Injections of dermal fillers to enhance lips, and to smooth out wrinkles and acne scars are a “crisis waiting to happen” according to a new report on cosmetic procedures in England.
The report, commissioned by the government in the wake of the PIP scandal, called for a crackdown on the industry.
The report highlighted the lack of regulation around the increasingly popular non-surgical cosmetic techniques which it says have been increasingly trivialized by reality television.
“Having a non-surgical cosmetic intervention has no more protection and redress than someone buying a ballpoint pen or a toothbrush,” said Professor Sir Bruce Keogh in the foreword to the report.
“Cosmetic interventions are a booming business in the UK, worth £2.3 billion in 2010, and estimated to rise to £3.6 billion by 2015. They can either be surgical—such as face-lifts, tummy tucks and breast implants— or non-surgical—typically dermal fillers, Botox, or the use of laser or intense pulsed light (IPL). The latter methods account for nine out of ten procedures and 75 percent of the market value.”
The report was commissioned by the government following the health scare over breast implants manufactured by the French firm PIP. In 2010 PIP products were banned after it was revealed they were filled with low-grade silicon which was more prone to rupturing.
The recommendations were welcomed by the department of health and by the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS).
Health Minister for England Daniel Poulter said in a statement: “While there are some responsible clinics which do take proper care of their patients, Sir Bruce Keogh’s review makes clear that there is a significant risk of people falling into the hands of cowboy firms or individuals whose only aim is to make a quick profit. These people simply don’t care about the welfare of the people they are taking money from.”
Tim Goodacre, BAPRAS Chair of Professional Standards, said in a statement: “The range of cosmetic interventions that are available has increased exponentially over the last few years and, as rightly identified by the review process, the current regulatory framework is not protecting individuals, particularly vulnerable groups, from bad and often inappropriate practice.”
The report highlighted the shift in attitude towards cosmetic procedures, saying that they have become ‘trivialised.’
“Cosmetic interventions have been normalised. Previously undertaken discreetly, now people will admit to having had procedures and even celebrate them,” the report says.
The authors of the report say that the notion of physical perfection has grown in the national pysche, with young girls in particular becoming increasingly image conscious and vulnerable to the impacts of marketing and the normalising influence of television shows that feature cosmetic procedures.
The review called for tighter controls over “highly misleading” advertising and marketing practices
“Of particular concern are TV reality drama shows in which its young stars glamorise cosmetic procedures. It is not always made clear that these celebrities have contracts with particular providers,” states the report.
The report’s recommendations included classifying fillers as prescription only, formal qualifications for those who inject fillers or Botox, a register of those performing cosmetic procedures, compulsory insurance, and a ban on special offers (such as buy one get one free) for surgery.