BOTOX: THE RISKS - The needle and the damage done

Warning:  Cheryl Barton of Aesthetika cosmetic clinic says some people are going to ludicrous lengths to cut corners and costs with Botox
Warning: Cheryl Barton of Aesthetika cosmetic clinic says some people are going to ludicrous lengths to cut corners and costs with Botox
Have your say

Looking younger is no longer just the obsession of the rich and famous...

Women - and men - all over South Yorkshire are going Botox barmy and popping out in their lunch-hours for a rejuvenating fix of filler.

But it can and does go wrong - and in their desperation to turn back time on the cheap, some Botox and filler fans are taking staggering risks with their looks and their health, warns a Sheffield clinician who treats hundreds of patients every year.

Cheryl Barton, a former nurse who has been administering “minimal invasives” for two years, says that, done by specialists using quality solutions, treatments are safe. But she warns of the ludicrous risks people are now prepared to take,

“The most shocking thing we are now seeing is women trying to buy Botox and filler solution off the Internet so they can inject it into themselves,” she says.

“I am horrified this is happening. They could be putting harmful products into themselves - and permanently damage their faces.”

Last year, her private medical clinic Aesthetika at North Anston was visited by a woman who had injected herself with fillers, says Cheryl, a former NHS critical care senior sister and midwife: “She arrived here shaking with shock, with one eye swollen and completely closed.

“She’d had fillers administered at a clinic before and thought it looked so easy, she’d save money by getting the solution from a professional looking US website. It came with a DVD on how to administer it yourself.

“She put it into her eye socket, an area anyone with proper training would never treat because it contains a major facial blood vessel and several major nerves.

“She wanted us to administer an antidote, but we couldn’t because we didn’t know what she had put into her face. Plus it looked like she had injected filler into a blood vessel. My fear was that it had gone behind her eye.

“We sent her to eye casualty at the Hallamshire Hospital for an MRI scan. She was admitted, but we have no idea what happened to her. None of our follow-up calls were returned.”

Two pharmacists could not identify the solution afterwards and Cheryl concluded it was a fake.

“I can’t warn people strongly enough not to buy fillers and Botox online. At best, it could be a harmless sugar solution that does nothing at all. At worst, it could be something harmful. And don’t ever try to administer it yourself. Have it done with a professional.”

Even then, things can and do go wrong. Cheryl says Aesthetika are often asked to correct bad work done by other practitioners. “Mostly we see asymmetry; one eyebrow higher than another, or a drooping eye, or what we call the Spock brow, when eyebrows arc too highly.

“But in extreme cases bad work can cause permanent damage. If the needle wrongly hits a nerve you will end up looking like the victim of a minor stroke,” she says.

Cheryl, a founder member of the Private and Independent Aesthetic Practitioners Association, formed in 2005, says: “In my opinion, only doctors, nurses and dentists - the people who have medical backgrounds - should be allowed to administer Botox and fillers.

“Unfortunately in this county there are people injecting faces whose only experience is a one-day course. You can’t inject a dog in the UK unless you’re a vet - but anyone can inject a person.”

Make sure you check out the practitioner’s credentials and experience - and that you know what is going into your face, she advises.

“You need to know which brand is being used and its history of safety.

“Botox is a licensed drug but fillers are not. They have to carry the C.E. safety mark but there are 250 types of on the market; in my opinion we don’t know enough about some of them.

“I predict fillers could be the next PIP breast implant scandal waiting to happen. Women could end up finding out the stuff they have had injected into their wrinkles is not safe.”

Beware the botox party

OUR obsession with lunchtime injectables is leading to people becoming too complacent about safety, Fazel Fatah , president of The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, warns.

“Scarily, anybody can buy injectables on the internet and have a theme party in someone’s front room,” she says.

Shelly Jackson, a cleaner from Sheffield who regularly has Botox injections at a salon, was shocked when a friend told her she had been to a Botox party.

“There were about 15 of them, all drinking cocktails. They went upstairs one at a time to get injected. It was very much a case of ‘wrinkle and jab.’

“Afterwards my friend suffered with a drooping eyebrow which made her look as though she’d had a stroke. She was absolutely horrified.

“When I asked her what she’d been injected with, she couldn’t even tell me. Over a year later, she still has a slight droop which she’s really conscious of, more conscious than she ever was of any little lines she had.”

Bad experiences

BRIAN Berriman, 30, works as a hairdresser in Sheffield.

“I had a Botox treatment done at a beauty salon in Sheffield. I wasn’t given a consultation or anything to sign and the lady didn’t ask me any questions about my medical history.

“It was a case of lie back, frown and then she stuck a bunch of needles in my head.

“The whole experience was a bit scary. I was foolish enough to think she must be so experienced she didn’t need any information from me and I didn’t feel I could question her about it.”

Brian was left with unsightly lumps on his forehead and suffered with headaches for more than a week. “The needles left two big bulges on my forehead for about seven days which were really sore. It was horrible having to go into work the next day with them, I was so embarrassed.”

And after all that, the Botox only lasted five weeks.

“Its effects were very subtle when it did eventually do something and it disappeared really fast. I felt swindled.”

But like many people, Brian didn’t go back to the salon to confront the woman who administered his Botox.

“I wrote it off like I would a bad meal, I didn’t want to cause a fuss, But I wouldn’t let just anybody near me with a needle again.”

Not for bomber

SHEFFIELD’S former boxing champ Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham gave Botox a try back in 2006, but the boxing legend has said he’d never use it again.

“It didn’t do much at all for me,” the 52-year-old told The Star. “I didn’t like how it made my face feel, it’s a very unnatural product. At the end of the day we’re talking about injecting a poison into our body, I just couldn’t get on board with it.”

Herol went under the needle after his old boxing mate Ibrahim Hussain qualified as a cosmetic dentist and offered to give him the treatment for free at his surgery in Rotherham.

“I’ve never been a vain man but of course appearance matters and the idea of ageing well was appealing,” he said.

“I thought maybe I’d look like Sidney Poitier afterwards!

“Since I had that treatment though, I’m firmly against the concept of Botox.

“I think we all have a responsibility to eat well, get enough sleep and exercise and take care of our bodies. That’s all we need to be doing in terms of maintenance.

“Filling our body with this stuff is just not what we’re meant to be doing. I’m not denying that it works for some people, but it’s not normal.”

celebrity Fixes

MARTIN Scattergood, nurse at Sheffield Clinic Peach Practice, said: “In my opinion, Nicola Kidman has had dermal fillers to her lip and treatments of Botox.

“Kylie and Madonna have both had Botox and too much dermal filler to their cheeks, which results in the ‘pillow cheeks’ look.

“Simon Cowell looks like he has had Botox and fillers to the nasolabial fold on his face, which is the crease between the edge of your nostril to the edge of your mouth.

“I would say he has also had skin resurfacing.

“Jennifer Aniston is a great example of someone who has had Botox above their top lip to stop it from disappearing when she smiles, which is a good trick used by a lot of celebrities.” BOTOX: THE RISKS - The needle and the damage done