to build your knowledge and confidence in dealing with these types of situations. Harley Academy offers Preventing and Managing Dermal Filler Complications eLearning, a self-paced online course, for just this reason.

Our expert trainers provide you with a practical grounding in minimising the risk of complications from fillers, as well as guiding you through effectively dealing with complications. In addition to anatomy and pathophysiological concepts, it will teach you how to identify side effects versus complications and equip you to confidently manage both critical and non-critical situations. We have also produced emergency protocol information to download and keep for in-clinic use.

To find out more about the best aesthetics courses for you, schedule a call with our Courses team. Alternatively, learn more about getting #HarleyTrained by sending us an email. Last fact-checked: 17 January 2023

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