Following yesterday's news that an inquiry has been launched by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing into new claims there is a rise in people administering their own face and lip fillers from home, with ‘black market’ at-home kits bought online, we spoke to Dr. David Jack about why patients are taking such desperate measures. And what really happens to your face when your facial injections wear off.
He warns, 'using a 'black market' home kit is totally reckless because the anatomy of facial muscles is complex and nuanced, and different in every person. When administering Botox, a qualified medical practitioner should look at each patient's medical history and lifestyle as well as the dynamic of the individual's facial muscles, at rest, and when in motion. This varies significantly from person to person, which determines the dose, positioning and depth of each injection. You can only know with sufficient medical training.'
However, Dr. Jack has seen a sharp increase in patients panicking over their facial injections wearing off and seeks to reassure them by offering virtual consultations. He says, 'we have a waiting list of over 200 people which is going up by the day. Patients are worried about 'Botox sag' but they needn't panic.'
He explains,'when Botox wears off, the nerves that have been blocked will start to signal the muscles to move again. But while you may experience a return of certain expression lines, such as frown lines, it won't affect the long-term look of your face, even if you have to wait another few months to resume treatments.'
'There is some assumption that the facial muscle fibres in those who have had Botox for a long time will waist away causing muscle atrophy or facial sagging. But these days Botox and fillers are administered in lower doses, merely relaxing the resting tension in certain muscles to minimize lines, while allowing expression and movement to continue. This avoids muscle atrophy from happening, even if you decide to give up Botox for good,' assures Dr. Jack.
He adds, 'in the early days Botox was injected in a way that left patients with a face that looked completely frozen, and therefore, over time, the muscles could potentially waste away. But that's very unlikely to happen with the improved, sophisticated methods that are standard practice nowadays. This is why it's crucial that patients wait for an experienced medical practitioner to resume any kind of cosmetic treatment.'
Most doctors we've spoken to are working towards reopening in July, but in the meantime, Dr. David Jack advises focusing on home treatments to firm and brighten the skin using at-home peels, masks and serums. 'We've seen a 500% increase in skincare sales since April as both women and men are looking for safe home treatments to get them through lockdown.'
However, Dr. Jack stresses that the best thing that anxious patients can do while they wait for their cosmetic clinic to reopen, is to focus on healthy lifestyle choices, which will help their skin tone and boost confidence. 'Anxiety is linked to increased drinking and eating more sugar. Try to eat as well as you can, exercise and improve your sleep and your skin will improve.'