Beware of the Botox! Complaints over non-surgical cosmetic procedures hit record high
- Complaints over procedures such as Botox have risen by 26 per cent since 2020
- There were 2,824 complaints made last year regarding unregistered specialists
Complaints over non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox have hit a record high, campaigners say.
Save Face, a national register of practitioners and clinics, received 2,824 complaints last year.
The figure, which includes treatment complications, is a quarter higher than in 2020.
The surge in complaints has raised concerns over the lack of public protection while a new licensing regime for the industry is implemented.
MPs want the policy to be introduced quicker.
Under current rules, an aesthetic practitioner in the UK doesn’t need any mandatory qualifications. It means that anyone can go on a training course and then be allowed to perform dermal filler treatments.
Save Face, a national register of rigorously assessed practitioners and clinics providing procedures such as Botox, received 2,824 complaints last year
However, calls to speed up the regime were rejected by the Department of Health and Social Care in February, sparking fears the regulation could take up to three years to be put in place, according to The Times.
This is despite complaints to Save Face increasing considerably, up from 2,436 in 2021 and just 2,083 in 2020.
Derma-fillers — which can cost in the region of £200 — made up 69 per cent of all complaints in 2022.
The procedure sees a substance, usually hyaluronic acid, injected into the face to fill out wrinkles or make lips and cheekbones look bigger or more defined.
Its popularity has boomed in recent years as women aspire to look like celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian, prompting concern from experts worried that Britons are falling victim to a largely unregulated cosmetic aesthetic industry.
One case, mentioned by director of Save Face Ashton Collins, involved a woman who went for an anti-wrinkle injection but was suspected to have been given an unlicensed product, resulting in serious complications.
‘People think I’m exaggerating when I say this but she has literally had to have half her face removed,’ she said, adding that infections had ‘eaten away at her tissue and nerves’ – for which she needed multiple surgeries.
READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Warning over £5 ‘Botox’ lotteries: Experts demand crackdown on boutiques illegally offering women wrinkle-banishing injections in cheap online raffles
Carolyn Harris, Labour’s co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on beauty and wellbeing, said: ‘If it’s not properly governed, if we don’t give people the right training, if we don’t give proper accreditation and licensing to people who are properly qualified, then it’s potentially life-threatening.’
Ms Collins said the MP calls for the implementation of the regime by July were ‘unrealistic’.
But she said protections could be put in place in the meantime, and urged the Government to ‘put out a proper awareness campaign to anybody thinking of having these treatments’.
Ms Collins added that it could also be a mandatory requirement for practitioners to have malpractice insurance – which she said would mean if something was to go wrong, rather than pay out thousands of pounds to correct it, it would be covered for compensation.
Professor David Sines, executive chairman of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, agreed that the deadline of July was not possible given the amount of work required.
He said it was ‘always going to take two very busy years’ to get it ready, which would mean an introduction date of 2025.
As well as complaints, dozens of cases are heard by Save Face every year of people who have not had a face-to-face consultation before receiving botulinum toxin injections — which is a legal requirement. Botox is the best-known brand of botulinum toxin.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘Following a series of positive discussions with stakeholders, we plan to carry out our first consultation on the procedures that will be in scope of the licensing scheme this summer.’
It comes after a MailOnline investigation revealed last month that British aesthetics clinics were offering Botox in illegal cosmetics lotteries.
It was found that a dozen clinics were running raffles online, inviting Brits to purchase tickets for as little as £5 for a chance to win treatment packages worth up to £650 in value.
Campaigners have called for an clinics to stop offering lotteries and raffles for treatments, especially those that feature prescription only medications
Simply Aesthetics London has a dedicated web page for its monthly ‘Beautiful Raffle’
Campaigners accused those running the raffles of employing ‘dangerous tactics’ to encourage Brits to have such treatments, including for prescription only drugs.
They warned that offering the cosmetic procedures as prizes can trivialise them and their potential consequences.
And recent research has suggested Botox injections could impair the ability to recognise others’ feelings.
In a study by scientists at the University of California and researchers from Botox-makers AbbVie, which involved looking at happy and sad faces, the participants who had had the anti-ageing injections had altered brain activity in areas related to emotion.
Roughly 900,000 Britons have Botox injections each year, where a compound called botulinum toxin is injected into areas of the face, such as the forehead and around the eyes and mouth. This procedure relaxes the muscles under the skin by blocking the nerve signals that cause them to contract, smoothing out wrinkles.
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