A Turkish hospital is offering Brits free Botox in an attempt lure them to get budget ‘mummy makeovers’ in what campaigners say is a ‘new low’ in preying on women’s insecurities.
Ads linked to the Egemed Hospitals, a cosmetic and weight loss surgery clinic in Söke in western Turkey, have been uploaded to social media to tempt British women to go under the knife.
One ad from the clinic, featuring a woman holding a baby, invites women to ‘refresh’ themselves with £4,200 ‘mummy makeover’.
To sweeten the deal, the clinic is also offering a ‘gift’ of three treatments of Botox. But it doesn’t mention any of the associated risks from the prescription-only drug.
This Egemed Hospitals ad spotted on Facebook Marketplace offers a ‘mummy makeover’ for £4,200 and offers a gift of three treatments of Botox to sweeten the deal
Another ad, this time posted on Facebook directly repeats the offer
Botox is a prescription only medication in the UK, meaning it is forbidden from being featured in advertisements or being used in promotional offers to Brits.
Campaigners for safer cosmetic surgery told this website such ads were preying on the insecurities of new mothers and that more must be done to protect Brits from these kind of exploitative marketing tactics.
But UK advertising regulators said their hands are tied in many cases such as these, as they cannot act against companies based overseas.
It comes as increased scrutiny piles on how Brits are being lured to undergo risky cosmetic surgery overseas following the death of British woman died during a weight loss op in Turkey.
At least 22 Brits are known to have died in the plastic and weight-loss surgery hub since 2019 — either during or shortly after procedures there.
WHAT IS BOTOX?
Botox injections relax the muscles in the face to smooth out lines and wrinkles.
It’s not permanent — it usually lasts for around 3 months.
In the UK, the cost of Botox injections can vary from about £100 to £350 for each treatment, depending on the clinic and the area being treated.
Botox injections for cosmetic reasons are not available on the NHS.
The procedure, which usually only lasts 10 minutes, involves having botulinum toxin injected into the face muscles using a very fine needle.
It then takes around two to three days to start working and up to three weeks to see the full effect.
Side effects include, headaches, a frozen look, weakness in the face and bruising, swelling and redness where the needles went into the skin.
However, Botox can also be used to treat medical conditions.
These include abnormal contractions of the eye, conditions that cause muscle pain and stiffness —such as cerebral palsy — and excessive sweating.
Dozens more have required corrective surgery upon return to the UK, costing the taxpayer millions and taking up precious NHS resources.
Turkey has been labelled the ‘capital of butchery’ by some campaigners, with operations there costing just a fraction of the equivalent in the UK.
Dawn Knight, of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, a body dedicated to promoting good practise in the cosmetic industry, told MailOnline that the ads and offer of free Botox were a ploy designed to prey on new mothers’ insecurities.
‘It’s a psychological ploy, it’s piling on pressure on new mothers who are already under so much strain,’ she said.
She added that so-called ‘mummy makeovers’ often required extensive and sometimes risky operations all at the same time.
‘The fact that the adverts have young women holding young babies implies you should be having this treatment soon after [giving birth], which is just terrible and a new low,’ she said.
Ms Knight called for the social media giants hosting ads that promote prescription-only medications to do more against the companies and individuals posting them.
She added that the Government should also be more proactive in warning Brits about the dangers of going under the knife for budget surgery overseas.
Complimentary Botox is a common feature on many other ads bearing the Egemed Hospitals branding including those for weight loss surgeries and Brazilian Butt Lifts.
Other similar Egemed Hospitals ads also tout how they offer VIP transfers and luxury hotel stays as part of their treatment package alongside the free Botox.
Botox is a brand name for Botulinum toxin injections, which are used to relax muscles in face to smooth out lines and wrinkles. They can cost upwards of £100 in the UK.
It is a prescription-only medication in the UK which makes it illegal to advertise or be used in promotions.
An Advertising Standards Agency spokesperson said their remit only covers ads that are paid for specifically to target British consumers directly such as through targeted ads on social media.
Campaigners have called such marketing tactics a ‘new low’ that exploits the pressures new mums can experience post-childbirth
The free Botox offer is repeated for other procedures offered by the hospital such the a gastric sleeve weight loss procedure
A free Botox treatment is also offered with a Brazilian Butt Lift in this advertisement
While this can include businesses that are based abroad that pay for such advertising, so-called ‘organic marketing’ which are unpaid posts on social media are governed by the country in which the business is registered.
The risks of Botox treatments are small when performed correctly but, like any procedure, having a drug injected into the face is not risk free.
People can have their face ‘frozen’ if too much toxin is injected at one time, have areas of their face ‘droop’, experience blurred or double vision, and even breathing difficulties following injections.
Complaints over non-surgical cosmetic procedures, including Botox, recently hit a record high in the UK.
And Turkey was recently the site of a botulism scare triggered by the injections being used in a form of weight-loss treatment.
The condition, caused by toxins produced by bacteria that make-up the drug, can lead to paralysis if not treated urgently.
A so-called ‘mummy makeover’ is not a specific surgery but a package of operations designed to change parts of the female body, like the breasts, stomach, thighs, and genitals that have changed, or are perceived to have changed, following pregnancy and childbirth
British surgeons are growing concerned that the NHS is helping subsidise poor care overseas, with the bill costing the taxpayer an estimated £4.8million over the last four years
Cosmetic procedures in Turkey often go at bargain basement prices compared to their British counterparts. Turkey and UK prices have been sourced from multiple websites (model is a stock image)
From ‘extreme’ liposuction to so-called ‘virginity-repair’ surgery, there are a number of cosmetic procedures British surgeons steer clear of. But the same, risky procedures are still offered abroad, including in Turkey
The Egemed Hospitals version includes breast surgery, a tummy tuck, and two areas of liposuction.
As specific surgeries included in each ‘mummy makeover’ are tailored to what a woman specifically requests, price comparisons are difficult. But the more extensive packages in the UK can cost upwards of £10,000.
Egemed Hospitals was contacted for comment.
This ‘new low’ comes amid increasing concerns about Brits endangering themselves by going to ‘budget’ surgery clinics in Turkey.
While operations are not inherently riskier in Turkey some surgeons in the country will perform procedures deemed too dangerous or unethical in Britain.
Others will skimp on aftercare, according to campaigners and some surviving patients, which can leave people vulnerable to dangerous complications.
Earlier this month, MailOnline revealed the family of Carol Keenan, 54, who died after Brazilian Butt Lift surgery in Turkey, are still battling to get the results of her autopsy more than 11 months on.
Ms Keenan paid £7,000 to undergo the buttock enhancement procedure and a tummy tuck at a private hospital in Istanbul.
She also accepted an offer to get free abdominal muscle repair surgery shortly before she was taken into the operating theatre.
But Ms Keenan of Glenrothes, Fife, collapsed and died before she was due to have a final check up and fly home, just six days after her surgery.