Ban on cosmetic procedures for children a vital step forward, says CIEH

29 April 2021, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has welcomed the passing into law of the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill as a vital step forward in efforts to improve the safety of the cosmetics industry in England.

Due to receive Royal Assent today, the Private Members Bill, brought forward by Laura Trott MP, brings botox and cosmetic filler procedures in line with other body modification techniques, such as tattooing, by banning them for under-18s. This essentially prohibits cosmetic procedures for children in England if they are for purely aesthetic purposes and not approved by a doctor.

Last year, CIEH published two flagship reports on regulating cosmetic treatments in England. A Fragmented Picture highlighted the glaring disparities and gaps that exist for regulating cosmetic treatments across the UK. The second report, The Ugly Side of Beauty, revealed the findings of a survey of regulators in England, who are responsible for keeping the public safe, and the serious gaps they still see in protections.

CIEH’s reports revealed wide disparities in the quality and safety of services available. Without appropriate training, some practitioners were demonstrating poor understandings of hygiene and infection control, such as reusing single-use equipment or failing to properly sterilise equipment between clients. Further problems included practitioners working in unsuitable premises, failing to conduct medical assessments before carrying out procedures, and importing faulty equipment from abroad to use on clients.

As a result of these concerning findings, CIEH is calling for an England-wide licensing scheme for cosmetic treatments. Such a scheme is already planned in Wales and Scotland already has a licensing scheme for piercing and tattooing businesses. A mandatory licensing scheme would ensure that all practitioners are suitably qualified and that premises meet high hygiene and safety standards.

Julie Barratt, CIEH President, said:

“We welcome this important bill in protecting our nation’s children.

Young people are dependent on practitioners to assess the risks and whether they can provide informed consent. Regulators have told us that there are serious problems with practitioners carrying out treatments on underage clients and without more protections in place children are still vulnerable.

Whilst this is a step forwards, we are calling on the UK Government to go even further and create an England- wide licensing scheme for practitioners of all cosmetic treatments. The deeply concerning findings in our reports into the cosmetic treatment industry clearly shows that action must be taken.

We have already had productive discussions with the Government on this issue and we look forward to working closely with them to make this a safer industry.”

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