Brazil Offers Free Botox and Chemical Skin Peels to Its Poorest—Good or Bad Idea?

Want free Botox? You'll have to move to a favela to get it. The Associated Press reports from Rio de Janeiro that Brazilians who make less than $250 (or appoximately 555 Brazil reais) are now being offered free Botox injections, laser hair or acne removal treatments and chemical skin peels, all thanks to the Brazilian Society of Esthetic Medicine. (On the plus side, nutritional counseling is offered gratis as well.)

According to the organization's spokeswoman, Isabel Alvarez, some 10,000 brasileiros have already been treated. Alvarez explains to the AP that this program is a win-win situation for everyone, because doctors-in-training can get extra practice on cosmetic procedures while their nation's poorest people can enjoy treatments that they could otherwise never afford.

While that all sounds very well-intentioned, has anyone in Brazil examined why free Botox for low-income citizens might be a not-so-great or say, psychologically damaging, idea? And here's a thought for U.S. doctors--we're in a recession, and 20% of our country's population already lives in poverty. Why didn't we think of this first? (Kidding...sort of).

Readers, what do you think of Brazil's free Botox plan? Is it a symbol of how cosmetic procedures have run amok (particularly in Latin America)? Or is it just a nice way of providing accessible treatments for those who want it? Let us know in the comments.

--Monica Herrera