Cheap Botox? You get what you pay for

Cheap botox does not always have desired effect

Cheap Botox; You get what you pay forPeople looking for cheap Botox sometimes call our office to ask a ‘quick question’: “How much do you charge per unit of Botox?”

Our knowledgeable administrative staff often struggle to answer this simple question. Of course, not because they don’t know how much a unit of neuromodulator costs, but because those of us who are well trained know that this question is irrelevant.

Cost is one criterion, but this is your face, so how do you know ‘cheap Botox’ doesn’t mean ‘cheap product’ or ‘cheap work’? What impact would these have on your face?

The Real Cost of ‘Cheap Botox’

Fully qualified practitioners have invested heavily in two things that make them safe and economical:

  1. High quality products and equipment
  2. Extensive professional training which takes a long time!

The Questions You Should Ask About Botox

You have many choices when it comes to neuromodulator (Botox) treatments, but each possible practitioner on your list should be asked these questions:

  1. Is this real product being injected into my face? Or has it in some way been modified? Ensure the product is FDA approved and / or Health Canada approved and not diluted.
  2. What are the training credentials of the person injecting my face?

Cheap Botox question; What are the qualifications of the person injecting my face?

Unfortunately there are Diluted Products

If it’s not “the real” product, then what is it you ask? Neuromodulators – the medical name for wrinkle-relaxing injections of botulinum toxin A (Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, Nuceiva) are prescribed medications and as such require a licensed professional who has the ability to prescribe them.

Unfortunately, there are markets of unapproved versions of these products and medications that are potentially counterfeit, contaminated, ineffective, or unsafe. But sadly, this isn’t necessarily the worst-case scenario for a cheap product.

Dilution of product is a major problem in the aesthetic industry, and often triggers cheap botox. In the best-case scenario, the product has been over-diluted with something safe like sterile saline or water. But in worse case scenarios it may have been diluted in something unsafe for injection into the body. There have been cases of dilution of products with unsafe solutions such as baby oil, causing serious complications and even death. Over-dilution of neuromodulators such as Botox with saline can cause it to travel to other places after injection, leading to drooping eyebrows or eyelids, for example. It also means your treatment effect will not last as long.

Botox Training Takes Longer than a Weekend Course

The unfortunate reality is that there is very little regulation in the aesthetic industry for these types of treatments. Nowadays nurses and doctors can attend a weekend training course in injectables and become “certified” practitioners. These can be practitioners with no previous professional training in aesthetic analysis or anatomy or injections of the face.

As a double board certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who has spent 6 out of 15 years of my post-secondary education studying and operating on the head and neck alone, I can tell you that a weekend course is certainly inadequate training for such a big responsibility as injecting a product into someone’s face. All that training is why I avoid the use of cheap botox on my patients.

Would You Call Around for the Cheapest Haircut?

If we wanted to have beautiful hair, most of us wouldn’t call around looking for the cheapest hair cut in town. Yet many people don’t think twice about discount injections of their face which are medical procedures. All of these treatments carry great risks in the wrong hands. When it comes to your face, it’s important to have a facial evaluation and a treatment plan by a highly trained medical doctor to address your individual goals and condition. A specialist physician will create a customized plan for each patient as opposed to cookie cutter treatments. They will also be there if there are any problems or undesired results.

Online discount deals are not for customized treatments and often there’s no follow-up once the treatment is completed.

Cheap botox does not always have desired effect

In the wrong hands you can be paying for the wrong treatment that may not achieve your goals. Your treatment may look good at the beginning but may only last half the time of a proper treatment. Your treatment may cause facial deformities that can last for months. Or, you may have a dangerous substance injected into your face. No matter how little you paid for your treatment, all of the above scenarios are money not well spent.


And finally, all facial injections need to be done at a professional medical office with strict infectious control protocols. Hearing stories of people throwing used needles on counter tops and open waste baskets, or injections in homes with needles thrown into bags and purses makes us cringe each time. Used needles belong in an appropriately sealed sharps disposal container along with a multitude of other strict infection control protocols. Dirty Botox needles are no different than dirty drug needles.

Is a Cheap Result Worth the Price?

Injecting anything into your body requires research. When people call our office with a ‘quick question’: how much for Botox?’ we’re careful. Let’s face it: it’s your face, and you want it to look great. So first make sure it is high quality product that is being injected into your face, and then, make sure the people doing your assessment, treatment plan, and injection can show you their qualifications.


Dr. Hedyeh Javidnia MD, MPH, FRCS(C)

Author Dr. Hedyeh Javidnia MD, MPH, FRCS(C)

More posts by Dr. Hedyeh Javidnia MD, MPH, FRCS(C)

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Dr. Javidnia has been featured in Distinctive Women's Magazine and is a member of Ontario Medical Association, Canadian Medical Association, Facial Plastic Surgery & Reconstructive Surgery Academy and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.