Going Under The Needle

Beloved of Hollywood beauties – the magical time-reversing effects of injectable dermatological fillers are well known. But is getting Botox in Shanghai safe? What brand should you use and how much does it cost?


The idea of injecting botulism into one's face is naturally going to be unappealing to a large percentage of people. But recently, as we have seen more and more friends arrive at parties fresh-faced and visibly younger looking, this botox concept is starting to grow on us.

“So many people have asked me where I am getting my facials done, or whether I am doing more yoga”, one friend explained. “The truth is, I haven’t worked out in months!”

What To Inject?
In Shanghai, there are several different kinds of injectables available to temporarily eliminate what doctors call “static lines” – or the wrinkles that don’t go away when you stop smiling or otherwise change expression.

If it’s Botox you are looking for, most reputable clinics will offer both an American brand (Allergan) and a Chinese version (Hengli). The Chinese brand is almost half the cost (at an average of RMB 1200, as opposed to RMB 2000 for Allergan). Reports are mixed in terms of quality, with some doctors we spoke to saying the quality and effects are basically the same, while women who have tried both swear the Allergan lasted significantly longer than its Chinese counterpart. In general, you should expect one round of Botox to last for between three and six months.

While Botox works best for fine lines, moderate and more severe lines are more effectively treated with Restylane, a dermal filler composed of hyaluronic acid. Priced at around RMB 4000 per 1ml syringe, this treatment often requires deeper injections than Botox and so most reputable clinics will advise you use a mixture of Restylane with Lidocaine, to help with the pain.


Need To Know
As with many industries in China, cosmetic procedures are largely unregulated, which leads to a large number of spas and clinics with unscrupulous and often untrained practitioners using inferior products to enhance their own financial gain.

According to statistics released by the China Consumer Association, an average of 20000 complaints are filed against cosmetic surgery practitioners each year, and in the past decade, failed cosmetic surgery procedures have left a total of 200000 people disfigured. Internet news portal, Zhejiang Online, reports that in 2011 alone, a total of 5000 failed cosmetic procedures were reported in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province; 3000 of which were caused by cosmetic injections.

Ask the clinic to show you the packaging of anything that is to be injected into your face, which might help you decide whether it’s an approved brand or not (though with China’s penchant for top quality copies, it can be hard to tell). Other tell-tale signs of a disreputable clinic include a lack of cleanliness and unrealistically low prices. The reason people always say, “You get what you pay for”, is because you do.

Not Ready For The Needle?
The next best thing to Botox is microdermabrasion, a non-invasive facial procedure which uses aluminium crystals or diamond particles applied via a high-velocity jet of air to take off the top layer of your skin, revealing a glowing new layer underneath.

SkinCity offers a Diamond Microdermabrasion treatment for RMB 898 per treatment, with a typical treatment protocol involving something like six treatments, each a couple of weeks apart.

Where To Go?

Shanghai East Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic. 3/F Shanghai East Hospital, 150 Jimo Lu, near Pudong Da Dao, Lujiazui. Tel: 5876 4134. Web: www.eastplasticsurgery.com

Ye Medical Center. 1165 Hongqiao Lu, near Yan’an Xi Lu. Tel: 6208 8088. Web: www.yemedical.com.cn

WorldPath Clinic International. 399 Nanquan Bei Lu, near Shiji Da Dao. Tel: 2020 7888. Web: www.worldpathclinic.com

Bioscor International. No. 5, Lane 89, Xingguo Lu, near Hunan Lu. Tel: 6431 8899. Web: www.bioscorchina.com

Skin City 5.5. 476 Dagu Lu, near Shimen Yi Lu. Tel: 6340 1235. Web: www.skincity55.com