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‘Like The Wild West’, MPs warn as reality TV and influencers boost UK cosmetic surgery industry

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It is illegal in England for those under 18 to receive Botox injections or fillers, but some MPs want to ban other types of non-surgical cosmetic procedures. The Scottish government is expected to announce its own plans “in the near future”.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing has published a report on the cosmetic surgery industry, saying it’s time for the UK government to regulate it and end dangerous procedures.

The report says the demand for non-surgical cosmetic procedures has “exploded” in recent years, in part due to Instagram and the rise of social media influencers, and due to the popularity of reality TV shows such as Love Island, which feature several young people. women participated. , who have clearly undergone cosmetic surgery on their breasts and lips.

But most aesthetic education is unregulated, putting patients at risk from people who have sometimes completed their education online.

The APPG co-chair, Labor MP Carolyn Harris, said: “It’s like the Wild West. We have people selling courses that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. We have practitioners destroying the industry’s reputation by practice completely unqualified and we have victims scarred for life”.

​The report contains 17 recommendations, and Patient Safety Minister Nadine Dorries promised to carefully consider them.

One of the recommendations was one calling on the government to establish “national minimum standards for the training that all physicians must undergo to provide aesthetic non-surgical cosmetic treatments”.

The report also states: “On-site medical supervision should be mandatory for aesthetic non-surgical cosmetic treatments involving prescription drugs, where the treatments are performed under the supervision of the prescriber who has obtained the accredited qualifications to prescribe, supervise and provide remedial medicines if necessary”.

The APPG MPs said the non-surgical cosmetic surgery ranged from botox (botulinum toxin) injections to dermal (lip) fillers, PDO gears – a kind of facelift with polydioxanone – and thread lifts.

They also called on the government to work with the industry “to develop psychological pre-screening tests to cover a range of broader psychological vulnerabilities, and to make them mandatory before a consumer undergoes any aesthetic non-surgical cosmetic treatment” .

Make-up artist Sarah Draa underwent a filler treatment on her lips five years ago, when she was 18.

She told the BBC: “I would say, ‘I want Kylie Jenner lips, I want to look like Kim K’. There’s so much pressure when you see influencers on huge social media platforms every day”.

She had the procedure at a low-budget firm, but recalled, “It got so noticeably big that my lips looked like they had collapsed. I had to get more filler in the other side to balance it out. I looked misshapen.” out and it was so painful”.

She ended up having to pay to have it fixed and refilled elsewhere.

In their conclusion, Ms Harris and Co-Chair Judith Cummins said: “The evidence we have received during this investigation and our findings clearly show that maintaining the status quo is not an option.

“As the market for advanced aesthetic non-surgical cosmetic treatments has continued to grow exponentially, it is inconceivable that a complete lack of a legal framework for their administration remains. In short, anyone can perform any treatment with minimal restrictions, and even where there are restrictions, there is little oversight or enforcement. This cannot continue,” they added.

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