Working in the aesthetic and anti-ageing industry has taught me a lot, not least the value of a healthy skincare regimen. Once-upon-a-time going to bed without removing my make-up, or just a quick scrub with a facial cleansing wipe was the norm, I now know the value of cleansing, toning, and moisturising, as well as a good eye cream and facial serum.
It has, however, also taught me to be sceptical of new product launches with marketing gimmicks claiming to be botulinum toxin ‘in a tube’ available in supermarkets and over-the-counter.
Certainly, the aesthetic and anti-ageing industry has been full of buzz and excitement at the prospect of topical botulinum toxin formulations for a number of years. A variety of formulations of topical botulinum toxin A (BoNTA), and substances that claim to have BoNTA-like actions have already entered the market and/or are currently in development, with phase III trials under way.
Depending on the outcome of these trials, topical BoNTA will turn the entire industry on its head, but much of the data currently available is vague or limited to a single aspect of BoNTA. Despite this, my concern with over-the-counter and supermarket-bought products which claim to be ‘Botox in a jar’ is that they are highly misleading to the public, who will begin to question these claims, and the industry as a whole, when they don’t see the effects they might expect or desire.
Furthermore, formulations of botulinum toxin are drugs and not take-home products, and should therefore never be compared to a cosmetic skin cream — no matter how good that skin cream might be.
I am deeply concerned that ill-thought through marketing gimmicks still seem to dominate headlines and the industry, despite many groups and societies lobbying against this. It is important that the cosmetic industry also follows suit.
As professionals, we can ensure that our patients are fully educated — a healthy (cosmetic) skincare regimen will always have its benefit, but at the present time it cannot replicate aesthetic treatments, and they should not be considered to be the same type of treatment option.