Consultation launched on how to make Botox and other non-surgical cosmetic treatments safer

Plans to ban unlicensed providers of Botox and fillers in England have been opened up for consultation by the government in a bid to protect the public from botched procedures.

A law change last year gave the health secretary the power to introduce a licensing regime, which would require anyone carrying out specific treatments and their premises to be registered.

Beauty professionals and people who have had non-surgical cosmetic procedures, including Botox, laser hair removal and dermal fillers, are now being invited to share their views on how to make the industry safer.

An estimated 900,000 Botox injections are carried out in the UK each year and Save Face - a government-approved register of accredited practitioners - received almost 3,000 complaints in 2022.

More than two-thirds of those related to dermal fillers and almost a quarter related to Botox.

Health minister Maria Caulfield said: "Whether it's Botox, dermal fillers or even a chemical peel, we have heard too many stories of people who've had bad experiences from getting a cosmetic procedure from someone who is inexperienced or underqualified.

"There's no doubt that the popularity of cosmetic procedures is increasing, so it's our role to ensure consistent standards for consumers and a level playing field for businesses and practitioners.

"We want to make sure we get this right for everyone, which is why we want to hear your opinions and experiences through our new consultation."

She has previously highlighted how the spread of images online via social media has led to a rise in demand for Botox and fillers.

The eight-week public consultation will play a pivotal role in shaping new regulations, which could include age limits and restrictions for high-risk procedures, including those involving injecting fillers into intimate parts of the body such as the breasts and buttocks.

Read more health news:
Nottingham maternity scandal: Families still tell of 'poor care'
Cardiac arrest patients should be taken to nearest A&E

The government has already made it illegal to give Botox injections and filler treatments to under-18s for cosmetic purposes and banned adverts targeting children with adverts for such procedures.

Professor David Sines, chair of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, said he welcomes the government's decision of further consultation.

"It will help to ensure that people who undergo non-surgical cosmetic procedures receive treatment from practitioners who are properly trained and qualified, have the necessary insurance cover and operate from premises that are safe and hygienic," he said.

Director of Save Face Ashton Collins said: "As the largest and longest-established Professional Standards Authority accredited register, we are able to provide a unique level of insight based on 10 years of gathering data from practitioner and clinic audits as well as patient reported complaints, adverse reactions and complications.

"This will enable us to help develop a fit-for-purpose scheme that has public safety as its primary focus. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the government and key stakeholders during the next stages of the process."