New Regulations for cosmetic procedures

“A person having a non-surgical cosmetic intervention has no more protection and redress than someone buying a ballpoint pen or a toothbrush,” warns the report. “Dermal fillers are a particular cause for concern as anyone can set themselves up as a practitioner, with no requirement for knowledge, training or previous experience. Nor are there sufficient checks in place with regard to product quality – most dermal fillers have no more controls than a bottle of floor cleaner. It is our view that dermal fillers are a crisis waiting to happen.”

The Keogh report – April 2013

You may have heard that new regulations are going to be brought in this year that aim to make the use of botox and of fillers a safer process.  The government asked Sir Bruce Keogh to investigate the use and application of fillers after the Poly Implant Prothèse incident. PIP where accused and found guilty, of using cheap industrial silicone that was not considered fit for humans in breast implants.  The PIP case initiated an investigation of the cosmetic industry as a whole.

Industry growth has trebled in size since 2005, as procedures and products have improved. The public have accepted, if not embraced, the use of non-surgical procedures. It is botox and dermal fillers that have shown by far the biggest growth.  Its popularity, signicficant growth and the fact that it is now being seen as the norm, has alarmed some in government.  As the Keogh report says:

“Growth in the cosmetic interventions industry has far outstripped regulation.”

The Royal college of Surgeons have not been able to enforce industry wide regulations that cover cosmetic interventions. As it stands anyone can have access to the products and anyone can administer them. THe report aims to give them the power to do so.

Another area of concern is the way that cosmetic procedures are portrayed in the media. Channels 4’s ‘The Only Way is Essex’ comes in for particular criticism as the stars on the programme “… often flaunt their latest treatments as they where something to celebrate.” It is the potential effect that this is having on the young and the vulnerable that causes deep concern among the report’s authors.

The report is explicit in calling for more regulations and for them to be implemented as soon as possible. The proposed regulations seek to do three things:

1. Initiate high quality care with safe products, skilled practitioners and responsible providers.

2. Create an ‘industry aware’ informed and empowered public to ensure people receive accurate advice and that the vulnerable are protected.

3. Accessible redress and resolution in case things go wrong.

For those who use cosmetic procedures it is not immediately clear what the impact will be. If the client has treatments with an unqualified and untrained person then it is very likely that they will not be having treatments with them by the end of the year. If the client has treatments with a qualified nurse prescriber, in the other hand, then the new regulations will not have a significant impact.

It looks possible that dermal fillers could be placed on prescription only and there will be restrictions on the way that interventions are portrayed in the media. My advice is that you find a qualified and training practitioner as soon as possible. Fully trained health care professionals offering  treatments will be part of a regulated register.

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