Did you know that the UK is the only country in the world with an unregulated aesthetic industry?

What does this mean? 

This means that absolutely anyone in the UK is legally able to pick up a needle and inject things such as botulinum toxin and dermal fillers into people’s faces and bodies. No specific medical training, knowledge, experience or qualifications are required to carry out non-surgical cosmetic procedures. There are thousands of non-medics in the UK who have attended 1 or 2-day training courses and are now offering injectable treatments to the public. 

How is this allowed? 

Well, unfortunately up until now, the government hasn’t taken this issue seriously. One of the biggest issues our industry faces is ensuring patients are educated and well-informed on this topic when searching for aesthetic treatments. We understand that many people considering injectable treatments would assume that anyone offering these services would have to be sufficiently trained and qualified. Unfortunately, this is not the case, no medical training or anatomy knowledge is required and day by day more patients are experiencing botched results and complications.

What changes are happening now? 

We now know that a licensing scheme for non-surgical cosmetic procedures will be implemented in the UK. We don’t know the extent of this or the specifics of what this will entail. The government recently announced a consultation period for the licensing scheme whereby people can share their experiences, thoughts and opinions. It’s important that as many people as possible have their say so that the industry finally has the chance to become a safe place for patients across the country. 

Who should I be seeing for my non-surgical aesthetic treatments? 

When considering injectable treatments, it’s important to do your research and find a reputable clinic and practitioner. There are a number of websites which list approved, safe and experienced providers including Save Face, Safety In Beauty & The Tweakments Guide. As a rule of thumb, your practitioner should be a doctor, nurse or dentist who has had extensive training and experience in the speciality of aesthetics. If you’re struggling to find out whether a certain practitioner is a medical professional, that should be your clue! Medical professionals offering aesthetic treatments will usually ensure their credentials are clear to any prospective patients. However, it’s always worth asking if you are unsure. 

Why should it only be medical professionals offering injectable treatments? 

Let’s take a doctor for example… all doctors will have attended medical school for 5 years, and they’ll have then worked for around 4 years on different speciality rotations. Only then, after 9 years of training are they allowed to specialise in areas such as aesthetics. Even after all those years of training, many of them will still attend numerous advanced training courses, as well as regularly attending conferences, seminars and workshops all over the world with some of the most highly experienced and knowledgeable injectors. We urge you to consider whether trusting someone who has been on a 2-day training course, can safely and effectively provide you with the treatment and care you require. 

Are medical professionals in the industry regulated? 

Strangely, although the industry itself is not regulated, medical professionals are. They are held to extremely high standards by the professional bodies they are members of. Any issues surrounding patient safety or professional behavior are reported and the consequences can be severe. Many aesthetic clinics in the UK are registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), meaning they regularly have to meet the standards set by the regulatory body through independent audits and unannounced visits. Anyone offering aesthetic treatments who is not a medical professional is not regulated or held accountable whatsoever. 

What are the risks with injectable treatments? 

Patient safety should always be your clinic and your practitioner’s number one priority. After all, a needle is being placed beneath your skin and a foreign substance is being injected into your face or body. One of the main dangers patients face is if an injection goes wrong. Complications are possible no matter the experience, training or qualifications of an injector however, someone medically trained would know what to do. They are able to respond in a medical emergency and can use prescription medication to put right any problems. Someone with no medical qualifications is unable to deal with a complication and is also probably unable to recognise it. Ultimately fillers can lead to damage to the tissues, blockage of blood vessels and in rare cases they can cause blindness. It’s important that your practitioner has a detailed knowledge of anatomy to make sure that wherever they place the needle, they are doing it at minimum risk to you, and that requires anatomical knowledge. If you’re going to a non-medical injector it’s vital to understand that you are literally putting your life in their hands. 

What can I do to ensure my own safety? 

Research research research! 

  • Ask people you know who they recommend for non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
  • Search for safe and reputable clinics and practitioners on websites such as Save Face, Safety In Beauty and The Tweakments Guide.
  • Ensure you are asking potential practitioners what their qualifications and training are.
  • Remember, anyone injecting you should be a qualified doctor, nurse or dentist. 
  • Look at your practitioner’s previous patient results. 
  • Read their reviews on Google, Trustpilot etc.
  • Don’t just take their word for it if you see awards, accreditations, training courses etc. Do your research and see if what they are shouting about is actually legitimate! 
  • If you believe that only medical professionals should be offering these treatments, please share this with your friends, family and colleagues! The better people are educated on this, the safer they will be. 

To have your say on the government’s proposed licensing scheme for non-surgical cosmetic procedures before 28th October 2023 please click here.