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Are "Convenience Cosmetics" a Good Idea?

We’ve noticed lately that many hair and nail salons along with other beauty boutiques are offering a “one-stop” shopping approach to beauty products and services.  They offer packaged prices or other membership type discounts, and they attract many clients looking for convenience and discounts.  Hey, why not?  Everyone is strapped for time, and one-stop shopping can definitely help save on time, not to mention the convenience.

While there is nothing wrong with convenience and saving time, there are a few things to consider before jumping in on the convenience band wagon.  Just as you should think twice about buying that sushi from the convenience store on the corner, you should carefully evaluate the quality of services your salon or other retail providers might be offering.  Prices may be inexpensive but beauty and health are not like a pair of jeans you can return if you’re not satisfied.  Poor quality and technique in cosmetic procedures can produce catastrophic results.  Many have been left with lifetime disfigurement, health problems or even death because they let unqualified technicians or even “doctors” perform procedures on them.

I’m not making it up when I say that substances like automotive grade silicone, mineral oil, super glue, concrete and Fix-a-Flat type products have been used as substitutes for safe, quality products, typically used for certain cosmetic procedures.  It almost sounds like someone went to their mechanic for a butt-lift procedure!  Recently in Tyler, Texas a salon owner was arrested for injecting clients in the breast and buttocks with an unknown substance (suspected automotive grade silicone) and closing the incision sites with a super-glue type sealant.  No surprise, complications arose and charges were filed, but sometimes these providers stay under the radar and victims fall into their money making traps daily.

So what can you do to avoid becoming another victim of these questionable practices?  Here are the 3 questions to ask yourself:

  1. First and foremost, is the person doing the procedure, certified by a reputable board?  If you’re having anything injected into your body, it should only be done by a Registered Nurse, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, or Medical Doctor with experience in cosmetic procedures.  If a procedure is being done where an incision or anesthesia is involved, you should only have a Doctor Board-Certified in Plastic Surgery or Otolaryngology perform the surgery in a medical facility.  Anyone else may not have the knowledge and experience to properly perform the task at hand or address any complications if they arise.
  2. 2.       Do they use FDA approved products? If you’re having something injected into your body, you want to be sure it’s safe to be in your body.  Botox, Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse, and Sculptra are FDA products that have been meticulously studied and approved for cosmetic enhancement of certain areas of the face.  Ask to actually see the product and its label and watch them draw it up in the syringe.  If a provider refuses or is unable to tell you what material they are using, take that as a huge red flag and look for services elsewhere.
  3. Where will the procedure take place? Location, location, location! If it looks shady, it probably is.  You should feel like you’re in a clean, sanitary office.  Even a nice salon may be just fine for hair and nails, but is it appropriate for medical procedures?  A dark, dingy salon in a strip mall or private home should definitely raise serious concerns.  Any medical procedure, especially ones that involve something going into your body, should be performed in a medical office or medical facility that is sanitary and has resources available in case something goes wrong.  Even Botox “parties” should have a trained medical provider, like a doctor, PA or NP, available to perform and supervise the procedures especially in case something goes wrong.