Black Market Injections: What You Need to Know

Silicone: The biggest black market item
Despite the fact that liquid silicone injections (including medical-grade silicone) are not FDA-approved for cosmetic use, silicone is still being injected into the face (cheeks and lips) and butt for augmentative purposes. “The type of silicone used in these cases is often industrial-grade, like something purchased from a home improvement store,” says Miami dermatologist Flor A. Mayoral, MD. Cheaper than what you’d pay at a board-certified doctor’s office for FDA-approved fillers, silicone remains on the black market because of its price. “Liquid silicone is a dangerous filler, as it can integrate into tissue as a scar,” says Vero Beach, FL, plastic surgeon Alan Durkin, MD. Adds Dr. Mayoral, “No matter how cheap it is and how safe it is touted as, silicone, or any material said to be like silicone, is never worth it despite the sales pitch. Silicone injections are a growing market because salons and spas and unauthorized medispas all offer back room injections.”

Is your Botox counterfit?
Doctors have to charge certain prices to make a profit. When greed plays a role, especially on the doctor’s part, the patient can end up with subpar results. “There’s a lot of pressure with price when it comes to Botox. Patients know they can pay less for it, but they don’t know that they may not be getting true Botox. It can be any sort of powder, since Botox comes in powder form, and is mixed with saline by the injector,” says West Palm Beach, FL, dermatologist Kenneth R. Beer, MD. “Everyone wants $200 injections, but at that price, you’re getting watered-down product or something counterfeit.” Fake Botox is becoming a big problem. “Doctors are buying fake versions online and from Canada and overseas and using it. If you’re willing to cut corners, you are only putting yourself at risk,” says Dr. Beer.

Who to trust the needle with
In the realm of black market beauty there are “lay” injectors—nurse technicians, aestheticians and back office staff who have access to legit products from the offices they work in (usually stolen from the doctor) and inject patients on their own, oftentimes in their own homes. “This is such a ‘no.’ There are just way too many variables and potential problems to the patients that can arise,” says Dr. Beer.

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