The Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia (CPSA) says a growing number of beauty salons and websites are breaking the law by offering botulinum toxin (botox) without proper medical oversight.
President Mary Dingley said the increasingly popular treatment was an S4 medication, which means it cannot be named in advertising and, under state and federal legislation, can only be prescribed by a doctor.
AdvertisementToo many clinics were flaunting these rules, according to the society, which has referred examples of possible malpractice to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
"The CPSA is aware of clinics offering people the chance to purchase treatments online with no suggestion of prior consultation or guarantee that a qualified doctor will be conducting the chosen treatment," Dr Dingley said. "This is of particular concern as there are a number of conditions where patients run health risks if botulinum toxin is administered."
Botox, an injection into facial muscles to "soften" the appearance of wrinkles, should not be prescribed during pregnancy. Patients with certain neuromuscular disorders may also be at increased risk of serious side effects.
It was highly improbable non-qualified people had insurance.
Obsessed with staying forever young and the belief that having full lips makes them more kissable, a new wave of young women, barely past their 21st birthday, are lining up to get a quick fix from Botox and injectable dermal fillers, a newspaper had reported a few months ago.
The consumer market is being flooded with a new generation of products which promise to plump up your pout and zap wrinkles at the prick of a needle.
Despite the procedures costing about $500 a pop and lasting an average of six months, addicts are happy to wear the financial costs for a regular anti-ageing quick fix.
Botox and dermal fillers are fast becoming popular lunchtime procedures for Australians. More than half a million minimally invasive cosmetic treatments were performed in Australia last year and this figure looks set to rise as more people opt for treatments to enhance their appearance, newspapers report.
While such procedures used to be the domain of over 40s, Dr Linda Williams, a Brisbane cosmetic medicine practitioner from Cozmedics, says she has a large client base of people in their 20s and 30s, particularly clients wanting to plump up their lips.
Williams's youngest patient is in her early 20s and her oldest is 90.
"Those aged 40-plus are into rejuvenation and problems, while the younger group in their 20s and 30s are looking for enhancement and prevention," Williams says.
"It's very acceptable now. Ninety-nine per cent of clients want to maintain a natural, fresh look."
And such is the craze for Botox treatment, now parties are being held where women get together to drink alcohol and receive Botox injections - a practice which has prompted the New South Wales Government to order a review of the cosmetic surgery industry.
In these types of parties doctors visit homes to administer the treatment to multiple patients in one go.
The Queensland Government must clamp down on "Botox parties" and misleading advertising by enforcing laws already in existence, it has been suggested.
Esthelis, or Essential Beauty with CPM, as it is branded, is the latest non-surgical procedure to be launched in Australia for use by cosmetic doctors.
It is a new technology, injectable gel, which promises to achieve smooth results while reducing the swelling and pain associated with injectable cosmetic procedures.
Tracey Lambert, a cosmetic medicine doctor from New Zealand, recently made the trip to Queensland to make the product available to local cosmetic medicine practitioners, including Dr Williams.
Lambert says 185,000 syringes of Esthelis have already been sold worldwide. She says Botox and injectable dermal fillers have become extremely common and safe procedures which are attracting an increasing, die-hard following from young and old.
"It's becoming seriously addictive," Lambert says.
"In the younger group, there's a very low tolerance - if they have one line they want it gone."
She says Botox and injectable fillers achieve even better results when used in combination.
Brisbane nurse Charlotte Wolfenden, 27, says she has been using Botox and dermal fillers since she was 25, to get rid of crows feet and lines on her forehead, as well as filling out her lips, which she says were too narrow.
Her husband, who is a builder, also uses them, as does her mother.
"It wasn't a big deal for us - I'm not saying it's not - but in my situation, no," Wolfenden says. "I think some people do go over the top with cosmetic surgery, but in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, you can enhance a really natural look."