Botulinum Toxin: What Is Being Injected Into Your Face?

Botulinum toxin has been used for more than 30 years in both aesthetic medicine and as a treatment for many medical conditions. However, it is used extensively in aesthetic medicine for muscle paralysis (mainly in the face) and treating excessive sweating. 

Botulinum Toxin: What Is It?

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Botulinum toxin is produced from refined Clostridium Botulinum bacteria. This bacteria causes muscle paralysis in small doses. It is a safe treatment for several conditions:

  1. Migraines
  2. Eye spasms
  3. Cerebral palsy
  4. Stroke rehabilitation


Botulinum toxin is a schedule 4 medication and shouldn’t be injected by anyone other than your trained doctor or dentist. It should not be injected by beauticians, somatologists or any other person. According to both the Ethical Rules of the HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa) and the Pharmacy Act.

It is against the law to advertise Botulinum toxin by its trade names (Botox/Dysport) in this county. However, we are aware of doctors not only advertising Botox. But, also advertising specials on aesthetic treatments in general, which is another illegal practice.

Patients Must Expect The Following

1. An appointment with your doctor to discuss your concerns. Your doctor must give you a quote and a plan of your treatment. So that you are aware of how much the treatment costs.

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2. Your doctor must give you a consent form in writing that you both need to sign. It should provide you with alternative treatments, side effects, possible complications and the cost. The effect of Botulinum Toxin lasts from 12 to 16 weeks.

3. Your doctor must explain to you what products he or she is injecting. The only two registered injectables by the Medical Controls Council in South Africa are Botox and Dysport.

A number of illegal products can be ordered online. So ask your doctor to show you the bottle he is going to inject. If it is not one of the products listed, don’t complete the treatment.

4. Your doctor must take photos before and after the treatment.

5. The patient must follow the clear instructions on post-treatment given by the doctor.

6. You should have your doctor’s contact details. This is so you can discuss any concerns, side effects or complications immediately, if they occur.

You need to contact, to find qualified doctors in your area and members of the AAMSSA. (Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Society of South Africa).

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As a patient, you are unique and must be told about the differences in effect. Treatment also takes up to 14 days for the full effect. If you have any concerns you should follow up after two weeks, so that your doctor can fix any remaining concerns.

You need to be notified that there must be 90 days between treatments in order to prevent antibodies developing. This will also prevent the risk of your Botox not working in the future. You should confirm your doctor’s qualifications, training and experience before committing to any aesthetic treatment.

If you found this article interesting read, Ingredient Watch: The Latest Anti-Aging News.


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About the Author 

Doctor Cobus van Niekerk is a General Practitioner with a special interest in Aesthetic Medicine and Wellness. He is the President of the Aesthetic and Anti-aging Medicine Society of South Africa (AAMSSA) , recently obtained his Advanced Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine (Cum Laude), as well as owner of his own practice, Wellnessthetics.