DIY Cosmetic Products: Women Turn to Web

Lupo said her patient was lucky -- she "could have been permanently scarred if she had not sought out an expert."

Chemical peels "are nothing to play with. It is a lot more complicated than dying one's hair," said Lupo.

Medical professionals may be better qualified to administer injections and peels than the average Jane, but consumers should still seek out doctors with the most experience in such procedures, said Dr. Alberto Gallerani of Miami's Medici Institute of Plastic Surgery.

Gallerani helps patients who are victims of botched plastic surgery, often performed by doctors who are not qualified to perform certain procedures. He stresses the importance of choosing a doctor carefully, educating patients to "never select a surgeon based on price or special."

Gallerani says he often treats patients who have disfiguring lumps and bumps from fillers administered by unqualified injectors. Maryann Boger, the manager of his practice, says the emotional toll of these complications can be severe.

DIY Injectables: 'It's Not Worth It'

That emotional pain continues for "Alex," the paramedic who self-injected after ordering from She is recovering from her wounds, but warns others thinking about DIY injections: if you do it yourself, you have no one to blame but yourself.

"I look back at it and go, I'm a fool and it's my fault. I'm the one who made the mistake. It's not worth it. Don't try it yourself," Alex said.

Gold urges consumers to think of their health before their pocketbooks when it comes to cosmetic procedures.

"One of the things that we're committed to in treating our patients is to assure them of the safety and efficacy of the treatments that we're giving them -- to be sure that no harm is done to them, to whatever degree we can possibly prevent that, and to give them the best result that they can possibly have," he said.

Gold said Web sites like are "the antithesis of everything that we try to do." He said he hopes the sites draw "the attention of authorities who have the ability to put a stop to it."

Reached for comment via telephone, D'Alleva told ABC News, "It wasn't a scam. We weren't taking peoples' money and sending them bogus products. They were good products that worked. 99 percent of our customers were thrilled and we were always there if anybody had questions."

D'Alleva refused to appear on camera, saying she "didn't want to have to respond to questions" that she "might not know how to answer."

Last week, the Texas Attorney General's office charged D'Alleva with the illegal sale of prescription drugs, and now (and an affiliated website, are offline.

However, in an email sent Tuesday to her customers, D'Alleva promised that the "Medspa will reopen soon."

For information on cosmetic procedure safety, visit the Physicians Coalition for Injectable Safety's Web site.

Statements from Pharmaceutical Companies


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