Is Your Botox Bogus?

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Cosmetic surgeons can tell you the horror stories: Every now and then, a shady doc sets up in a hotel room or at a private party and shoots people full of what they think is Botox . . . but ends up leaving victims with lumpy skin for life. How to protect yourself, other than going to a reputable spa or hotel? First, don't go for a bargain. Costs vary widely based on the amount used (younger people need less), says Dr. Roy G. Geronemus, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. Be wary of low fees-often you can't get real Botox for much less than $400 per area.

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Ask to watch the syringe being filled from the bottle, and make sure the bottle is labeled "Botox" and contains a hologram with the word "Allergan" (the manufacturer) on it. Any doctor can inject Botox (yes, even a gynecologist or ophthalmologist), but it's wise to get it only from a plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or dermatologic surgeon who uses it regularly, says Dr. Lee A. Gibstein. They know facial anatomy best and can give you the safest and most believable results.

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