Superdrug now offers botox, but some experts have concerns

Superdrug are now offering botox and lip fillers [Photo: Getty]
Superdrug are now offering botox and lip fillers [Photo: Getty]

Next time you pop into Superdrug for a make-up bag re-stock, you could also get a quick spot of botox.

The high street retailer has announced its new Skin Renew Service, which offers in-store botox and dermal fillers.

Launched in response to feedback from nearly 10,000 customers revealing a demand for the cosmetic procedures, the services will be launched via a soft launch in London’s Strand store before rolling out nationwide.

In a press release, Superdrug stated that all qualified nurses carrying out the treatments will be “trained to the highest standards” and that procedures are only open to those over the age of 25.

After an initial telephone conversation, a consultation is carried out with a nurse who will decide if treatment is appropriate.

If it goes ahead, all treatments, which start at just £99, will be carried out in a private consulting room.

Non-surgical cosmetic treatments have been witnessing quite the boom of late. Recent stats reveal that treatments such as botox and fillers currently account for nine out of 10 procedures and are worth a whopping £2.75 billion.

No wonder Superdrug wants a bite of that cherry.

“Superdrug offering treatments such as Botox and dermal fillers comes as no surprise,” says Benji Dhillon, independent Cosmetic Doctor and evaluator of treatments including Skinade, the UK’s leading collagen drink.

“People are now exploring these treatments all over the UK in order to help define certain facial features, or as a preventative tool. The last few years have also seen the taboo of having such treatments break away, with society becoming more accepting. Superdrug and Allergan are positioning themselves in a way that makes these treatments accessible to the general public on the high street.”

Dr Dhillon also believes the popularity of shows such as ‘Love Island’ are having an influence on younger consumers wanting to explore cosmetic treatments.

Concern over ‘normalising’ cosmetic procedures

But while the launch opens the ‘tweakment’ door to a whole new audience, some experts are concerned that the low-cost entry price and next-to-the-lipsticks location could appear to ‘normalise’ what is fundamentally a cosmetic procedure.

“While Superdrug may be hiring medically trained nurses, it is crucial members of the public do not treat having Botox and dermal fillers as casual beauty treatments, like brow threading or waxing,” Dr Gerard Lambe, consultant plastic surgeon and spokesperson for BAAPs, said in a statement.

“Administering an injection of any kind is a very serious procedure and requires an experienced and qualified health professional.”

That’s something cosmetic doctor Dr Esho from the ESHO clinic agrees with.

“Botox is medical procedure not a beauty treatment and with all medical treatments there are always risks where ever they are carried out,” he says.

You can now get botox next time you pop in for a new lippie [Photo: Getty]
You can now get botox next time you pop in for a new lippie [Photo: Getty]

Things to consider before booking botox

According to Dr Esho, these risks including bleeding, bruising and infection from the needle and ptosis (dropping of the eyelid) from misplacement of the toxin.

“There are currently many high quality aesthetics clinics providing treatments on the high street but the key is these are within a medical setting with highly qualified doctors and nurses so the location isn’t a concern, but more so how they will be performed of marketed,” Dr Esho continues.

“Superdrug will need to demonstrate those standards expected of the industry for the good of the public and the industry as a whole. Patients should be wary if these treatments are trivialised and treated as a drop in service like beauty treatments without the appropriate consultation, treatment and follow up pathway. Patients should also avoid choosing low prices over high quality and continuity of care,” he adds.

Other concerns centre around the consultation process and the ability of practitioners to deal with complications.

“The provision of botox and fillers follow very strict guidelines, such as requiring a face-to-face consultation prior to administration and being regulated by the Care Quality Commission,” says Dr Munir Somji, Chief Medical Officer at Dr MediSpa.

“You also require medical qualifications to provide this service, not only for the initial procedure but also to handle any potential complications such as blindness, stroke and skin death.

“I worry that with this service there will be no standardisation of care so all patients won’t get continuity of services. 20% of my practise is correcting mistakes from unqualified or ‘just qualified’ practitioners, and this can represent an further strain on the NHS. Overall, I think this is a huge undertaking for Superdrug to offer such a service safely and responsibly.”

To be fair to them, Superdrug has taken steps to addresses the safety concerns of both experts and consumers.

“We’re launching this service in response to customer demand for anti-wrinkle and skin rejuvenation treatments,” said Caris Newson, head of health and wellbeing services at Superdrug.

“We’re listening to what people are telling us they would like which is the reassurance that if they choose to have aesthetic treatments then it will be administered by highly qualified nurse practitioners in a private consultation room.

“We know from our research among 10,000 customers that feeling confident about how you look is linked to a person’s wellbeing, and that’s different for all of us. For some it might mean having their eyebrows threaded or getting their nails done, for others taking new vitamins or getting fitter, or it might be about smoothing out fine lines.”

Dr. Pixie McKenna, Superdrug’s health and wellbeing ambassador, is also keen to highlight the importance of regulation surrounding cosmetic procedures.

“The popularity of anti-wrinkle treatments has increased dramatically in recent years. Unfortunately in tandem with their increase in popularity we have seen an increase in the number of people claiming to be ‘expert’ practitioners in the field. It is surprising how many people engage in these services without having a full understanding of the qualifications or competence of the person carrying it out,” she said.

“This is why I support Superdrug’s move in ensuring that their high street service is delivering the high-end service the patient deserves. By employing high pedigree practitioners who have not only been vetted but also have an excellent track record in terms of their experience, qualifications and competence, customers can be confident that they are getting the service they deserve.”

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