Jessica M. hated the small, brown mole just above her right eyebrow. She didn’t have health insurance, so she couldn’t see a dermatologist about it. So she did the next best thing: She sliced it off herself with a leg razor.
Jessica got more than she bargained for: She ended up in the hospital and now bears an ugly scar where her mole once was. But as dangerous as it sounds, home plastic surgery is increasingly common. The dour economy has made many people desperate to save money every way they can. Cosmetic surgery is no exception. In fact, a quick search on the internet reveals a slew of kits and instructions on how to perform cosmetic procedures on yourself. But resist the urge to purchase any DIY cosmetic procedure kits, as they can be extremely harmful. Read on for a list of common home cosmetic procedures, and why you should stay far, far away from them.
Home Mole Removal
There are several online companies that sell home removal kits in the form of highly potent creams. They claim that, once applied, the creams will fade moles overnight.
Though this may be true, there are several serious risks involved. First off, before tampering with a mole, you should always have it looked at by a dermatologist to rule out the possibility of skin cancer. It’s very difficult to distinguish between a cancerous mole and a benign one, so you shouldn’t ever attempt to self-diagnose.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, applying such a potent cream can lead to scarring, irritation, and infection. When a mole is removed by a dermatologist, the doctor takes special care to ensure that there is as little scarring as possible. For an inexperienced person attempting to remove a mole at home, mistakes such as removing both the mole and skin underneath can occur. This can lead to unsightly scars that are indented—not to mention permanent—and which may require surgery to be corrected.
Rather than taking a risk with a home mole removal kit, you should visit a dermatologist for an initial consultation. Your dermatologist will be able to check the mole and suggest which removal method is best suited for a particular mole.
Home Chemical Peels
The dangers of home chemical peels seem pretty evident: third-degree burns, unsightly peeling, scarring, not to mention a host of other effects. Yet plenty of people still purchase home chemical kits hoping to get medical spa results without the hefty price tag. Home chemical peels admittedly do seem enticing – glycolic acid is one of those fruit acids that effectively exfoliates skin. Concentrations up to 15 percent are commonly found in cosmetics. For the most part, these lower concentrations are fairly harmless.
You start getting into the danger zone, however, when you purchase higher percentages of glycolic acid. 70 percent glycolic acid is potent enough to cause major skin loss, especially if you use a buff pad or microdermabrasion before the peel. Using such a high amount of acid can result in uneven pigmentation, scarring and major skin infections.
The most dangerous acid, though, is trichloroacetic acid (TCA). At 50 percent concentration, TCA can do some serious damage—indeed it’s strong enough to cause permanent scarring in many people. TCA peels are considered to be difficult peels even for skilled dermatologists to achieve good results, and pigmentation problems are common afterwards.
The message to take home: Though glycolic acid in small concentrations is fine to use, make sure to steer clear of any DIY chemical peel kits that contain acids in higher concentrations. Fooling around with higher-concentration acids will put you at serious risk for scarring and infection.
Home Botox & Wrinkle Fillers
These DIY beauty kits might be the most dangerous of all. Whatever you do, stay far, far away from self-administrations of Botox and other wrinkle fillers. Such DIY kits go from scary to plain illegal. These substances are controlled by the FDA, so the only way anyone can sell them on the internet is by either bringing them in from outside the country or by selling counterfeit products. Either way, you can find Botox kits on the internet equipped with syringes to inject yourself. Self-administering Botox is extremely dangerous, and can result in facial paralysis, scarring and infection. So whatever you do, avoid Botox and other wrinkle-filler DIY kits.
Botox parties are also a very common and dangerous way to receive anti-wrinkle treatments. They might seem like a comfortable and relaxing way to get Botox treatments, sometimes at a reduced rate, but a Botox party might not have measures in place to ensure safe and effective treatments. You should also keep in mind that drinking alcohol before getting Botox injections, a likely possibility at a Botox party, can increase your tendency to bruise afterwards, and it can also prevent you from fully understanding the risks and benefits of Botox treatment. Most experts recommend having cosmetic procedures, including Botox injections, in a doctor’s office – not at a party. Next time you receive an invitation to a Botox party, turn it down!
There are more DIY cosmetic procedure kits out there on the Internet. Steer clear of them. In fact, steer clear of any self-administered home procedures that would normally be done in a doctor’s office. Purchasing and using any DIY cosmetic procedure kit could result in serious complications, including scarring, infection, paralysis and permanent damage to nerve endings. In the end, it’s not worth risking your health…or your beauty.