Public Consultation Aims to Safeguard Consumers
In response to a rising tide of complaints about “botched” non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox, laser hair removal, and dermal fillers, the UK government is launching its first-ever public consultation.
The initiative, which invites input from both industry experts and individuals who have undergone these treatments, seeks to establish new regulations and a licensing system for practitioners and cosmetic businesses operating in England.
These proposed regulations may include age restrictions and limitations on high-risk procedures, including intimate fillers.
Protecting Patients and Raising Industry Standards
The primary goal of any forthcoming licensing scheme is to protect patients from potential harm resulting from poorly executed procedures. This move aims to provide consumers with the assurance that they will receive consistently high standards of care, regardless of where they choose to undergo their treatments.
The beauty industry significantly contributes to the UK economy, mainly consisting of small and medium-sized businesses, with many owned by women. The non-surgical cosmetic sector alone previously estimated the UK’s worth at £3.6 billion.
Minister Emphasizes the Need for Consistent Standards
Maria Caulfield, the Minister for the Women’s Health Strategy, voiced concerns about the growing number of individuals with unfavorable experiences from inexperienced or underqualified practitioners.
As the popularity of cosmetic procedures continues to surge, the government is committed to ensuring uniform standards for both consumers and industry professionals.
Caulfield emphasized the importance of hearing public opinions and experiences through the consultation process to achieve this goal.
The Prevalence of Botox and Complaints in the UK
In the UK, an estimated 900,000 Botox injections are administered annually. Save Face, a government-approved register of accredited practitioners, received nearly 3,000 complaints in 2022, with dermal fillers accounting for over two-thirds and Botox for nearly a quarter of these complaints.
The numbers underline the pressing need for regulatory improvements in the industry.
Collaborative Efforts to Shape the Licensing Scheme
Save Face, the largest and longest-established accredited register under the Professional Standards Authority has actively participated in discussions with government officials, policymakers, and industry stakeholders.
Drawing on a decade’s worth of data from practitioner and clinic audits, as well as patient-reported complaints and complications, Save Face aims to contribute to a public safety-oriented licensing scheme.
Their involvement in shaping the framework during the consultation process demonstrates a commitment to ensuring the safety of cosmetic procedure recipients.
Support for Sensible and Proportionate Regulation
Professor David Sines CBE, Chair of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, welcomed the government’s move toward a proposed licensing scheme.
Sines stressed that this scheme would ensure that qualified practitioners treat individuals undergoing non-surgical cosmetic procedures, with proper insurance, and in safe, hygienic premises.
He encouraged active participation in the consultation to promote sensible and proportionate regulation within the sector.
Beauty Council’s Ongoing Efforts for Industry Integrity
The British Beauty Council, known for its work to elevate the beauty industry’s reputation, sees enhanced checks and balances for aesthetic procedures as essential.
After previously working with the government to ban injectables for individuals under 18 in 2021, they praise the dedication to implementing a licensing scheme covering higher-risk aesthetic treatments.
They stress the importance of ensuring that practitioners meet government-approved educational standards to instill confidence in individuals seeking treatments.
Public Consultation Period and Recent Legislative Changes
The public consultation is set to run for eight weeks, concluding on Saturday, October 28th. This move follows the passage of the Health and Care Act in April 2022, which granted the Health and Social Care Secretary authority to implement a licensing system.
In this proposed scheme, local authorities in England will oversee practitioner licenses for specific procedures, along with licensing the premises where these procedures take place.
Protecting Minors and Advertising Restrictions
It’s worth noting that the government has already made it illegal for individuals under 18 to access Botox and filler treatments for cosmetic purposes. ‘
Additionally, advertisements targeting under-18s with cosmetic procedures on television and social media have been banned.
The government advises anyone considering a cosmetic procedure to carefully weigh the potential physical and mental health impacts and to select a reputable, insured, and qualified practitioner if they decide to proceed.