When it comes to ironing out the creases on your forehead with anti-wrinkle products like Botox, or plumping your lips with filler (or any other treatment where a needle penetrates your skin), you should not only research the treatment, but also always do some research on your practitioner and check whether they are medically qualified to carry out the procedure. When done right, these treatments are safe and offer great results, but they can be pricey.
Naturally, we all want to find a good deal - especially when we find it so hard to justify the cost of treating ourselves - and the lure of cheaper alternatives, such as “Botox parties" and voucher deals are tempting. But, to be blunt, cutting corners in the short term could cost you far more than a few extra quid.
A quick Google search tells you all you need to know about the perils of "botched Botox" or failed fillers. Some women have reported that their lips quadrupled in size - almost to the point of exploding - after receiving fillers at home or from unsuitably qualified practitioners. Others have had to be hospitalised to reverse the effects of poorly performed treatments, leaving the NHS or other practioners to pick up the bill to fix things.
Up until now, the government has been reluctant to regulate and legislate aspects of the beauty industry, but in May 2019 the Department for Health and Social Care launched a campaign urging women - and men - to do their research and walk away from cheap procedures offered through social or voucher sites. So, before you book any treatments, please consider the following first.
The legal stuff and loopholes
By law, the person prescribing the botulinum toxin should be a doctor, nurse, dentist or prescribing pharmacist, and guidelines issued by the General Medical Council (GMC) say that they should meet you face-to-face before agreeing to perform any treatment. Only after that will they, or a fellow medical practitioner, carry out the procedure.
Whilst most professionals follow these rules, there are some unscrupulous prescribers out there who will secure the prescribed botulinum toxin and sell it on to beauticians to administer - medically trained or not.
It’s worth noting that the products used for lip fillers aren’t regulated at all because they don’t have to be prescribed. This means anybody can get hold of the products - including knock off versions that can be bought online - and set up shop. There is no knowing what you are being injected with.
Some salons will reassure you that their staff are trained to carry out both procedures, but the truth is that these courses are open to anybody and are not backed by any formal medical qualifications.
Why medical practitioners are a must
Even though Botox and fillers are classed as minimally invasive, they still involve needles or cannulas piercing your skin at a depth that increases the risk of complications. Additionally, the procedure should be carried out in sterile, clinical conditions.
Medical professionals are trained in anatomy, so they know where the nerves, bones and blood vessels are in your face and can make sure your treatment is safe for you. They are also trained in the safe use of cannulas and needles and can handle any potential complications easily and swiftly.
It’s also worth noting that reputable insurers only insure medical professionals to administer injectables, so if something does go awry you are more likely to be compensated.
Finally, medical professionals adhere to, and are guided by, a set of strict professional standards and a code of conduct. This means that their primary responsibility is to act in the best interests of their clients - not in the best interests of their bank balance.
Picking a practitioner
Glowday will soon list medically qualified practitioners for you to search and book appointments with. And we will verify the qualifications of these practitioners to make sure they are medically qualified to carry out the treatments they offer. If you choose to go elsewhere then please check the following registers to see if your chosen practitioner is qualified and what level of qualifications they have - just type in their name and hit search.
- Nurses - NMC (Nursery and Midwifery Council)
- Doctors - GMC (General Medical Council)
- Dentists - GDC (General Dental Council)
Botox is a registered trademark