Do-it-yourself Botox injections are the latest wrinkle in the pursuit of beauty on a budget.
Catherine Maiorino, 54, started thinking about buying Botox over the Internet when the creases between her eye brows began to needle her.
“So I went and found a website where I could order it,” recalls the vocational school teacher from Pennsauken.
She paid $200 to a spa in California for a vial of what was labeled as Dysport, which contains the same active ingredient as Botox. The price was about one third of what she expected to pay at a physician’s office.
Maiorino figured her daughter, a phlebotomist, could do the injections.
“She is the most excellent sticker in the whole world,” she says.
When the substance arrived in the mail, Maiorino was disappointed to find only a few freeze-dried crystals in the vial, to be reconstituted with saline solution.
“There were no actual instructions in the package, no way to determine what the proper consistency should be,” she says.
Her daughter balked — “she said I was crazy” — and insisted Maiorino take the vial to a doctor.
Meanwhile, the spa website vanished.
Maiorino consulted Steven Davis, a plastic surgeon from Cherry Hill who persuaded her not to attempt injections.
“Botox has become so accessible people think they can inject it themselves,” Davis says. “The truth is it requires sophistication to know how to reconstitute it, how to inject it and how much to use.”
Lynn Tibbets, a 50-year-old teacher from Ocean City, injected a small pockmark on her cheek with Restylane, a facial filler. She had learned how to give herself needles years before when she developed gestational diabetes and allergies.
For two years, she obtained the filler online from suppliers in Canada and Switzerland, paying about $185 per order, which she figures was about half what it would cost in a doctor’s office.
“It saved me time and money,” she recalls. “I thought things were working out quite well.”
But one day, Tibbets injected too much Restylane. The result was a large, doughnut-shaped mass on her face.