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Cosmetic Injectables: What are the regulations?

Cosmetic Injectables: What are the regulations?

It’s no lie that the cosmetic injectables industry is booming. It seems like every other post on Instagram is a beautician or practitioner plugging the newest aesthetics treatment, and with some people charging as little as £100 for 1ml of filler, it’s certainly tempting. When you dig a little bit deeper however, you might find out that the person who says they’re trained to administer cosmetic injectables, is not in any way a medical professional.

This can be disastrous for many reasons, not just the fact that someone could suffer from permanent scarring as a result of an unregulated injector. It’s important to always do your research when considering filler, after all, you wouldn’t go to a cosmetic surgeon who’d never been to medical school, so why take the risk with filler?

The non-surgical Industry

In the UK, the non-surgical industry is worth around £3.6 Billion, with Botox and fillers accounting for 90% of the treatments performed. It’s been subject to a stratospheric rise in the past few years, mainly thanks to celebrities, and social media, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. What needs to be emphasised about the non-surgical industry in the UK is that it is almost completely unregulated, meaning that you can buy filler from the internet, and administer it to your friend, with no consequences. What’s worse, is that you can do this for profit, and it’s all completely legal.

Are there any laws?

In short, no. In 2021 a law was passed making it a criminal offence to administer Botox or filler to anyone under the age of 18, and that’s about it as far as injecting the product into a patient. There is some regulation on Botox however, as it’s a prescription only drug, which means that it should be relatively hard for non-medics to get a hold of, but in reality, all they need to do is partner up with someone who has the qualifications to write the prescription on their behalf. It’s surprising that an industry which is so centred on hygiene and has otherwise strict regulations has seemingly been forgotten about under the law, and as it stands, only procedures which require an incision need to be carried out by a licensed medical professional.

When seeking out a practitioner to do filler or Botox, many people assume that the non-surgical industry is held to the same standard as other forms of medical practice, and it should be. All the risk lies with the patient, there is very little that protects them from rogue injectors, and unlicensed beauticians, no matter how many “accreditations” the administrator has.

Protecting Consumers

So, what can be done to protect patients who are looking to get aesthetic treatments done? Back in 2013, it was recommended that all practitioners should be fully qualified before carrying out these kinds of procedures, and that there should be an ombudsman to oversee cosmetic procedures to help those who have had a bad experience. Unfortunately, the government rejected the idea of having a register for practitioners, mainly down to them not wanting to fund something that is elective, especially while the NHS is struggling. So where do we go from here?

The best thing for consumers to do is make sure they diligently research the person that they want to administer these treatments. Ensure that they have a medical license and are actually accredited by looking at websites like Save Face or the JCCP. Never be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be afraid to say no.

In this line of work, there’s no hiding mistakes. It goes without saying that Botox and Filler carry a lot of risk, and can cause lasting damage if not done correctly, which is why it’s imperative that your first choice should be with someone who has the right medical training, and has a good reputation. Don’t waste your money on going to someone who could cause damage to your face, after all, you may end up spending more on getting their bad work corrected.

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