HSA warns against use of DIY aesthetic injectables at home, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

HSA warns against use of DIY aesthetic injectables at home

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is cautioning the public against using do-it-yourself aesthetic injectable kits, which have found favour among some people seeking a cheaper way to improve their skin.

These injectables, which include substances mimicking Botox and skin boosters, cost significantly less than getting a treatment at a clinic, and are often marketed as an affordable alternative to professional cosmetic treatments.

An HSA spokeswoman told The Straits Times that dermal fillers and botulinum toxin injections are health products that require HSA’s approval before they can be supplied, and should be administered by qualified medical practitioners for safety.

HSA has not evaluated the safety, quality and efficacy of these DIY kits, she noted. “They may contain unverified and potentially harmful ingredients, carrying the risk of contamination with toxic chemicals and infectious organisms.”

She said that inappropriate or incorrect administration of injections, coupled with the potential risk of injecting unknown substances in the face, can result in complications such as anaphylactic shock, severe infections, blockage of blood vessels leading to tissue death (necrosis), blindness and stroke.

From January to Friday, 200 listings of dermal fillers have been removed from local e-commerce platforms, the HSA spokeswoman added.

There are currently 35 different brands of dermal fillers and four brands of botulinum toxin injections registered with HSA. Anyone caught selling products without the appropriate licence can be fined up to $50,000 and/or jailed for up to two years.

On July 20, a woman reportedly went blind after she was injected with AestheFill, a dermal filler from South Korea that temporarily reduces wrinkles and folds in the skin, at a licensed clinic in Redhill.

HSA told ST in September that the blindness incident was the first such case in Singapore. The Ministry of Health is investigating the incident.

Following the incident, ST found that at least one merchant based overseas was asked to remove its sale listings of Profhilo, an anti-ageing injectable treatment that promises to improve skin tone, texture, hydration and overall radiance.

The seller, named Beiya Medical Beauty and said to be based in China, was offering a DIY Profhilo injectable kit on e-commerce platform Lazada for as low as $90, or less than 10 per cent of what one would typically pay at a licensed clinic here.

Beiya touted the simplicity of the procedure, its effectiveness, and the product’s “authenticity” from its supposed origin, South Korea.

But checks with Neoasia, the official distributor of Profhilo in Singapore, found that the product is manufactured in Italy, not South Korea.

A Neoasia spokeswoman said: “Profhilo is not available in South Korea. We are not certain of the source or content of the product that is listed. There have been reports of counterfeit Profhilo globally, where the syndicates imitate the real product (syringe, box, leaflet), but the content is not Profhilo.”

She said the company takes great care in shipping the product from Italy, where the product is stored in controlled temperatures.

The spokeswoman added that genuine Profhilo products do not feature any Chinese inscriptions, unlike those sold by Beiya. She added that the products sold by Neoasia have a unique QR code that leads customers to a validation page, thus ensuring its authenticity.

Dr Pek Chong Han, a consultant plastic surgeon at Gleneagles Hospital and Camden Medical, warned against purchasing any aesthetic product from unregulated sources as one cannot be certain of how it is made.

“If the product is sold as a DIY kit through an online platform, this would imply that the procurement, storage, and/or disposal of the injectable product is unlikely to be regulated. This may pose a possible risk from the unregulated therapeutic product itself, ranging from contamination, infection, being a non-efficacious product, and so forth,” said Dr Pek, medical director of Polaris Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The HSA spokeswoman said directions of use and claims made by DIY product sellers, such as “painless” and “no need to apply numbing cream”, have not been scientifically substantiated.

She also said some complications from injections are irreversible, and require immediate treatment by qualified medical practitioners.


Dr Pek, who has treated numerous patients with botched aesthetic treatments, said that even when injectables are administered by trained medical professionals, there will be some risks.

“Aesthetic injectables, usually used to improve or enhance appearance, should be regarded as medical treatment, and therefore, it should be done by trained medical professionals,” he added.

He advises those who are keen on such treatments to verify their online research with a trained medical professional through a proper consultation, and have a thorough discussion of the risks and benefits before proceeding with the treatments.