Considering Lip Fillers Or Botox? Here's How To Check They're Safe

Love Island debates aside, the unregulated beauty industry is leaving women at-risk of serious complications from 'tweakments'.

If you’re considering a non-surgical cosmetic treatment, such as lip fillers or Botox, it’s vital you do your homework first. Unqualified beauty therapists are providing treatments across the country, sometimes leaving customers with serious complications, according to a new report by MPs.

The report, by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing, is the result of a year-long inquiry following the “explosion” in the popularity and availability of these treatments.

“It is important to note that there is much good practice across the aesthetics industry, and despite media headlines, many thousands of consumers a day experience no problems at all,” the authors wrote. “However, this explosion in treatments has also brought with it some cases of poor service outcomes for consumers.”

The report noted a worrying rise in beauty therapists paying for short, self-accredited training courses, believing this qualifies them to perform cosmetic treatments. In reality, these courses rarely provide adequate training and therapists do not have the knowledge to correct procedures if something goes wrong.

The MPs heard from a woman who had botched botox and lip fillers in 2018, performed by a practitioner with no insurance or appropriate training. The practitioner injected the substance in the artery which ran from the women’s top lip to eye area, which caused a blockage of a blood vessel and led to necrosis (death of tissue) in the lip.

She required immediate medical attention, which the practitioner was unable to provide and was not covered by the NHS. The woman’s only option was more expensive, private treatment.

After hearing such stories, co-chairwoman and Labour MP Carolyn Harris described the industry as the “Wild West”.

But let’s get real, many readers – especially women, who make up the majority of clients – may still be interested in fillers or injectables.

Love Island's Faye and Sharon have talked openly about their lip filler
Love Island's Faye and Sharon have talked openly about their lip filler

Love Island contestants, including Faye Winter and Sharon Gaffka, have talked openly this series about their fillers – it was even the subject of a row among the housemates when Hugo said he wasn’t attacted to girls with “fake personality and looks”.

The show has also been credited with a rise in the popularity of lip filler among younger viewers, though previous contestant Molly-Mae Hague has spoken about having her fillers dissolved when she didn’t recognise herself anymore.

HuffPost UK previously spoke to women about why they have these non-surgical treatments, often dubbed “tweakments”, and you told us the procedures can help to boost confidence.

Rebecca, 28, from London, told us she felt happier after getting Botox to reduce the frown lines in her forehead. “I frown naturally all the time, even in my sleep, so I’ve always been quite concerned with developing a very deep frown line – which is happening – so I took the plunge,” she said. “I didn’t notice a huge difference regarding body image [after the treatment], but I fretted over it less when I looked in a mirror and liked the way I looked in photos much more.”

If you’re having a treatment, how do you do it safely?

The key is checking the credentials of the person administering your treatment, to ensure they’re insured and qualified – and with a legitimate qualification.

Doing this is actually easier than you may expect. Since 2013, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has been lobbying for better regulation of the non-surgical market. As part of its efforts, the BAAPS website includes a directory for patients looking for qualified practitioners. You can search by postcode and by treatment.

“We have worked with the Royal College of Surgeons to produce a bona fide Certification in Cosmetic Surgery and also for Non-Surgical Treatments. This certification is only open to medics who are fully trained and are on the GMC [General Medical Council] specialist register. This will give the public reassurance that the doctor or surgeon carrying out a treatment is qualified and will know how to deal with any complications should they occur,” explains Mary O’Brien, president of BAAPs.

“If you are considering a cosmetic treatment make sure your practitioner is a member of an association like BAAPS. All our members are highly qualified and follow a code of practice and ethics to improve overall safety standards in the profession. Visit baaps.org.uk for a qualified practitioner.”