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
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
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
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
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
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

    Service Desk Analyst- Desktop Support, Helpdesk, ITIL

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

    Service Desk Analyst - (Active Directory, Support, London)

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst - (Active Di...

    Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

    Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, VBA)

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition