MIAMI (CBSMiami) – As people continue to search for the “Fountain of Youth,” medical procedures designed to refresh and rejuvenate your face are gaining even more popularity.
In 2018, more than 7.44 million Botox procedures were performed. That was up 3 percent from 2017.
Kimberly Pratt gets Botox, but she doesn’t do it at the doctor’s office. Pratt has 425,000 page views on what she calls her “rebellious skincare” channel.
“My goal has always been just to share my experiences with things,” she said.
Her “how-to” videos are broadcast to the world.
This mom of four boys says you can save thousands of dollars by doing these procedures at home.
Pratt is one of the hundreds of “DIY injectors” out there.
She demonstrates how she buys these chemicals and the accessories online. The products, she says, are all available at the touch of a button.
The fillers come from China or the UK and they’ll show up on your doorstep within days.
“Some of those things are available on Amazon, eBay,” she said. “Some of them come from outside of the United States from different vendors.”
The injectables she buys online are not yet FDA approved. However, she claims, “just because some things are not FDA approved doesn’t mean they’re bad and harmful.”
“The FDA guarantees its potency, its purity,” said Plastic Surgeon Dr. Terry Zimmerman.
Dr. Zimmerman says these products can be anything, even vegetable oil, disguised as a legitimate filler.
“When you’re getting something through the mail from another country, you have no idea what you’re really getting,” Dr. Zimmerman added.
Sometimes they have horrific complications.
Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Christine Lee shared photos of three women who came to her after they bought injections online and used them at home.
One woman self-injected with a filler from China, which turned out to be fake. She got an infection and still has swelling and lumps.
Dr. Lee says she’s seen worse.
“Your skin can die and start falling off you can get horribly disfigured from that,” she said.
Pratt says she knows the risks.
“Whenever you do something when you’re opening up your skin you are opening yourself up to potential infection,” she said.
Pratt says she has no plans to stop.
“I think we can all stick our heads in the sand and say, ‘No, you’re not supposed to do it at home. These products shouldn’t be coming into the United States,’ but the truth is, that they are,” she said.
Doctors tell CBS4 News the manufacturing companies are at fault for selling these products to people without a medical license.
They say the bigger problem is that no one is regulating the industry.