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
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Associate Recrutiment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

    Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

    £120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

    PMLD Teacher

    Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence