A dangerous trend only seems to be gaining momentum: DIY injectables. Even though it’s illegal to sell hyaluronic acid fillers online, a growing number of consumers are ignoring the legal and physical risks, with many going so far as to inject themselves.
People buying facial fillers online and self-injecting is nothing new, but the growing availability of counterfeit fillers for purchase online coupled with social media tutorials that make it look easy to inject them yourself appears to be fueling interest.
Not all is what it seems
Almost as prevalent online are horror stories of the countless ways self-injection could go wrong when you lack the medical knowledge. A woman injects her lips with what she was told was Juvéderm—it arrived in a Juvéderm box, at least—only to later learn it was a counterfeit filler adulterated with silicone that she needed to have surgically removed.
A man consulted with a dermatologist after a filler he bought online and injected into his under-eye area looked lumpy and uneven. Even more, he also started having some sort of allergic reaction to it.
Another woman developed bumps on her lips from filler injected by a friend who offers such treatments out of her basement. An antidote was injected, but it wasn’t able to dissolve it, most likely because it was silicone.
If you think you need to scavenge through the recesses of the internet to find these products, you’re going to be surprised to hear that it’s so much easier than that. In fact, they’re becoming more prevalent on Amazon, even though Amazon maintains strict counterfeit policies. Amazon also prohibits the sale of dermal fillers. One search, however, yields plenty of hits.
A lot of these counterfeit injectables feature familiar brand names , like Juvéderm and Restylane. There are also no-name generic fillers, often listed simply as “hyaluronic acid filler,” which can be bought for under $100 on Amazon.
Some are legal products that have been stolen from unsuspecting licensed specialists’ offices, but the vast majority are believed to have been illegally re-imported from Asia and Eastern Europe.
One of the biggest risks of buying DIY Injectables online, counterfeit or legitimate but illegally available, is that you can never truly know what you’re getting. The packaging may look authentic but without the FDA’s stamp of approval, anything could be inside, including, but not limited to, adulterated ingredients, like silicone, and unsterile ingredients that can cause an allergic reaction or severe infection, which can lead to loss of tissue and scarring.
Even if the product is legitimate, injecting it on your own or having someone who’s unqualified do it for you carries incredible risk, including blindness and permanent disfigurement. As easy as those YouTube tutorials make it seem, injecting filler and Botox is very complex and requires intensive knowledge of the anatomy and physiology. Certified specialists train for years to learn how to inject effectively and safely.
While it may seem like a less-expensive way to get the change you’re after, the result of injecting yourself with a filler you’ve bought online can be life-changing and irreversible.