This May, the government is launching a new campaign to improve public awareness and knowledge surrounding the potential risks of cosmetic treatments. With very little regulation for cosmetic treatments, such as the increasingly popular dermal fillers and Botox, the Department of Health and Social Care wants to improve public information.
The government hopes the campaign will help individuals to think carefully about their treatments. Furthermore, it hopes to curtail the number of unqualified practitioners who are risking the health of their patients.
Is the initiative necessary?
The Department of Health and Social Care are launching their campaign this month as a response to the increasing number of complaints about botched treatments and rogue practitioners. Furthermore, research suggests that many clients are not seeking professional advice from licensed medical practitioners before receiving cosmetic procedures such as injectables.
As well as this, many individuals are unaware that treatments such as Botox are a prescription medicine. As a result, only medical professionals should administer such treatments.
Cosmetic treatments on the rise
In a previous article, we covered the fact that the number of cosmetic surgery procedures has fallen by 40%. However, with this, there is a steady increase in non-surgical treatment such as dermal fillers, chemical peels and Botox.
While the cosmetic surgery industry is worth over £3.6 billion, non-surgical treatments account for £2.75 billion of this amount. In fact, nine out of ten of all cosmetic procedures carried out in the UK are non-surgical.
With this growing demand, more and more people are seeing what a lucrative market injectables can be. Added with the fact there is very little regulation in place, the number of rogue practitioners who are unskilled, unlicensed and not medically trained is rising too.
That said, consumers are still cautious about the risks involved in treatment. In a survey for the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, 83% of women aged 18-30 would change a part of their body, if health risks and the cost of treatment were not a concern. So, is it right for people to be concerned about the health risks of cosmetic procedures?
Are non-surgical cosmetic treatments safe?
As with all medical treatments and procedures, there is always a risk attached. However, the medical industry focuses on minimising the risks as much as possible. As a result, medical professionals have extensive knowledge of the anatomy, use rigorously tested, approved treatments and will ensure they are operating safely and hygienically within their practice.
Many regulatory bodies, such as the FDA and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, approve the use of substances such as Botox thanks to its efficacy and safety. Such treatments have received extensive testing and research not only to check their effectiveness but safety too. However, currently, soft tissue fillers, marketed for aesthetic use, are not classified as a medical device, although this will change in 2020. An aside from approval as a medical product, the regulation surrounding the treatment procedure and delivery cosmetic treatments is minimal.
As every individual is unique, some may suffer an adverse reaction from a cosmetic treatment. However, largely, when a trained professional delivers a treatment, there is minimal risk. What’s important for individuals to reduce the risk is to choose an experienced practitioner, rather than the cheapest offer and to ensure the procedure takes place in a suitable environment using high-quality, untainted products.
Sadly, many unskilled practitioners cut corners with the products they use and the delivery methods of treatment. As a result, the risk of an adverse reaction increases.
Issues with wrinkle reducing treatments such as Botox and Azzulare include practitioners injecting substances into the wrong areas which can cause droopiness, unevenness and unnatural results. Other risks may include infection, lumpiness, an allergic reaction, bruising, swelling, a risk of bleeding and a small chance of facial paralysis. Issues with fillers can be even more serious such as abscess formation, skin necrosis (death), blindness and nerve damage. Consequently, it is important for individuals to select a medical practitioner who is trained and experienced in administering treatments.
The risk of botched cosmetic treatments
In the UK, in just one year alone, 995 individuals lodged a complaint regarding botched cosmetic treatments. A vast majority of these had to seek corrective treatment with the NHS. Out of these complaints, 688 were because of dermal fillers while 233 were due to Botox.
In regards, to cosmetic surgery, the increasingly popular treatment of the Brazilian butt lift found that one in every 3,000 operations across the world resulted in death.
Why is there a risk of botched treatments?
Across the UK, cosmetic treatments are available in spas, beauty salons, shops and even in the comfort of your own home. However, only medical facilities are regulated by the Care Quality Commission. This means that for individuals that choose to have treatment outside of a medical facility, there is no way of telling if the environment for the procedure is safe and the practitioner is operating with patient safety as the priority. Furthermore, it is not a legal requirement in the UK to be a medical practitioner to inject fillers.
How to reduce the risk of botched treatment and rogue practitioners?
It is highly anticipated that the new government campaign will focus on several different areas where the public can not only reduce the risk of botched treatment but have confidence in seeking a trusted professional to get the desired results from their treatment.
Some of the areas the government campaign can focus on to help the public to reduce the risk of botched treatments include;
Location – Like all medical procedures, cosmetic treatments should be undertaken in a safe, hygienic medical facility. If a practitioner is offering treatment elsewhere, such as a home or beauty salon, this may not be a suitable environment for a medical procedure.
Qualifications – While the industry is unregulated, there are qualifications that clients can check before treatments. This should include checking for a medical qualification such as registration with the General Medical Council or The Nurse and Midwifery Council.
Practitioner – If you are considering a cosmetic treatment, whether non-surgical or surgical, it is crucial to speak to a medical professional before your treatment. Your practitioner should be there to advise you and give you all the information you need before a procedure. It is essential for clients to feel comfortable with their practitioner and ask as many questions as they like to ensure peace of mind. Furthermore, a practitioner should be able to explain and evidence their qualifications and experience. Researching practitioners and looking for recommendations can also help clients to find a trusted professional for their treatment.
If you’re looking for cosmetic treatment by a trusted and experienced medical professional, then please get in touch with Dr Comins to book a consultation. The consultation will give you the chance to discuss your requirements and to ensure you have the answers to any of the questions about the treatment that you may have.