Conservative MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley, Laura Trott, is today introducing a Private Members Bill which would ban under 18’s from being able to receive cosmetic Botox or fillers.
The Bill, entitled, the “Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill” will also require a doctor, registered medical practitioner, or a health professional to administer such procedures where there is a medical need in under 18s – a requirement which is currently not in place.
According to research from Save Face, a national register of Accredited practitioners, non-surgical cosmetic treatments (such as Botox and dermal fillers) generate over £2.75 billion in the UK and account for over 75% of all cosmetic enhancements carried out each year. However, unlike its surgical counterpart which has clear and defined laws as to who can undertake procedures such as breast enlargement and facelift operations, the non-surgical cosmetic industry remains almost entirely unregulated; meaning that legally, cosmetic injections can be administered by anyone.
In the last 12 months Save Face received 1,617 patient complaints – an increase of 73% when compared with the year previous.
Of the complaints:
- 81% related to dermal filler treatments, and 13% to Botox.
- 86% were administered by beauticians, hairdressers and other non-healthcare professionals.
- 79% found their practitioners on social media – and citied cheap deals, time limited offers, celebrity treatment packages, and the use of reality tv programme celebrity images as the reason they chose them.
- In 82% of Botox related complaints, patients reported that they were not made aware that Botox was a prescription only medicine and 77% did not have a face to face consultation with a prescriber.
- A staggering 45% did not have a consultation of any kind.
- Two patients experienced blindness
- 45 of the patients were under 18s – with the youngest just 15-years old.
- Of the under-18s, 42 received lip filler treatment, 2 had cheek fillers and one a non-surgical nose job.
Speaking ahead of the Bills Second Reading in the House of Commons, Laura Trott MP said:
“This is a largely unregulated industry, and so the data we have only represents the tip of the iceberg. We know there are huge pressures on young people to conform to the unrealistic and unattainable ideals they see on social media. However, despite all the dangers there is currently no legal age limit for dermal filler or Botox procedures. This means any 15-year-old schoolgirl could just walk into a shop and get their lips injected by someone with no qualifications. This cannot be right”.
“My Bill will stop the dangerous and unnecessary non-medical procedures that can ruin children’s lives, as well as ensuring any treatments that are required, are done so by a medical practitioner”.
Ashton Collins, Director at Save Face said:
“We wholeheartedly support the PMB. This legislation is vital to protect young people from being exploited by unscrupulous practitioners. We have been campaigning for a change in the law since 2014 and in that time, we have supported dozens of young people whose lives have been seriously impacted upon because of a cosmetic procedure gone wrong. It makes no sense that it is illegal to tattoo a person under the age of 18 but it is not illegal for practitioners to provide these extremely high-risk treatments to potentially vulnerable and insecure young people.
For responsible practitioners, such a law will support them to decline treatments and identity check without causing offence. Treatments should only be given to children under the age of 18 in exceptional circumstances where there is a clinical need, we are delighted that PMB also stipulates that such procedures should be carried out by registered healthcare professionals”.
Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, Co-Chairs of the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing said:
“We are seriously concerned that there are no age restrictions on who can get Botox or fillers and we fully support the aims of this Bill to protect young people.
For too long there was been a complete lack of robust, consistent and enforceable standards for undertaking these treatments, and no accountability or consequence for malpractice. As the aesthetics industry continues to grow rapidly, we are also increasing concerned about the advertising and social media promotion of these treatments and how to make sure vulnerable young people are protected. The absence of standards leaves practitioners with no support and customers with no guarantee of safety.