The Minister for mental health, suicide prevention and patient safety, Nadine Dorries, said the move was to protect children from pressure to attain “utterly unrealistic” body standards.
The recent upsurge in the popularity of injectable treatment has been dubbed the ‘Love Island Surge’ after figures from the Department of Health revealed more than 41,000 procedures were done on underage patients in the last year alone.
What does the new act entail?
From 1st October 2021, the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act comes into force. The new law means it will be a criminal offence to administer botulinum toxin, or a filler, by way of injection, for a cosmetic purpose to a person under-18 in England.
Furthermore, it will be an offence to make arrangements for or book an appointment to provide, these treatments to any person under-18 in England.
Due to a lack of regulation in the industry, combined with the social pressures of networks like Instagram, young consumers have been turning to Botox, which is typically associated with anti-ageing and wrinkles.
It is understood that the new ruling was introduced to battle against the surge in young people seeking injectable treatments following the success of aesthetic-heavy shows like ‘Love Island’ and the aforementioned social pressures.
However, under 18s can still have Botox but ONLY for medical purposes and if recommended by a qualified doctor. Only when offering for beautification purposes does it become a criminal offence.
Bodyvie’s Dr Weber:
Dr Weber, Lead Doctor and Medical Director of Bodyvie, is delighted about the new act: “In a poorly regulated industry, often described by medical professionals and patients alike, as “the wild west”, we are beyond excited and utterly delighted, but most of all hugely relieved to learn of this new Act passed by Parliament, which comes into effect on 1st October.
The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021 is a step in the right direction for better regulation of the cosmetic industry and safeguarding children within that context. It’s hopefully the first of many Acts to be passed, ensuring that botulinum toxin and cosmetic fillers are only offered to the right patients, safely for the correct indications, and by the correct medical persons.
Reality TV and social media have a lot to answer for in distorting the ideals and aspirational looks of youngsters and increasing the occurrence of body dysmorphia, so we are very excited by this news!”
Who does this Act apply to and what are the consequences?
The new law applies to everybody in England, not just businesses. This includes providers of clinical healthcare services and regulated healthcare professionals working in a variety of sectors.
Failure to comply with the new law could result in criminal prosecution and an unlimited fine.
What if the treatment is needed for clinical reasons?
Under the new law, the treatments can still be approved for use on persons under-18 by a registered medical practitioner, but only if it is for medical reasons and not an aesthetic one.
Doctors have been recommended to, as per their usual practice, follow the guidelines and standards issued by their regulator, the General Medical Council when considering the use of either product on under-18s.
Nadine Dorries said: “Of course, where there is a medical need, a doctor will still be able to approve treatment, but this must be administered by a doctor, nurse, dentist, or pharmacist.”
What do clinics have to do from October 1st?
- Verify Age: Practitioners and businesses involved in Botox or Cosmetic Filler treatment in England must verify the age of all customers or patients before booking an appointment.
- Qualified Administration: If you are a regulated healthcare professional, you must check if you are one of the approved professions permitted to carry out the treatments on a person under-18. You can then only perform the treatment on under-18-year-olds when you are acting under the direction of a registered doctor.
There are many clinical and legitimate reasons for using cosmetic treatments. However, it is disappointing and untoward that teenagers are being manipulated into thinking they need to attain ‘perfect’ standards. Member of Parliament, Laura Trott, who introduced the Act, put it perfectly: “No child needs cosmetic botox or fillers”