I first wrote a blog about the new phenomenon of Teen-Toxing back in March 2010 when I highlighted the case of Sarah Burge, the self-proclaimed Human Barbie who was happily injecting her then 16 year old daughter with botuinum toxin, supposedly bought through the UK supply chain, but which was alluded to by other sources as having come from an online site.
Many within the industry, including new BAAPS President Fazel Fatah were shocked to hear of this development and said at the time;
“It is shocking to me, as an experienced surgeon, that anyone would buy from the internet and administer Botox into the face of a 16-year-old. Buying Botox or fillers online is extremely dangerous because the buyer has no idea of the source. The product could be contaminated or not completely pure.”
It was also reported that many teens had been discussing getting fillers and toxins as a preventative measure against ageing on online social networking sites and forums, with some going as far as lying about their age in an attempt to get treatment from reputable practitioners before they tried the online route.
This in itself is a very bad sign of the times. But as always, they like to go one better in America. This week, Chantalle Coombes from Aesthetic Academy who offer training in cosmetic injectables to UK practitioners showed me a piece in Closer magazine from earlier this month.
The story headlined, ‘I give my little girls Botox to make them beautiful’ is a disturbing account of a 41 year old woman in Texas who buys botulinum toxin and fillers off the internet and injects her 11 and 12 year old daughters! Yes, you did read that correctly, 11 and 12 years old. These children are barely starting puberty and their own mother is injecting them with unapproved, unvetted substances bought from who knows where and containing who knows what. She does this with no medical experience whatsoever, although notes that being a diabetic means she knows how to use needles.
After her daughters were chatting to some other teen girls about cosmetic injectables at a beauty pageant event and expressed an interest to her in getting some themselves, at which point most other parents would simply say “wait until you’re older dear you don’t need it now”, the mum, Jennifer Barnes went ahead and researched how she could get treatment for her girls.
Having tried to get them booked into reputable clinics in her area, only to be told that they do not treat under-16s and certainly not with Botox or fillers, citing the potential for permanent disfigurement in someone so young, Jennifer was undeterred and decided to simply do it herself. Her reasoning? In her own words she says;
“If that was the case (i.e., the risks explained to her by the clinics) they wouldn’t sell it on the net.”
Please! How naive can you be?
She insists that she is acting responsibly and justifies her actions in the article by saying;
“I don’t want my girls looking like me in their 40s. If they have injections now, as their skin expands so will the Botox – preventing lines.”
Somewhat misguided indeed!
She goes on to say;
“I tried the products on myself and had no adverse reaction. If anyone thinks I’m risking my daughters’ health I refuse to listen.”
Giving them a quarter of the recommended adult dose she feels she isn’t harming them and that she can then inject them more often as new lines and wrinkles appear!
Jennifer’s own friends and family are outraged at her actions and many have refused to talk to her.
So what do her daughters think? 11 year old Charlotte says;
“I consider myself lucky to have a mum who lets me have Botox. It’s cool.”
One wonders if she’ll have the same opinion when she’s old enough to make her own informed decisions about such treatment.
Some would call it child abuse. Some would say it’s the act of a naive parent who has the best interests of their children at heart and simply doesn’t want to deny them the things they ask for. Others would just call it downright stupid and irresponsible. I’ll leave it to you to voice your opinions but I know which camp I’m in!