MP-led inquiry calls for stricter regulation of Botox beauty treatment

MPs slam ‘complete absence’ of regulation of beauty treatments like Botox and fillers which is putting public ‘at risk of harm’ as they call for law change

  • MPs call on Government for strict regulation of beauty treatments such as Botox 
  • Cross-party group advises national minimum standards for practitioner training, stronger licensing measures and for fillers to be made prescription-only 
  • Committee also said social media platforms must curb ‘misleading’ adverts 

A ‘complete absence’ of regulation of beauty treatments such as Botox and fillers is putting the public at risk of harm, MPs have said.

The complete lack of a legal framework around non-surgical aesthetic treatments has left consumers at risk and undermined the industry’s ability to develop, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing (APPG) found.

MPs have called on the Government to address the lack of regulation after an inquiry following an explosion in the popularity and availability of cosmetic surgery.

The APPG investigated practitioner standards and qualifications, the case for a registration of practitioners or licensing, ethics and mental health considerations, and the ‘serious issues’ around advertising and social media.

Among its recommendations are the setting of national minimum standards for practitioner training and regulated qualifications in line with national standards.

It has also called for fillers to be made prescription-only, psychological pre-screening of customers and the extension of the ban on under-18s receiving Botox and fillers to other invasive aesthetic treatments.

MPs have called on the Government to address the lack of regulation in the industry after a year-long inquiry following an explosion in the popularity and availability of cosmetic surgery. [File picture]

The committee also said social media platforms need to do more to curb misleading ads and posts promoting the treatments.

Co-chairs of the APPG, Carolyn Harris and Judith Cummins, said: ‘For too long there have been next to no limits on who can carry out aesthetic treatments, what qualifications they must have, or where they can administer them.

‘We launched this inquiry as we were deeply concerned that as the number of advanced treatments on the market continues to grow, the regulation remains fragmented, obscure and out-of-date, which puts the public at risk.

‘We were also particularly concerned about the advertising and social media promotion of these treatments and how to make sure vulnerable people, such as children and those at risk from mental ill-health, are protected.

‘We strongly urge the Government to implement the recommendations in our report and to take action to improve the situation for the benefit of the industry and public safety. Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option.’


The cross-party group on beauty, aesthetics and wellbeing conducted a year-long inquiry into the impact of cosmetic surgery. Members include Labour’s Carolyn Harris (left) and Conservatives Nadine Dorries (right)

Minister for Patient Safety Nadine Dorries said: ‘Far too many people have been left to live with the emotional and physical scars caused by their experience of cosmetic surgery, needing prolonged medical treatment after botched cosmetic procedures, particularly fillers.

‘Patients must always come first and I am committed to protecting their safety making sure people have the right information they need to make informed decisions about cosmetic surgery and ensuring the highest quality training is accessible to all practitioners.

‘This report is an important contribution to our shared understanding of the consequences of this kind of treatment and I look forward to reviewing its recommendations on how we continue to improve people’s safety.

‘Anyone considering Botox, or fillers, should pause and take the time they need to consider the potential impact of surgery on both their physical and mental health, and take steps to ensure they are using a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner.’

The committee also said social media platforms need to do more to curb misleading ads and posts promoting the treatments. [Stock picture]

Earlier this year, a BBC Three documentary, Under the Skin: The Botched Beauty Business exposed the dangers of unregulated thread lifts and Botox procedures, which are being taught online or at one-day training courses for as little as £150.

The investigation found 26 cosmetic training academies in Liverpool alone, which offered courses costing up to £5,000, but also as little as £150. 

Experts warned the beauty treatments could cause ‘irreversible damage’ if done incorrectly, and therefore pose a risk to the public if being carried out by novice students.

Despite the use of needles and the potential for serious complications, an aesthetic practitioner does not need any mandatory qualifications, meaning anyone can go on a basic training course and the be allowed to perform the treatments.

Cosmetic surgery in the UK: What are the current rules? 

Cosmetic surgery boomed throughout lockdown as Brits took advantage of work from home rules.

But, despite the use of needles and the potential for serious complications, an aesthetic practitioner does not need any mandatory qualifications, meaning anyone can go on a basic training course and the be allowed to perform the treatments.

Under the skin treatments such as Botox, dermal fillers and chemical peels,  remain largely unregulated, although the Care Quality Commission urges those considering altering their body to check the registration of their surgeon beforehand. 

Some dermal fillers and some implants used in cosmetic interventions as part of a ‘professional service’ in the UK are exempt from any product safety regulations.

In 2013, the Department of Health, then headed up by Jeremy Hunt, launched a review of the regulation on cosmetic interventions.

The report stated: ‘Those having cosmetic interventions are often vulnerable.

‘They take their safety as a given and assume regulation is already in place to protect them.

‘We urge the government, regulators, provider organisations and professionals to help implement these recommendations and to make sure that individuals’ health and safety is prioritised ahead of commercial interest.’ 

MPs have called for more rigorous checks to be implemented for cosmetic surgeons, although private groups such as The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons do exist. 

The Royal College of Surgeons of England has also provided a professional standards framework for surgeons to adhere to, although there is no legal requirement for those wanting to perform aesthetic treatment to do so at present.

Cosmetic surgery is not routinely provided by the NHS, although it may be an option for psychological or other serious health reasons. 

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