Why Stricter Regulation for Injectables Must Be a Priority

26/09/2013 10:55 BST | Updated 26/11/2013 10:12 GMT

There has been a sharp increase in the amount of men and women choosing to use injectables like Botox and dermal fillers to combat the signs of facial ageing, and cosmetic surgery experts are again warning people of the dangers linked with receiving 'unregulated' skin fillers.

A recent poll by The Cosmetic Surgery Guide revealed that 1 in 4 readers had undergone an injectable treatment, yet 56% didn't feel they had been 'fully informed' about the risks associated with them, or know what product had been used.

As the Department of Health labelled dermal fillers a 'crisis waiting to happen' and the Bruce Keogh review suggested a lack of expertise by some administering injectable treatments means patients having non-surgical procedures may be exposed to 'unreasonable risks', how can you protect yourself?

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) recently raised concerns that people can buy dermal filler treatments online without knowing exactly what chemicals are in them. The organisation suggests that the treatments, which involve injecting a gel-like substance into wrinkle sites, should be classed as medicines so that they are properly tested before they can be sold.

It's possible for people to still visit beauticians and even hairdressers *throws arms in the air out of despair* to receive injectable treatments. This led to BAAPS to call for injectables to be much more tightly regulated in order to protect consumers who may have lost sight of the fact that muscle relaxing injections and fillers are still classed as medical procedures.

And it's not just what's being injected that needs stronger regulation. Clinics across the UK are 'luring' consumers with enticing incentives and financially rewarding package deals on both surgical and non-surgical procedures. As someone who spends her days educating prospective patients on the importance of safety and experience, it honestly makes my blood boil.

Since the new Government regulation was announced, cosmetic surgery clinics are still flouting the rules and letting down patients. According to research by the University of Southampton and Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, released this morning, 52% of top Google-ranked clinics are still advertising deals and 'perks' which may encourage patients to make 'buy-now-think-later' decisions. Don't even get me started on the half price Botox deals on voucher websites- these time-sensitive offers, supplied by companies such as Groupon, can literally be offered from any clinic with little-to-no background check in place. The mind boggles..

With all of that in mind, I've put together my top 5 tips to (safely) navigate the world of injectables. All treatments, surgical or not, come with risks and these risks should be carefully considered before booking any appointments with practitioners.

1. Choose a medical practitioner who is qualified and experienced when it comes to injectables.

2. Do your research. Make sure you know what product specifically you are having injected.

3. Be clear what you want and expect from a treatment- the doctor can tailor the procedure to your needs, or advise you if another avenue is better for you.

4. Your safety is paramount; don't base your choice of clinic, practitioner or treatment on cut-price deals or the gifted salespeople you'll meet along your path.

5. Most 'deals' are time-sensitive. Don't be forced into making a snap decision when it comes to your health.

Be safe, be smart. Anyone considering having cosmetic surgery or a non-invasive treatment is urged to seek professional advice from a suitably regulated clinic. You can find out more about safer injectables and regulation by visiting