The Xeomin Challenge: injecting enlightenment about neurotoxins into the beauty conversation
Through the Xeomin Challenge, taking place in several cities across the US, newcomers, early adopters and devotees of neurotoxins (a.k.a. fillers or injectables like Botox and Dysport) have a special opportunity to get a great deal (20 units for US$99) on a refreshed look as well as an education about what neurotoxins do and how they work.
In this programme, a collaboration with Xeomin manufacturer Merz Æsthetics, participants will get to experience the benefits of Xeomin work in a safe environment with physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants who have extensive experience in injectables. Dr Jay Park, Cosmetic Medical Training & Entrepreneur in Residence at University of California at San Diego (his Alma Mater) is spearheading this multi-city project to show that fillers can be safe and affordable, but work best when the patients are well informed.
‘What sets us apart is the cost, and getting the same, if not better, results for half the price,’ said Dr Park, in an interview for UCSD’s Innovation and Commercialization website. ‘This is an offer that we think customers will be jumping for once we have been successful at creating the brand awareness of Xeomin. Brand-wise, I’m most proud to stand behind a product that I truly believe in and know works. It’s easier to get behind a product that you truly believe in yourself.’
Dr Park, who describes himself as a ‘serial entrepreneur’, notes he’s always been interested in fixing things or solving problems. While his full-time job is in start-ups in the æsthetic medicine field, he still works part-time in emergency medicine.
‘Disaster medicine is another passion of mine,’ he continued. ‘I had the misfortune of working at Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC on 9-11, which sparked my interest in disaster medicine. I’ve volunteered for Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the Haïti earthquake and most recently in Greece with the Syrian refugees crisis. I didn’t suffer from “medicine burnout”, but I just didn’t want the traditional medical career path.’
In this study, Dr Park notes that most patients will see the full effect three to seven days after the injections, and muscle relaxation may last up to three months. An earlier clinical study that tested Xeomin versus other botulinum toxin in the frown lines concluded that Xeomin demonstrated a more rapid onset and a longer duration of treatment effect than other botulinum toxin.
As Dr Park notes, savvy participants will have a few questions before enrolling in the study, he took some time to speak with Lucire Rouge about injectables, his work with the Xeomin Challenge and what they can expect should they qualify.
Lucire Rouge: How does your past experience and present knowledge of filler-related procedures inform how you interact with your patients responsibly?
Dr Jay Park: Beauty is a very subjective topic. Many of my patients ask me, ‘What should I have done?’ I never answer this question as an anti-wrinkle injection is something that one wants, not needs. Early in my career, I answered this question to a patient when I pointed out something minor that she had never noticed before. Immediately, she became fixated on the minor asymmetry. Realizing what I had caused in her, perhaps worsening her insecurities, my heart sank. There is a fine line between wanting to look your best and having body dysmorphic disorder. It is our responsibility as medical professionals to be conscious and to say no to someone that we suspect has an unhealthy obsession.
How did the concept of the Xeomin challenge start?
Currently, Botox commands the majority of the botulinum toxin market share in the USA. There are three other FDA-approved cosmetic neurotoxins: Dysport, Xeomin, and Jeuveau. Since we had great success with patients who switched from Botox to Xeomin, we wanted to get the word out. Currently, our practice receives bulk purchase discount pricing from Merz, the manufacturer of Xeomin, so we decided to pass on this savings to our patients to try something new.
From a consumer perspective, what is Xeomin’s advantage over Botox or Dysport?
Currently, there is not a large population clinical trial testing Xeomin versus Botox versus Dysport. But, generally, the literature states that all three are similar in efficacy and safety. The biggest benefit of Xeomin is that its purification manufacturing process removes unnecessary proteins. I’ve had countless patients who told me that their Botox doesn’t last as long or doesn’t work any longer. When I inject these patients with Xeomin, they say that the anti-wrinkle effects of Xeomin work better than Botox.
What is the goal of the Xeomin challenge? How long will the project continue, and how often do you visit each city?
The goal of Xeomin Challenge is to find æsthetic early adopters. We consciously lowered the price offer so that this is not an obstacle. We launched in southern California, with many satellite locations throughout the USA. We partner with existing med-spas to jump-start their Xeomin practice. The project will continue as long as we are able to keep the price offer low and demand high.
Is one ever too young or too old to start getting injectables, and do you believe there is the benefit of starting younger?
There is a preventative benefit of starting earlier, [but] the exact age is up for debate. However, I want to send a message to younger patients and participants in this programme that anti-wrinkle injection is not at par with disease-preventing vaccines in a “preventative” category. You do not need preventative cosmetic procedures.
Have you seen an increase in popularity among men?
I’ve been injecting neurotoxins for over 15 years, and I have observed a growing population of men receiving neurotoxins. There is a meme going around about ‘bro-tox’. In our practice, there is a wide variety of men from the image-conscious types to ‘My partner dragged me in here.’
Will you add other products in the future?
Yes. Over 50 per cent of the patients that we are treating are asking when we will start fillers. We are currently in discussion with FDA-approved dermal filler brands to launch a similar challenge in the near future. Maybe US$299 per 1 cc syringe, so that price is not an obstacle again? Stay tuned.