POSTED: 15 May 2016


Non surgical aesthetic treatments like Botulinum toxin anti-wrinkle injections (using Botox or other brands), dermal fillers using Hyaluronic acid and skin treatments such as laser, chemical peels or microneedling are currently widely available in the UK and can be provided medical and non-medical practitioners. This has been a hotly debated topic as non-medical practitioners, whilst being trained to provide the treatments, lack the medical knowledge and expertise to deal with complications such as injections going in the wrong place, allergic reactions to products or infections and side effects. From June the 1st a new set of guidelines will be enforced to try to improve patient choice, information and safety. In this post we look at what this means for you as a consumer and patient and whether these measures go far enough to protect prospective clients.

 The new non-invasive cosmetic treatments guidelines were put together by the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), the British Association of Aesthetic Surgeons (BAAPS), the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses and the British College of Aesthetic Medicine. These guidelines are on the back of a number of studies which showed that Dermatologists and Plastic surgeons were seeing a high number of referrals for people who have had complications from having non-invasive cosmetic treatments performed by non-medically qualified or inexperienced practitioners. The majority of the complications were due to dermal fillers and laser therapy being incorrectly done. Worse still, 63% of these complications were either irreversible or chronic. The situation is just as bad globally with 100 cases worldwide reported of blindness caused by incorrect injection of dermal filler.

In addition to the medical problems, the issue of marketing and informed consent is also targeted. It may sound obvious, but the aim of the guidelines is to prevent misleading advertising and exaggerated claims, which may result in unrealistic expectations of patients. Another big crackdown is on practitioners advertising Botox specifically which is a medically licensed product and as such should not be offered or promised without a face-to-face consultation with a doctor to ensure that there are no medical problems and that treatment would be suitable. Your assessment and consultation should be with the same practitioner who will do the treatment and who should explain all of the risks, benefits, options and address your expectations. An honest price quote should also be given before the treatment starts and you should be allowed to take time to consider whether or not you want the treatment at all. Follow up is another essential component of patient care, which should be offered as standard and for free.  For doctors, these guidelines also come alongside the GMC guidelines on “doctors who offer cosmetic treatments” and Royal College of Surgeons guidelines on “professional standards for cosmetic surgery” which further increase the standard of care by ensuring that doctors offering these treatments should not only have the correct qualifications, training and experience but also keep up-to-date with their training and practice using an evidence-based approach.

This is all great news so far and we at City Skin Clinic are massively pleased that these guidelines will ultimately improve standards of care as long as patients choose a registered medical practitioner such as a doctor or nurse. Non-medical practitioners are not covered by these regulations and as such their clients are not protected by these latest measures. So if you want the best care possible:

  • Choose a qualified medical professional. For doctors you can visit the GMC website to check that they are registered

  • Ask about their qualifications and to see before/after photos

  • To avoid making a hasty decision, opt for a free consultation and never feel pressured into having treatments

  • If you’re unsure, go home and think about whether you want the treatment and feel free to shop around

  • Ensure that they provide free follow-up

  • Check how much time they give for the appointment as you don’t want your treatment to be rushed

  • Specifically ask what kind of product they use

  • Beware of extremely cheap deals – they may be using a cheap product, amount less than what is needed to properly perform the treatment (ie maybe you will have to pay extra to get the result you want) or they maybe charging extra for a consultation or follow up

We hope that the latest guidelines provide increased safety and better quality of care. For more information on these visit BAPRAS and for further information on different aesthetic treatments visit our website.

Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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