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Experts want prescription-only fillers to be made in a crackdown on Britain’s ‘wild west’ cosmetics market

Activists said women wanting to emulate the look of stars like Kylie Jenner had sparked a surge in interest in dermal fillers.

Dermal fillers and lip injections should only be available on prescription to keep the public safe from botched facial cosmetic procedures, MPs said today.

Moving to a prescription model would crack down on cowboy practitioners by making doctors responsible for administering the treatment, experts argued.

This would require Britons to have a personal consultation with a medical professional capable of prescribing, such as a doctor, who would explain the risks and benefits of the procedure.

Professor David Sines, chairman of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practice, called for the move to apply to dermal filler injectors, which deliver various substances under the skin.

Under current rules, there are no compulsory qualifications required to become a cosmetic surgeon in the UK, meaning that anyone can complete basic training and then perform dermal filler treatments.

The comments were made to MPs on the Health and Social Care Committee during a session on the impact of body image on mental and physical health.

“We believe they should become prescription-only devices because if they were, there would be a requirement for supervision by prescribers, which would provide greater protection for the public,” Professor Sines said.

Thousands of Britons, mostly women, get dermal fillers every year, a procedure in which a substance, usually hyaluronic acid, is injected into the face to fill in wrinkles or to make the lips and cheekbones look bigger or brighter.

The procedure has boomed in recent years as women aspire to look like celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian, prompting concerns from experts who fear Britons are falling prey to a largely unregulated cosmetic beauty industry.

What are the risks of getting lip fillers?

The beauty industry in the UK is an unregulated ‘wild west’ where clinics do not have to register or meet basic hygiene or safety standards.

Ministers are currently preparing to regulate it, with plans now going through parliament.

The NHS says the risks of getting fillers depend on whether the procedure was done correctly or what filler was used.

Serious complications include:

  • Infection;
  • A lumpy appearance under the skin;
  • The filler moves away from the intended treatment area;
  • scarring;
  • Clogged blood vessels in the face that can cause tissue death or blindness.

Source: NHS

Professor Sines told MPs that by making dermal filler injectors needing a prescription, it would work against the cowboys practicing by making medically trained professionals responsible for signing off on treatments.

“It would be a mistake for the prescriber not to satisfy himself that the person to whom he is delegating the prescription is indeed competent and fit,” he said.

He added that he was in talks with Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency about the possibility of dispensing prescription-only dermal filler injectors like Botox.

A dermal filler treatment costs as little as £200 depending on the type of injections and the number of injections offered.

Various body image and cosmetic surgery groups have been campaigning for years for government action to end what many see as an unregulated “wild west” industry.

In February, the government announced it would introduce a licensing regime for non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as botox and fillers.

It said it would conduct a public consultation on the scope and details of such regulation, although no date has been announced.

MPs from the Health and Social Care Committee today also discussed the prospect of requiring digitally altered images of people to be watermarked.

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These images, created using various filters, are often posted online and have been accused of fueling body dysphoria among Britons unhappy with how they look.

This, in turn, leads people to seek out cosmetic procedures that promise to help them achieve this digitally enhanced aesthetic.

Kim Booker, who suffered from body dysmorphic disorder, told MPs she would like to see the use of digitally altered images that promote unrealistic beauty standards banned.

Kim Booker, who suffered from body dysmorphic disorder, told MPs she would like to see the use of digitally altered images that promote unrealistic beauty standards banned.

Lucy Thorpe, head of policy for the charity Mental Health Foundation, said under 16s should be banned from using face and body editing apps.

Lucy Thorpe, head of policy for the charity Mental Health Foundation, said under 16s should be banned from using face and body editing apps.

Conservative MP for Bosworth and committee member Dr. Luke Evans is currently pushing the Private Member’s Bill through Parliament.

The Digitally Altered Images Act requires advertisers, broadcasters and publishers to include a disclaimer if they digitally alter an image of the human body for commercial purposes.

Kim Booker, from Ringwood, Hampshire, who suffered from body dysmorphic disorder, told MPs today that she would support such a warning system on online images, but added that she would prefer to see them banned altogether.

“It should be very transparent that people are using filters or have edited or photoshopped their images,” she said.

“Ideally, I’d like to ban them.”

Ms Booker, who has had a number of procedures since she was 18, said more needed to be done to bring the industry back on its feet.

“You walk into these places and it’s like a treadmill, you have 10-15 minutes for a procedure that should take at least an hour from start to finish,” she said.

She tearfully added that the impact of easily accessible procedures on people suffering from body dysmorphia cannot be underestimated.

“It’s never-ending, you get to a point where, ‘If this doesn’t work, I just don’t know how I can live like this,'” she said.

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Lucy Thorpe, head of policy for the charity Mental Health Foundation, also told MPs that body and face editing apps should be banned for under-16s.


Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition in which a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often imperceptible to others.

People of any age can have BDD, but it is most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both men and women.

Having BDD does not mean you are vain or self-obsessed. It can be very annoying and have a big impact on your life.

Symptoms of BDD

You may have BDD if:

  • care a lot about a certain area of ​​your body (especially your face)
  • spend a lot of time comparing your appearance to other people
  • look at yourself in the mirror a lot or avoid mirrors altogether
  • go to great lengths to cover up flaws – for example, combing your hair long, applying make-up or choosing your clothes
  • recharge your skin to make it ‘smooth’

BDD can seriously affect your daily life, including your work, social life and relationships. BDD can also lead to depression, self-harm and even suicidal thoughts.

If you think you might have BDD, you should see your GP.

If you have relatively mild symptoms of BDD, you should be referred to a type of talking therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), either alone or in a group setting.

If you have moderate symptoms of BDD, you should be offered either CBT or a type of antidepressant medication called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

If you have more severe BDD symptoms or other treatments are not working, you should be offered CBT along with an SSRI.

Source: NHS

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