Can you learn how to inject Botox or fillers into someone’s face after just a few days? Using the techniques and equipment medics spend YEARS learning and refining?
In the past few months, the aesthetics industry has been left shaken and angered by stories of two reality stars who have decided to begin a career in the world of aesthetics. Except they seem to think they can make a living in this industry after just a few days of training. And the scary thing is that - due to a lack of regulations around this - they can.
Anyone can administer fillers
Recent news that former Love Island personality Rykard Jenkins is now ‘qualified’ to perform injectables, such as Botox and fillers, after a course that lasted a week, has caused outrage.
Jenkins, who appeared on the reality show in 2017, posted on his social feeds about his recent venture into aesthetics, with one video caption that reads “Today I really feel like an aesthetic practitioner”, despite the fact that he had only spent a matter of days training to do what a medically qualified practitioner takes years to truly master.
Another example is TOWIE’s Lauren Goodger, who completed a 4-day, CPD accredited course in dermal fillers and is now pursuing a career in aesthetics.
“Ok”, you may be thinking. “They’ve done their training; so what?” But it isn’t that simple. While aesthetic treatments are popular, and in the right hands can be very effective, in the hands of someone who has little or no experience, they can have terrifying outcomes.
It’s also scary to think that reality personalities like Goodger and Jenkins have such a huge young and impressionable fan-base who aspire to be like them. So, in a sense, it’s morally and professionally irresponsible, as it’s appealing to followers who are perhaps not as clued up about the industry they are promoting. Not to mention those who will book an appointment - not because of their credentials or experience but - because it’s a chance to meet them.
Of course, the fact that they are well-known is not the only issue. It’s a much wider one than that.
We’re hearing more and more horror stories about fillers gone wrong, and this is putting a huge grey cloud over the industry, which is unfair when you consider the number of years esteemed medics train. And it could also be seen as a bit of a kick in the teeth when medically qualified practitioners are often left to correct the botched jobs of non-medics.
Cheaper prices, offered by beauticians, are luring in a younger, perhaps more naive audience, drawn to current trends in aesthetics (often driven by the media) - but they are often unaware of the complexity of treatments and how easily they can go wrong if done by someone who doesn’t really understand what they are doing or how to deal with complications. Of course, this isn't just an age thing - it just seems to be the case that many of the stories we are hearing are those of younger women.
But what are the consequences for a non-medic who messes up? It’s not as if they can be struck off a register they were never on. So, how do we know who we can trust and who we can’t if they aren’t medically qualified? This is yet another example of how the UK aesthetics industry needs addressing by the Government. We need stricter regulation over who can and can't administer injectables.
What's the big deal? What can really go wrong with fillers?
There are several complications that can occur with fillers.
While it’s great that there are so many amazing non-surgical treatments out there, for some, injectables are labelled under the same category as the likes of manicures. And are sometimes, worryingly, performed by the same people. But there are risks and side effects that should be communicated before a client commits to an aesthetic treatment. And that's why it's so important to seek out a medically qualified professional such as nurse, doctor or dentist.
Take the liquid nose job, for example. Around the nose, there are several important arteries.
If a blood vessel is mistakenly injected, this can cause blockages to arteries and can lead to blindness - and the injector has to act quickly. With medically trained professionals, this issue is far less likely to happen in the first place, as they are well versed in anatomy and have a better understanding of where these arteries are - but for your local beautician, this could lead to disaster.
And then there are lips. Lip fillers are huge right now (quite literally in some cases) and it's a definite trend amongst many young women - so we need to ensure we are providing them with the relevant information to ensure they know the facts - the side effects, risks and more. What will happen if something goes wrong? Will the person injecting be able to combat the issue and stop their lips from splitting should too much hyaluronic acid be injected - or if lumps or cysts appear? If fillers do need to be dissolved, hyaluronidase can be used. But this is a prescription-only medicine, so it will need to be prescribed, which a beautician or other non-medic can’t do.
A safer future for aesthetics?
Ok, I’ve talked for too long now (that’s what fury does to you), so let’s wrap this thing up.
The Sun newspaper has recently brought into focus what medically qualified aesthetic professionals, like Dr Nestor and associations such as the JCCP and BCAN, have been saying for years. The industry NEEDS fully regulating.
In April, a cross-party parliamentary group will be undertaking a parliamentary inquiry into safety within the non-surgical aesthetics industry. FINALLY! They will then present recommendations to the government for how standards must be improved. So, let's keep our fingers crossed while we watch this space.
For the moment, with so much uncertainty and a lack of regulation in the area of aesthetics, it’s much safer to go to a medically qualified practitioner, who will offer a consultation, explain the treatment, side effects and potential risks, and will - in the unlikely situation - have a better understanding of how to combat any issues.
So, next time you see a sign in your local salon window advertising fillers, just keep on walking.
We need to be looking after people who want treatments and making them feel incredible through amazing work - not just seeing the opportunity as a cash cow.
Glowday lists tons of medically qualified practitioners so you can be sure you’re in the safest possible hands, whatever the treatment.