The craze that started with the rich and unlined in the US and the rest of Europe, is finally catching on here in a big way, especially if German television is to be believed… A recent documentary on German national TV featured a Botox party arranged by a well-known local estate agent for her friends, who lounged by the pool, sipping champagne in between injections. It is easy to see why some may enjoy the party atmosphere if they are thinking of experimenting with Botox.
Firstly, it is not so clinical and for those who hate the sight of needles it’s harder to get squeamish when everyone else is having fun. Secondly, for those who are nervous of the treatment, it can be encouraging to see other people’s results and then have some hand-holding when it’s your turn. The main reason though is cost. Participants are usually offered a group discount because it is cheaper to share one vial of Botox between several people. This is because the drug should be administered within four hours after it is removed from the freezer and reconstituted.
But, while Botox parties might be the ones everyone wants an invite to, they are not actually legal here. Explains Mallorcan plastic surgeon Dr. Jose I Garcia Ceballos: “In Spain the use of Botox (marketed under the name Vistabel) is regulated by each autonomous community. The Balearic Government has a very specific document sent to every registered practitioner. Its use is restricted to glabellar lines (wrinkles between the eyes), on people aged no more than 65. Bottles cannot be shared between patients, the bottle has to be purchased from a specific pharmacy on the island, and any left over product has to be disposed of correctly.
“The Balearic Government has adopted a cautious approach, probably because they do not want to trivialise its use. While the drug has been used safely and effectively in the aesthetic field for over 15 years, some experts are still concerned that the long-term effects are unknown.
“While Botox might currently be a bit of a craze on the island, it’s certainly nothing new and I think it will only become increasingly popular as it can have amazing results. “Personally, though, I wouldn’t advise anyone to have Botox injected in a non-medial environment. The risks are increased, and there is a small chance of an allergic reaction. You may also feel persuaded into treatment and not get the right consultation.”
Predictably, women users on the island have had mixed experiences of the drug. One fan is Susanne Gabric the owner of Advanced Beauty in Palma who uses Botox herself and has seen some very good results on her clients. “I don’t recommend Botox on its own though. I think it is important to concentrate on the overall care of face, body and soul. Botox can paralyze the muscle and offers a quick fix, but it does not change the texture of the skin and this needs attention too. I once attended a Botox party in Australia but found it unprofessional. “I think it is a procedure that should be done in a clinic by an experienced doctor.”
But high-profile Deia resident, the author and women’s champion Lynne Franks, is reported to have suffered side effects including a drooped eye muscle when she had Botox injections in America in the late 1990s.
A hotel entertainer who did not wish to be named also did not enjoy her first experience. “I first had Botox two years ago and was left with the sensation of being slammed into a brick wall for about three weeks. I couldn’t frown for a while and could squint for about six weeks. The doctor admitted I had been given too much but I subsequently felt I’d got my money’s worth as it lasted nearly eight months. For me, it’s expensive and I do worry that we don’t know the long-term effects but my sister who is 14 years older than me is a frequent user and looks great for it. When we went out together recently we were asked who was older which made me rush back for a smaller dose, which boosted my self-esteem. I have to admit though that in both cases my husband didn’t notice any difference!
Dr Petra Rau, who has been using Botox at her clinic for about eight years, agrees that there has been a lot more interest in the product lately. However, she feels it needs to be treated with respect and not “celebrated in the kitchen”. “Used the right way Botox can have great results but every face is different and a good practitioner needs to study the client’s face and the way the muscles move. You can do a three-hour course on how to inject the drug, but if you go to someone inexperienced, you are more likely to end up with a mask.
“When I do an initial consultation I always find out what is bothering the client – often Botox is not the solution for that problem. My aim is not to stop the face from moving but to make it look relaxed and fresh and take away a worried look – like you have had a fabulous holiday. In this way my clients have a positive experience and feel that people relate to them in a more positive way.”
What is Botox?
Botox is short for botulinum toxin, the substance that causes botulism, a form of food poisoning that can be fatal. In small, diluted quantities, Botox is used to interrupt nerve impulses to the muscles in the face. It can also be used to treat sweaty palms and armpits.
Price depends on deepness of the lines treated and the dosage used. Expect to pay between €250 and €400 per brow.
How long does it last?
Generally Botox treatment lasts four to six months. Dr Rau has found that as people get out of the habit of frowning, subsequent treatments can last longer.
What age should I be?
Dr Rau says around 35 is a good age to start if you want to prevent a furrow developing. Otherwise between 40-50 you get great results. It is not effective on those over 65.
Side effects of Botox
Because the drug is so diluted, serious side effects are rare. Occasionally, the needle may puncture a blood vessel during the injection and a bruise may develop. Too strong a dose may result in the paralysis of nearby muscle, resulting in its temporary loss of function – for example a drooping eyelid.
You should not use Botox during pregnancy, if you are breast-feeding, or if you are taking certain medications. Do not massage the treated area as this can spread the Botox into another area.
Dr. Petra Rau’s, Tel. +34 971 13 50 07
Dr. Jose Garcia Ceballos, Tel.+34 971 254 686
Clinica Juaneda, Tel. +34 971 731 647