Thousands of people have been left permanently scarred by non-surgical cosmetic procedures because ANYONE can carry them out.
Currently, you do not need any qualifications to offer treatments such as Botox, fillers or non-surgical facelifts – but that could soon change.
After eight years of pressure from campaign group, Safety in Beauty, a parliamentary inquiry has concluded that the industry should be regulated in a bid to stop the cowboys.
It comes as social media pressure drives more people to undergo risky procedures.
Here, three women left disfigured by unqualified and unregulated practitioners explain why a change in the law can’t come quickly enough…
Fiona Fay, 46
Six weeks ago, Fiona was left in agony after threads used to tighten her skin as part of a non-surgical facelift were left sticking out of her chin.
She paid £300 for the treatment, which was carried out by a practitioner she found on Instagram. As far as she is aware, the practitioner had no medical qualifications.
Fiona, who works in nutrition, was left suffering from repeated migraines and dizzy spells after the botched treatment.
The pain after her so-called facelift was so excruciating, she struggled to eat, speak or brush her teeth and she has since been left with painful lumps across her face.
Fiona, who lives in London, said: “There were a few red flags. The practitioner didn’t have a phone number and only communicated with clients on Instagram.
“Nobody told me my first appointment was cancelled – I was left to find out via the practitioner’s Instagram story.
“When I got to my rescheduled appointment, the practitioner couldn’t even remember why I had attended.
“They did not ask for any contact details and didn’t ask me to sign anything.
“They didn’t even properly assess my facial tissue or question me about any medical history. I now realise this could have been deadly.
“It was the most excruciating procedure I have ever endured. I can’t even begin to explain how savagely painful it was.
“When I left the clinic, I felt very dizzy and disoriented, and migraines started to come and go repeatedly. The agony would go on for weeks.
“My face was so sore, I couldn’t eat, sleep or brush my teeth.
“Later, I found out that the practitioner was seeing clients while suffering from sepsis themselves from an operation they had a couple of weeks ago.
“This is shocking. If a practitioner is not well, they should never see clients. It’s the same as being drunk on the job.”
Lisa Kramer, 50
Lisa told how she took up an offer for discounted lip fillers at a so-called training academy.
The students – who were working under the guidance of a former mental health nurse with no surgical qualifications – were performing procedures for the first time.
The £100 job, in 2016, left Lisa suffering from an infection called necrosis, which occurs when body tissue dies and can be fatal. She also had to spend a week in hospital.
The law as it stands means those involved won’t face criminal charges – and there’s nothing to stop them doing it to others.
Lisa, from Doncaster, South Yorks, said: “The pain was so bad, I was delirious and I couldn’t get out of bed. My lip was turning yellow, green and brown.
“When I fell unconscious, my daughter called 999 and I was taken to A&E. I was only allowed morphine every half an hour and even with the pain relief, I was still in agony.
“If you’d offered to chop my head off, I’d have said, ‘Go on, then’.
“Thankfully, I recovered, but I’m permanently scarred. There needs to be much tighter regulation of this industry or this will keep happening to others.”
Pam Cushings, 62
Pam warned that even qualified doctors can botch jobs if they don’t have the right training.
She went to see a GP when she wanted to get fillers before her daughter’s wedding in the summer of 2019.
But Pam, who works in the aesthetics industry, said the £1,500 treatment left her with wrinkles and unsightly bumps on her face. Pam, from Cambridge, said: “I just wanted a little tweak and a freshen-up for the wedding photos but it was such a botched job. I can’t tell you how awful I looked.
“The product was put in the wrong place, it was too thick for my skin type and there was too much of it. I looked like I had growths coming out of either side of my cheeks.
“We all fall into the same trap. None of us bother to ask for qualifications. The only qualification I know this woman did have is that she’s a GP.”
Pam later paid a friend £350 for remedial treatment but now worries about the potential long-term health implications.
She fears she could develop a granuloma, which is where lesions appear on the skin as a result of foreign bodies, such as fillers, not being properly injected into the body. “I don’t know if I’m going to get a granuloma two years down the line,” Pam said.
“There are no close-up photographs of me at my daughter’s wedding and I’ll never get that day back.”
So what now?
It’s estimated that more than one million people in the UK have had some form of non-surgical cosmetic treatment.
Campaign group Safety in Beauty has worked with 7,000 people since it started in 2013 – some of whom ended up fighting for life after developing infections.
Founder Antonia Mariconda gave evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing which published its report last month.
She said: “For too long, the UK aesthetics and beauty industry has remained unregulated. We believe the situation has now reached crisis point.”
In their report, MPs recommended that minimum training standards should be set for those carrying out the procedures – and qualified medics should supervise. They also said the ban on under-18s having Botox, which came into force in May, should be extended to other procedures.
The group also said it would like to see a licensing scheme introduced, and psychological screening for vulnerable patients who may not be suitable for treatments.
The report said: “Maintaining the status quo is not an option. Anyone can carry out treatment with minimal restrictions. Even where restrictions are in place, there is little oversight. The situation not only puts the public at risk, but undermines the ability of responsible practitioners in this ever-expanding industry to develop.
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Labour MP Carolyn Harris, co-chair of the group, said: “The problem is that people are coming up with their own courses and accrediting themselves. Then, they give the training to other people and charge them for it.
“This means bad practice is passed on. We want one set of qualifications and one register. Just because you are a doctor or a nurse doesn’t mean you understand aesthetics.”
Nadine Dorries, Minister for Patient Safety, said: “This report is an important contribution to our shared understanding of the consequences of this kind of treatment. I look forward to reviewing its recommendations on how we continue to improve people’s safety. Patients must always come first.”