Botox® Cosmetic hit the mainstream long ago, with the inevitable results. It’s readily available now from the offices of board-certified plastic surgeons to the local mall, with injectors ranging from those with medical degrees to people with few credentials. Not to mention that the usual alternative, counterfeit and other potentially suspect products are lurking around to tempt you.
So, how do you safeguard your health and your looks while shielding your wallet from an unnecessarily large hit? As always, the key is to know what you’re signing up for.
UNDERSTAND THE PRODUCT AND PRICING
It’s helpful to know that physicians purchase Botox as a powdered substance in 100 unit vials. The doctor adds sterile saline solution to the dry powder so it can be injected. Most physicians will add between 1 to 4 cc’s of saline, meaning that you’ll get 25 to 100 units of Botox if you purchase by the cc. Dr. David Verebelyi, a Colorado skincare specialist, suggests that a high potency solution, or 1-2 cc’s of saline per unit of Botox, tends to yield the best results. Ask about the potency of the solution and about how much solution will be injected, and you’ll know more about what you’re actually paying for.
Many providers, including Dr. Verebelyi, price by the unit of Botox—arguably the most straightforward way to know what you’re getting for your money. Generally speaking, Botox costs the consumer about $10 - $18 per unit, and most people need 25-60 units for one area of the face.
Other doctors price by the area treated, meaning you pay for “crow’s feet” or “forehead.” Some say this is the method patients find easiest to digest, but it’s understandable to wonder whether there are other motives behind this pricing scheme.
BYPASS SALONS AND MALLS
These days you can find Botox available at fitness centers, salons and even shopping malls. While it’s certainly possible to get a good result outside a medical setting, you’d be taking a chance. First, these facilities are not likely to be as clean and sanitary as doctors’ offices and licensed medical spas.