‘Calf tox’ is the latest beauty craze, promising slim, contoured legs

'Calf tox' or 'calf Botox' involves getting botulinum toxin injections in your calves to slim them down. The technique is already attracting much interest around the world.

Botulinum toxin injections are continuing to be a booming business, having become one of the world’s most popular aesthetic procedures.

According to data shared in 2022 by IMCAS at its annual congress on dermatology and aesthetic and plastic surgery, these injections account for some 43% of all cosmetic procedures, ahead of hyaluronic acid injections (28%).

And there’s no end in sight, given the growing number of trends and techniques involving the toxin. This was recently demonstrated with crazes surrounding foot Botox, to relieve certain kinds of foot pain, Traptox, promising a slim, swan-like neck, or even Barbie Botox, creating the effect of a longer neck and sculpted shoulders.

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And there’s no end in sight, since the latest craze involves administering botulinum toxin injections to the calves to get slimmer, more contoured legs. The technique is getting a lot of attention on the Chinese social network TikTok, with over 2.6 million views already for the #calfbotox hashtag.

The rise of this hashtag doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘calf tox’ is being widely practiced, but it’s a sign of interest in the procedure and videos on the subject. Among those getting the most views are a host of before-and-after shots showing how these injections can slim the lower leg and remove the bulge formed by the calf muscle.

@blisspointlarchmont Replying to @Julia ♬ original sound – BlissPointLarchmont

According to the New York Post, which cites information from The Clifford Clinic, this procedure could lead to “pain and discomfort, swelling and bruising, allergic reaction, infection, and/or weakness and inability to exercise”. The news website goes on to quote the plastic surgeon, Andrew Peredo, who says that “applying Botox to your calf muscles to make them appear slimmer will temporarily relax the muscles by blocking out nerve endings. Everyday exercises can be affected by this. It could potentially affect your gait/stride, affecting the way you walk, run or jump depending on your anatomy.”

As you can see, it’s probably best to think twice before taking the plunge. As with any cosmetic procedure of this kind, it’s advisable to seek advice from a healthcare professional, and only proceed with injections if they are really necessary – rather than for purely aesthetic reasons.

In all cases, you should contact a certified professional, and avoid looking for such professionals on social networks, where you may fall prey to fake injectors – people who are unqualified and not authorised to perform botulinum toxin injections or administer fillers.

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