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YouTube and DIY blogs are a wonderful place to learn new skills. We can change the oil in our cars and pave our own outdoor patio, without visiting a professional (theoretically, at least). We can learn new languages without going to school.

But should people with no medical or technical training be injecting themselves with Botox and dermal fillers at home too? Most definitely not.

And I'm most definitely not just saying this because it's how I earn my living. I know that it's not cheap to have these procedures done. After getting facial injections for a while, you may even begin to think it seems so quick and easy that you could be doing it yourself.

That assumption has led some bloggers and Youtube stars to teach themselves, using the videos and other tools that some medical professionals have shared online (which they've usually made either for fellow professionals or as extra education for potential patients).

Invoking a spirit of democracy, these DIYers claim they're giving power back to the people and away from the medical and pharmaceutical pros who just want their money. 

This is a dangerous notion, for several reasons I’ll share here.

Black-Market Products

In order to inject yourself at home, you've got to have something to inject.

But Botox and injectable fillers are available to only professionals with a prescription, which theoretically should stop this DIY process before it even begins. If you believe that, you also believe that no one is using illegal drugs or getting prescription drugs from Canada and Mexico. No surprise, there's a black market for these products, just like everything else. 

When you go to shady people willing to skirt the law to sell you Botox or hyaluronic acid fillers, you have zero guarantees that they didn't also skirt the rules in acquiring their products. There's no regulatory authority verifying that your black-market Botox is actually Botox.

Even if it is the real product, you risk that it may not have been packaged in a sterile environment or stored properly. That means your DIY-plumped can wind up infected.

Botched Botox

Once you've acquired your Botox, these DIY videos make it seem like all you have to do is dilute the neurotoxin, look at a map of the face's injection points, and stick that needle in as needed. If only! 

Nurses, doctors, and physician assistants undergo a lot of training before we go poking anyone with a needle. We study anatomy — not just a simple face map — to learn how the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles of the face work together. Then we practice.

As you can tell by the faces of certain celebrities and reality-TV stars, even professionals can screw up Botox.

To get it right, we rely on our experience to be able to judge an individual patient's face, to see exactly where to place the needle, and to dilute the Botox just right. We can tell the location of an individual's "danger zones" — places where an injection might awkwardly freeze the face, droop an eyelid or give a heavy brow. It may look like we have x-ray vision, but really it's about knowledge and time.

Killer Filler

Face fillers carry even more risks than Botox, which may surprise you, given that hyaluronic acid is something that naturally occurs in the skin. Filler injections can cause allergic reactions and infection. Plus, if the needle penetrates an artery, filler can block blood flow to the skin, causing tissue death.

It may also block blood to the eyes, causing permanent blindness. Long before I ever tried a procedure on someone's face I'd studied anatomy in school, then dissected a cadaver’s face in a master class as an advanced injector — and I don't think that's quite the same as watching a few videos online.

Your Money's Worth

When you get a treatment at Face Forward Medical Aesthetics, you're not just paying for a syringe full of product and a few minutes of our time. You're paying for our team's collective years of experience, the latest, most effective and sterile equipment, and the safety net we have in place should complications arise. In addition to that science, you get our artistic sensibility and personal touch, because we truly want you to look your best.

If you still believe DIY procedures sound enticing and I haven't convinced you otherwise yet, please let me know. Leave questions and comments for me here, and I'll be sure to answer them soon!

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