What are the Harmful Effects of Botox + Filler

by Olife Team

We are all about the best treatments for glowing skin, looking and feeling great in your personal brand, the biggest organ on your body! And although we are all about body positivity and doing whatever it is that makes you happy with your own body. We can’t help but feel conflicted about sitting back as we watch a cultural wave cascade through the air in Egypt and beyond. Face fillers, and Botox is as commonplace as using the Ordinary solution as a part of your night care routine.

But it feels contradictory to watch as we see self love and acceptance, body positivity slogans slung across the internet by the same people doing their utmost to change what they have. This is confusing. We are fed imagery from some of the most beautiful celebrities on the planet, launching ethical skincare lines, and feeding us their top skin care regimes to get that natural Hailey Bieber coined ‘glazed donut look’, and injecting their faces with toxins that, done in the wrong way, can cause nerve damage all in the same breathe.

In marketing there is a concept called The rule of seven, this is the idea that a customer, seeing something for the first time, won't buy it, statistically it takes the seventh time before they circle round and commit. When someone is first exposed to a new idea, or concept, it can feel outrageous, too far out, we may not relate to it at all, like a new medication searing its way through our bodies, initially the body rejects it, but soon enough, over time, getting exposed to the same thing again and again and again, somewhat normalizes it. We adapt quickly.

Social media cycles have a remarkable way of hypnotizing us by ongoing video output all day, every day. When you see something enough times it becomes more enticing, then it becomes a need, then it is normalized, and adopted. We have watched from the sidelines over the last 10 years as Botox and filler haven’t just become commonplace, they have become trends to try from as young as the age of 15, with any certified or uncertified doctor they can find. With 800 million people using Tiktok each month, we examine the impact of Tiktok trends that have emerged recently, of teens showcasing their filler horror stories, after rushing the process without research, and later on having to invest more in correcting it.  

Yet with all this, we still see so much positive conditioning surrounding Botox and filler on Tiktok and Instagram too, as more doctors and dentists encourage the carving of one's face to reach its optimum potential. Although we understand the pressures to want to look and feel better, we want to encourage sensible decision making when it comes to something that can involve risk especially for anyone under the age of 22, since facial and bodily features have not fully formed or developed yet. We are here to give you some counter arguments so that if you are considering either or both treatments, you have all of the facts. 

What is Botox?

Botox is an injectable drug made from botulinum toxin type A. This toxin is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This is the same toxin that causes botulism, (a life threatening form of food poisoning), its effects can vary, according to the exposure and concentration. When injected Botox blocks signals from your nerves from reaching your muscles, so a freezing occurs. This causes those muscles to stop contracting, and as a result it improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Botox is known to be a lot less dangerous, and involves less risk than fillers. Often specialists have reported that it is the therapeutic use of Botox which is used to treat these conditions:

  • Amblyopia ‘Lazy eye’ 
  • Eye twitching
  • Chronic migraine
  • Cervical dystonia (neck spasm)
  • Overactive bladder
  • Hyperhidrosis (overactive sweating)
  • Cerebral palsy

Which could be considered more dangerous due to the higher dosage. There can also be adverse side effects like extreme headaches, redness, swelling, drooping of your eye, longer term effects on the muscles, pain fever, chills, flu like symptoms, and facial paresis (paralysis).

A study shared with the Observer, proved that 1 in 6 users of Botox, had a bad reaction. More side effects include:  an uneven smile around the mouth, drooling, excessive tearing, extreme migraines, uneven brows, drooping eyelids. 

These side effects are caused by an unintentional reaction of the toxin on the muscles surrounding the areas that have been injected. They may take several weeks to wear off. In the most extreme cases you may find yourself having difficulty swallowing, breathing, speaking, seeing, loss of bladder control, general weakness. If this occurs you should seek medical attention. Being mindful that any injection close to the brain, procedure for a cure or not, must be acknowledged as a risk.

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers are a gel-like substance injected under the skin. Injecting filler into the face and hands can be used to improve face shape, combat the appearance of sinking or wrinkles, or volume loss in lips, cheeks, and face due to age. 

What is inside Dermal filler?

Hyaluronic acid, which is a sugar naturally found in the body. Calcium hydroxylapatite, a mineral and a major component of bone. Poly-L-lactic acid (PLLA), a biodegradable, synthetic material. 

Using dermal fillers requires a specific consent form before undergoing the procedure due to the complications and risks involved. In very rare cases, the filler may accidentally be injected into your blood vessels instead of under your skin. This can actually block blood flow. If your skin is affected, you can have wounds or scaring, or even skin loss.  An affected eye can actually lead to the loss of eyesight, with a risk of going completely blind. 

Dr Lou Sommereux clinical director at Cosmex Clinic, advises that "If not used correctly, Botox and fillers can be extremely dangerous and even lead to permanent facial paralysis. This is because filler can move away from the intended treatment area, blocking blood vessels and leading to tissue death and or even permanent blindness."

Understanding that there are already risks involved when it comes to injecting fillers, but without a certified specialist it can be a lot worse. The FDA and Health Canada are now advising people that injecting dermal fillers with needle-free devices – known as the Hyaluron pen - is not a safe option. Users on Tiktok have caught on to this trend and it is spreading like wildfire. The trend involves users filming videos injecting the pen into their lips, which has been considered a danger. The FDA warned further that you must not use a dermal filler without a prescription, or a qualified Dr who has studied the human body, and knows the impact it can have. 

 “lip and facial filler products sold directly to consumers online may be contaminated with chemicals or infectious organisms.”

More than this, fillers can migrate to cheeks, eye bags, and other unwanted areas. It can also lead to allergic reactions, if not placed properly. 

How can you determine who is certified and safe?

When it comes to your face, we can't emphasize enough, don't trust anyone! Botox injections, or Dermal filler can only be prescribed following a face to face meeting with a medical practitioner. Anyone ready to work on your face or anywhere else before meeting you, is one giant red flag. Any qualified medical practitioner includes doctors, dentists, pharmacist prescribers and nurse prescribers. Ask to see their certificates and qualifications before jumping in, especially if they offer you a good price. 

It has been advised that the age limit to get Botox or Dermal fillers is no younger than18 for legal and safety reasons. Quick fixes for body hang ups, although deeply understood, could be the cause of greater problems later on. Give your body the time it needs to develop, you might be pleasantly surprised at how you feel about it then. Viral trends are just that, a flash in the pan trend, it might be big lips one day, bushy brows the other, then the no filler look the next. Trends consistently change, we will always be left behind, when we are constantly trying to keep up.

Dr Sommereux, often turns away clients that want unnatural work done, as the fillers can change the dimensions of the face, especially since the face hasn't fully formed at 18, while fillers may look fab now, they will cause the skin to sag and stretch in the long run, causing the vicious cycle in always needing more to sustain it. It actually tends to age a young face for this reason.

Your natural, original features last forever, timelessly because they are original. We can't advise you against using something so popular, and widespread, nor can we preach the self love spiel when it is literally chucked in our faces day in day out, in how we can always look better. We can only advise you to be patient, smart, and strategic about it, so that you may seek the best tailored advice for you from a trained specialist, in a safe manner, with the right knowledge.

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