The application of botulinum toxin in hairdressers, by people without clinical training, is a risk that anyone who wants to erase “imperfections” but does not have the means to do so safely is subject to.
Chiara Pussetti coordinated the project “EXCEL – In search of Excellence”, developed by a multidisciplinary group of researchers from the Institute of Social Sciences (ICS) and the Faculty of Medicine (FM) of the University of Lisbon.
Over the course of five years, this team identified several irregularities, such as the sale in Lisbon of skin whitening creams, with prohibited substances, but also an ease in finding people who apply botox, without the training to do so.
“In our work we found that there is a lot of medical intrusiveness, the use of these injectable technologies by people who are not trained for this or who are not doctors, who are not dermatologists,” she said.
In an interview with the Lusa agency, the anthropologist said that it is the “much lower” price of this procedure, when performed illegally in hairdressers and dental offices, that determines the choice for those who want to get rid of wrinkles.
“It is a very serious problem”, she said, referring that more and more people are also ordering botox over the internet and applying it, following online tutorials and videos, in a practice called “Do it yourself” (DIY), with obvious risks to health.
“Today we live in a society where we can get almost anything we want in one click online. Therefore, we can buy botulinum toxin online, without any problem, to apply at home. And there are loads of tutorials and videos on YouTube,” she explained.
Financial possibilities determine the choices in this area: “A clinic on Avenida da Liberdade will never have the price of a clinic in Amadora, despite the treatment being the same”.
“Many people who turn to these 'low cost' solutions - such as industrial silicone, to create curves, and things that can enter the blood system and are extremely harmful to health - live in situations of precariousness and economic vulnerability".
They are therefore intended for “a public with low purchasing power. Anyone from a middle class, or upper middle class, with a minimum of purchasing power, prefers to go to the doctor and the guarantee of someone who, if there is a problem, knows how to provide a solution, how to help”.
“Availability at a very low price seduces many people. That's why I say that the search for perfection is extremely transversal, but it seduces many people whose income is very low and in which sometimes their appearance, beauty, body is the last resort to have some professional mobility”.