$9 A Unit Botox: Deal or Dupe?


Dr. Herzog explains what you need to know in order to determine if a $9 a unit botox offer is a deal or a dupe.

A friend of Dr. Jo’s recently asked her about a deal being advertised at a local spa. Dr. Jo’s answer is below and is quite helpful to anyone considering a botox “bargain.”

Dr. Jo Herzog dermatologist Family SavvyQUESTION: Is $9 a unit Botox a bargain?

ANSWER: Someone approached me with this question yesterday after having taken advantage of what she thought was a botox deal. I thought that it was a perfect question to share on Family Savvy to help readers be informed consumers of cosmetic products. By learning what to ask, what you really need, and how to analyze “deals,” you can avoid being taken advantage of (and might get a good deal in the process).

The first thing to remember is that nobody is giving you something for nothing. If you are seeing an experienced doctor, he or she should expect to get reasonably paid for specialized services. Ask yourself if you are being offered a bargain so that you might purchase something else, or if you are getting something that is not quite what you will need? Read on.

My first question to this person inquiring about botox was “How much did you have injected?” I will not tell you the exact amount, as it might violate her privacy. I will say, however, that the amount injected was far more than I would have used on her and more than I think she needed.

The second important point is that you need to know how much botox you actually need to achieve desirable results. You should know how much you want to use and discuss this with the doctor before you are injected. This is not possible for first timers but most bargain hunters are not novices. Once you have a face full of toxin, it is yours. Discuss whether you want no movement or some movement. Do you want your eyebrows lifted and/or crows’ feet injected? All of these determine exactly how much botox you’ll need.  Beware of being over treated when faced with a “deal” as this is a way that some places, especially spas, make up the difference in earnings.

You also want to know the doctor’s experience and reputation. Nothing is a deal if you come out looking like a mess!!!  Even though botox will wear off in three to four months, living with results such as drooping eyelids or brows or a spock-like appearance are not desirable.  Only by experience with the doctor’s character can you trust that you are really getting all of the units that you paid for.

In Summary: The person that asked me about the deal was injected with almost twice as much Botox as I would have used on her. IF she really had that much injected, she will have a very full effect (stiff and unnatural) and an increased risk of side effects such as brow or lid droop from over injecting. She probably will not get a brow lift unless most of the botox was injected around her eyes. She had no wrinkles there, so that would be a waste. She spent way more then she would have spent if she went to a more conservative doctor at $12 a unit. In addition, she increased her risk by using a doctor with whom she had not built a relationship of trust. So, in my opinion, she did not get a deal at all.

This patient COULD have gotten a deal had she been informed and asked specifically for what she needed. For example, she could have said, “I want X amount of units, and I want them used in Y areas.” By using just what she needed where it was needed, then she could have gotten a deal (provided that the Botox was injected well).

In a nutshell: Beware of being over dosed and of being injected by someone with little experience. The placement of toxins is an art and should not be learned at a weekend course and done with same pattern for every patient.

Hope this helps you be an informed and savvy consumer and maybe get a deal in the process.

Be well,

Dr. Jo

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