Beauty can sometimes come at a price and not just monetary. In a world where image is believed to be the key to success, partly fuelled by the ever-increasing popularity of apps like Instagram, procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers are now affordable and accessible – even available on the high street.

Health on Female First

Health on Female First

Inevitably however, heightened pressure to look a certain way and the increased availability of some cosmetic procedures has led to a rise in complications and even deaths. Last year it was reported that a second British woman had died after a Brazilian butt lift procedure, with a number of women travelling to Turkey for the dangerous operation which involves fat being injected into the buttocks. This, coupled with procedures becoming more affordable for many, has led to a campaign to tackle “botched” cosmetic surgery, which is to be launched shortly by the Government

The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners have agreed with NHS England to introduce new rules for its members – including introducing extra checks to screen customers for mental health problems such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (an obsession over perceived flaws in appearance). However, providers who are not members will not have to abide by the code of practice.

Botox and dermal fillers are amongst some of the most popular treatments in the UK, and whilst the majority of us know what these procedures can achieve, how many of us truly consider the potential risks involved?

Botox is administered by injection and is primarily used to treat wrinkles that occur naturally around the eyes and mouth. Dermal fillers, also administered by injection is primarily used to treat smile lines and plump up lips and cheeks.

Side effects are bruising, drooping eyelids, eye redness and irritation, allergic reaction, itching, numbness and sores. More seriously, these types of treatment can cause infection, permanent scarring, facial distortion and blindness. Corrective surgery may be required.

Cosmetic surgery is not a decision to be taken lightly and if you’re considering any procedure you should:

  • Make sure you have clear reasons for wanting cosmetic surgery and ensure these reasons have been made by you and you alone – ensure what you want to achieve is realistic and think about why you want this change. Think about if there are any alternative procedures which could help you achieve similar results first. According to research, Body Dysmorphic Disorder affects up to one in 50 people and if you’re unsure of the motivations behind wanting the procedure it’s always a good idea to see a mental health professional first.
  • Research the procedure you intend to have thoroughly, ensuring you are aware of any possible complications. Don’t rush into any procedure and make sure you have a cooling off period before your appointment. Before your consultation write a list of questions and don’t be afraid to ask for a simple explanation if you don’t understand the answer.
  • Ensure you receive a professional opinion to provide you with sound clinical advice. You can speak to your GP, who can offer you advice and also advise if any of your existing health conditions could impact the surgery you’re planning. It’s also very important the surgeon you choose is registered with the General Medical Council and the clinic is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which you can look-up online. You can also look at the CQC inspection reports. The NHS has lots more information on how to make the right checks before your procedure:

One of the many reasons for “botched” procedures is the fact that you do not have to be a medical practitioner to administer such treatments and beauticians are not medically trained nor qualified to suitably assess customers safely or to spot complications when they arise. It is therefore advisable, should you decide to have Botox or dermal fillers, to consult with either a consultant plastic surgeon or dermatologist.

Words by Julie Vallance, Legal Director at Lime Solicitors