DIY cosmetic surgery

I’m the type of person who likes to work with my hands.  That may well be one of the main reasons I became a plastic surgeon who performs cosmetic surgery. I like to think I use my brain also, but I get enjoyment from using my hands. When at home, I am forever tinkering with things in the house or garden, plastering, painting and fixing, and I am an avid do-it-yourself type of fellow. However, as the post below, supplied to me by the American  Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, shows, DIY may not be the best thing for cosmetic surgery unless you really are a board-certified plastic surgeon.  I certainly no longer do  complicated electrical or plumbing work! Mind you, I’ve tried in the past, but I always failed.

While the high cost of some plastic surgery procedures has caused some people to seek dangerous alternatives, such as using unlicensed individuals and potentially dangerous ingredients, others have chosen to perform them on their own at home, which also poses serious risks, say reports from ABC news and CBS Pittsburgh.

The low cost and ease of buying a do-it-yourself kit for a non-surgical cosmetic procedure such as microdermabrasion, laser hair removal or chemical peel is causing many to try these treatments out on their own. However, doctors warn that they may end up doing more harm than good.

Plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists are seeing an increase in the number of individuals who have had to endure pain and long-term skin damage due to Cosmetic Surgery Procedures Done at Home.

“We’ve had patients come in the day before their daughter’s wedding and done an at-home chemical peel and come in with second-degree burns,” a  cosmetic dermatologist told the news.

Experts say that although prescription-strength acids used for chemical peels can be found online and obtained without a prescription, consumers should avoid them.

“If you stumble upon a website selling prescription-strength retinoid, that should be a red flag and [you should] seek professional help first… because there are certain reactions that can happen and certain products you don’t want to mix together with those.”

Caution also needs to be used when attempting do-it-yourself laser hair removal, as misuse can cause burning, redness and scarring. In-office treatments are also likely to be much more successful.

“The companies say after five treatments you have a 50 to 70 percent reduction in hair growth,” an industry expert told ABC News about at-home laser hair removal. “I expect 70 to 100 percent from office devices.”

Permanent damage can also result from microdermabrasion kits and scrubs that promise to exfoliate the skin and produce a more glowing complexion. Over-scrubbing can result in pain and bleeding. “They start to think if a little bit is good, more is better, so, they start to do more for their skin and that can really damage the barrier function of the skin.”

Whether you want to restore a more youthful glow to your skin or get rid of unwanted hair, consulting with a licensed, board-certified cosmetic plastic surgeon is recommended in order to achieve the desired result and maintain safety.


  • Elena H says:

    While it is true that you can really screw yourself up if you perform a procedure on yourself without being well-informed about the possible risks, I’ve done chemical peels on myself at home without scarring myself – because I did my research beforehand.
    Many instances where chemical peels and other at-home procedures go wrong happen because people simply “jump into” things without doing research, patch testing before applying it everywhere, etc.
    Instead of telling people who can’t afford to spend a thousand dollars on non-invasive procedures that they just can’t have it done, it seems as if it would be more helpful to tell them to know what they’re doing and weigh the pros and cons before they do it. Because obviously, they’re going to try it anyway.

    Simply tell people not to be stupid about it. If they take a smart approach, people are perfectly capable of doing minor things themselves.

    • Thank you for your comments Elena. While it is true that there are some products on the market for home use and self-administration, I still think that medical grade products that have greater efficacy should be administered by trained personnel.

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