Yes, you read that headline right. Raise your eyebrows all you like - or not, my injected friends.
When I first told my travelling companions about my plans to get a little ‘Vitamin B’ on our short trip away, the reactions were just as I expected.
What? Huh? Really? Why?
Why? Because it’s around half the price.
The responses ranged from borderline disgust to mild concern, though there was a hint of something else among my fellow double X chromosomes - curiosity.
For the uninitiated, Botox is short for BOtulinum TOXin, one of the deadliest substances known to man. In the wrong hands, it can cause paralysis or death. Leaving the death stuff aside, the paralysis is what makes it appealing for cosmetic use.
Trained technicians inject a medical grade Botox, known as type A, into certain muscles in the face to stop certain movements. The idea is that if you can’t frown, you can’t get frown lines. Boom, no wrinkles... though it does make arguments rather awkward.
Now, I might be crazy and I might be vain, but I’m not stupid. I’ve also had Botox many times before so I had some idea of what a suitable cosmeceutical environment should look like.
The place I had picked out looked like a GP clinic and I had assured myself (and my other half) that if I got there and any part of me was hesitant, I’d be straight back out the door and tucking into a nasi goreng.
My ever patient partner caught a cab with me to Cocoon Medical Spa in Legian. I met with Dr Jeanny (a former emergency and intensive care unit doctor) and told her what I was after. Like they usually do in Australia, she asked me to contort my face every which way before agreeing to give me an AHA peel and enough Botox to freeze part of my forehead and around my eyes.
Unlike my experiences in Australia, she iced the treatment areas before wiping them down with an alcohol swab. She then presented me with a sealed syringe and vial of the good stuff, which she insisted on opening in my full view. She even pointed out the sound the vial made upon opening, which was sort of like a cracking a can of soft drink. Or Bintang (when in Rome...).
Once the procedure was done and dusted, I told Dr Jeanny that I was hoping to write an article about my experience and wanted to ask her a few things - totally no problem.
So, why is it so cheap? According to Dr Jeanny, some clinics in Australia use a ‘designer’ brand of Botox, whereas the type they use is akin to a ‘generic’ version of a drug you might be offered at a pharmacy. Also, she told me that the drug was relatively cheap to import into Indonesia and, like many other things, the day-to-day costs of doing business in Indonesia seemed to be a lot less.
As for the result, it was exactly the same as every treatment I’ve had in Australia.
What about the clientele? Let’s just say that at 27 years old, I am certainly not the youngest client she had seen and the average seemed to be women in their mid to late 20s.
A word of warning, though. Just because everything worked for me (and I would happily visit that particular clinic again), it might not for everyone else, so doing some research is crucial.
Something I didn’t consider was insurance. The cheap and cheerful travel insurance I had for my trip wouldn’t have covered me if something did go wrong. Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll definitely look into that.
Have you had a cosmetic procedure overseas? Would you? Tell us in the comments below.