Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The dangers of mixing beauty and the internet

These days the Internet makes it so easy to find out, and then buy, just about anything. This is especially true in the case of beauty products and procedures. Visit any beauty forum and you are bound to find out about a new product that you previously had never heard of, and now must have. Then, with a few clicks of the mouse, this said product can be ordered, arriving on your doorstep in a couple of days . The ease of ordering, coupled with exceptionally fast turn around means that common sense rarely enters the equation. The majority of the time the only damage you are doing is to your bank account, purchasing products that are too good a deal to miss out on. But sometimes the damage done can be much more serious.

I was once nearly a victim of this. I had been wanting to try a Vitamin A cream for my face for a while as I had read that this was one of the best things to combat wrinkles. However, in Australia, it is a prescription only medicine. And rightly so - Vitamin A can be exceptionally harsh to your skin, so you need to start at the right concentration, and more importantly, excess consumption can cause birth defects so a Doctor would need to establish that you are not pregnant, or planning to fall pregnant in the near future, before prescribing the cream. I was too embarrassed to go to the Doctor to ask for a prescription for Vitamin A as I was worried that they would think that I was vain. So I just put it out of my mind - that is until until one day I saw on a beauty forum that you could buy it online cheaply from India. I was so excited! I rushed to the website to check it out, decided that the strongest concentration was the best value, went to buy it only to find that it was sold out. THANK GOODNESS! I had been so swept up in the idea of getting my Vitamin A cream that I hadn't factored in just what damage it could do to me. Yes I would have saved $15, maybe $20 buying it online. But then if it had destroyed my skin I would have lost so much more than just $$$.

The problem with the Internet is that information that is posted on it is not regulated. People can post whatever they like. And often falsities get spread around the Internet, being quoted from one person to the next, without anyone checking whether the information is in fact true. All it takes is one person to say 'Hey, I bought this product and it worked perfectly for me' for a bunch of lemmings to rush in and buy from the same site. Firstly, how do we know that the said person did actually use the product, and that they are not actually associated with the website, and even if they did use it, a lot of these products are not made in accredited labs; therefore, just because one product turned out to be safe, there is no testing to ensure that the rest will be.

My friend, Jo from Little Jo sent me the following article from News.com.au: Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia warns women against DIY facelift that really highlights the problems with buying unregulated beauty products online. The woman below bought dermal fillers and got her friend to inject them into her lips and cheeks. She now has abscesses on her cheeks that are going to leave scars and at this stage it is unknown whether her lips will ever heal. According to News.com.au the woman has asked for the graphic pictures to be released as a public health alert.

Her lips were left dramatically swollen.
Credit: Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia

This woman suffered infected blotches on her face after buying products online.
Credit: Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia
I thought that I'd repost these pictures as a reminder to think before you buy online. Yes, it is probably okay to buy make up and beauty products online, if you buy them from a reputable source. But as soon as you are tempted to buy something that ordinarily you can only get from a Doctor, don't risk it. There is a reason why it is only available from someone with 10 years+ of medical training. If you take the risk to save a couple of $$$ then this may be the result you achieve.