Cosmetic surgeons warn of disfigurement risk from bungled jabs as Botox party fad grows

British plastic surgeons are becoming increasingly worried about a growing Botox "party" culture in which injections are dispensed by unqualified, unsupervised people.

With Botox injections now available across the UK, and so-called "Botox parties" continuing to grow in popularity, experts have warned that there could be serious repercussions if the commercialisation of the procedure is allowed to grow unchecked.

The substance is most commonly injected into the face to remove signs of ageing. It was licensed for cosmetic use in the US four months ago, and its popularity and commercial use have increased to what some perceive to be dangerous levels.

In the US examples are already surfacing in the press of a "dangerous black market" growing up around the toxin. Anxiety over the trend is growing this side of the Atlantic, too. Dr Patrick Bowler, the chairman of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors who has been working in the field for 15 years, is particularly concerned by the fad for "Botox parties".

"I see people coming into the surgery with problems as a result of Botox put in improperly at parties," said Dr Bowler. Often complaints over the outcome are about heavy eyebrows, droopy eyelids, or one eyebrow fixed higher than the other. "There's a sense of 'have another drink darling and we can just pop this poison into you'. It's very serious and it does need looking at."

One of the main dangers with these parties, Dr Bowler said, was the combination of alcohol and Botox. "Drink increases blood flow to the skin. This could mean that you end up with Botox in a place where you don't want it."

Botox is a prescription medicine, licensed for a variety of conditions including cerebral palsy and muscular spasms, but not, in the UK, for cosmetic use. The active ingredient is botulinum toxin, which can lead to a potentially fatal bout of botulism if ingested in a strong enough dose. In an extremely diluted form the substance will restrict muscle contractions, effectively freezing skin movement, and making that part of the body look smooth and wrinkle-free.

Dr Bowler, who has already made a number of official complaints about the unsupervised injection of Botox by unqualified individuals, believes it is a problem the Government needs to address. "There ought to be a government department to sit down and talk to interested parties about how this area could be regulated."

Dr Tracy Mountford, a cosmetic doctor of 12 years' experience, backed Dr Bowler's arguments. "What I am particularly against is the use of alcohol at these Botox parties," said Dr Mountford, who has clinics in Buckinghamshire and Knightsbridge. "If somebody has been drinking alcohol before a Botox injection, it can lead to substantial bruising, because alcohol thins the blood. On top of that, if they have been drinking before signing a consent form, that also raises issues."

One woman to fall victim to an erroneous Botox injection was Sonia Browne, 31, a mother of two from Kent. Within a week of visiting her local beauty salon for a £150 treatment, Ms Browne found that she could barely open her eyes, and could not move her upper facial muscles at all.

"There is a huge difference between the clinics who know what they are doing, and those that don't," she said. "They completely over-estimated my dose. It was frighteningly bad. My eyebrow muscles were paralysed, my eyes could only half open and I looked as if I was asleep."

Despite these dangers, many in the industry remain unconcerned – reinforcing the fears of Dr Bowler.

Giselle O'Carroll, 33, a South African who has been living in the UK for 13 years, runs monthly "cheese and wine" themed Botox parties in Southampton with her husband, Jeff, a dentist. "It's all very comfortable, very casual – it's not very serious at all," said Mrs O'Carroll, whose husband charges £250 to inject their guests with Botox. "It's a real party atmosphere: they absolutely love it. The parties start at 7pm and normally finish around midnight. Sometimes they can go on until 3am. We stay open until the last one goes."

Mrs O'Carroll, who readily admitted that their "patients" were supplied with wine before the procedure, said that she had never heard it was dangerous to mix alcohol with Botox. "The ladies love to chat and watch what is being done to each other. Sometimes the party spills over into the garden. We play music and show videos."

Mrs O'Carroll, who began hosting Botox parties last June, said that she had received a number of the injections herself.

"I've had it all," she said. "I've had my lips done, Botox injected three times, and I'm currently in the process of a smile makeover. All I need is a boob job and then I will be 100 per cent."

News
peopleTop Gear presenter and all-round controversialist is at it again
Life & Style
techHow a 'grey brick' took over the world of portable gaming
Sport
Aaron Ramsey celebrates after opening the scoring in Arsenal's win over Hull `
sport
News
peopleActress speaks out against historic sexual assault claims, saying things have 'gone quite far now'

VIDEO
News
Coren Mitchell, who is the daughter of the late broadcaster Alan Coren and is married to comedian David Mitchell, produced a hand to make poker history at the 98th EPT main event.
peopleJournalist and TV presenter becomes first ever two-time winner of the European Poker Tour
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
food + drinkSprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
politicsLabour launches the 'completely hollow' Easter Clegg
Sport
Luis Suarez celebrates after scoring in Liverpool's 3-2 win over Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Arts & Entertainment
Last, but by no means least, is Tommy Cooper and the fez. This style of hat became a permanent trademark of his act.
comedyNot Like That, Like This centres on alleged domestic abuse
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Geography Teacher

    £130 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Ilford: Secondary Geography Teacher Lo...

    Do you want to work in Education?

    £55 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you a dynamic and energeti...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: SEN TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed...

    Private Client Senior Manager - Sheffield

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Sheffield office of this...

    Day In a Page

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

    The man who could have been champion of the world

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
    Didn’t she do well?

    Didn’t she do well?

    Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
    Before they were famous

    Before they were famous

    Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

    Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players