New regulations for Botox treatments and practitioners in the UK

by | Sep 9, 2023

Botox is the world’s most used anti-ageing injectable. It has become a routine cosmetic treatment used by millions of people worldwide. A 2022 audit showed a 124% increase from the previous year for Botox treatments in the UK, bouncing back from the pandemic. Botox is not gender-specific anymore. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, spending by men on Botox treatments has risen 400% since 2000. However, Botox treatments are unregulated in the UK. The UK government recently introduced stricter regulations to cosmetic procedures in England, what industry professionals call the biggest shake-up in a generation. So, what changes are the new legislation making?

Rising popularity of Botox treatments in the UK

The non-surgical cosmetic industry in the UK is worth approximately £3.6 billion. Botox and dermal fillers now account for 9 out of 10 cosmetic procedures. This rise in demand co-relates to a shifting societal attitude towards ageing, with many individuals seeking non-invasive methods to maintain a youthful appearance. The effectiveness of Botox in temporarily reducing wrinkles and fine lines, coupled with its minimal downtime, has made it a go-to choice for those looking to rejuvenate their look without resorting to surgical procedures. 

From 20-somethings to those in their 50s get Botox treatments. It isn’t just used to fight signs of ageing but also as a pre-emptive measure. Botox prevents the degradation of natural collagen. When muscles are relaxed, they stop pulling on the skin constantly, which can prolong elasticity and collagen. Wrinkles are a symptom of depleted collagen, not the cause. Therefore, you don’t have to wait for wrinkles to appear to use Botox. It has given rise to ‘baby Botox’ or ‘preventive’ or ‘barely there’ using subtle injections for under 35s. From celebs to ordinary individuals, Botox is boosting confidence and demand.

Importance of regulation

Botox’s proven track record of safety, reliability and long-lasting, natural results depends on how and by whom it gets administered. Botched procedures can seriously undermine Botulinum Toxin’s potential. A lack of formal training and qualification leads to such results. Unsuccessful treatment does not only affect facial aesthetics but also a person’s physical and mental well-being. But did you know it doesn’t legally require a license to administer Botox or filler injections currently in the UK? 

Respected practitioners have been campaigning for official industry regulations or qualification standards for cosmetic treatments. It is the government’s role to ensure consistent standards for consumers. Standards are also necessary to create a level playing field for businesses and practitioners. 

Currently, the aesthetics industry includes regulated healthcare professionals, such as nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and designated allied health professionals and aesthetic practitioners, such as beauty therapists. There are no mandatory training requirements for aesthetic practitioners. The licensing scheme’s fundamental principle is that anyone performing invasive non-surgical procedures must be competent when carrying out high-risk procedures.

The Accredited Registers Programme of the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) offers public assurance when selecting health and care services. The programme independently evaluates organisations that register practitioners not regulated by law. Currently, Save Face and the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) are the two organisations that hold PSA-accredited voluntary registers for cosmetic practitioners. However, regulatory controls at present are not unified.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) is England’s independent regulator for activities carried out by health and adult social care organisations. Their role involves monitoring and inspecting services to ensure they are safe, effective, caring, responsive, and well-led. Whenever they identify poor care, they take appropriate action based on the severity of the problem and its impact on service users. Providers of CQC-regulated activities must comply with CQC’s standards and guidelines or face enforcement action. Ultimately, this helps to promote the delivery of safe, effective, and high-quality health and social care services.

New regulations in place 

The government plans to introduce a licensing scheme that makes non-surgical cosmetic treatments without a licence a criminal offence. It also sets out hygiene and safety standards for premises carrying out these procedures. Those administering them should be trained and qualified and have the correct insurance cover. The scheme will be under the purview of local authorities in England. The move follows a 2022 amendment to the Health and Care Act, giving the health secretary the power to introduce a licensing regime for these procedures. 

The government has called for practitioners in the aesthetics industry and people who have undergone cosmetic procedures to share their views in a consultation on the licensing regime until 28 October.

It comes on the heels of the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act, which came into force in 2021. The law prevents people under 18 years from receiving Botox and dermal lip fillers for cosmetic reasons. Adverts for cosmetic procedures targeting this age group, including social media, influencer and traditional ads, are now prohibited in the UK. 

Impact of regulations on practitioners and patients

Healthcare regulators ensure professionals on their registers have the necessary skills and knowledge to function within their scope of practice. For instance, all medical doctors in the UK must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC), hold a license to practice and meet the standards set out in the GMC’s Good Medical Practice. Industry regulation is vital for patient safety. It offers quality control and assurance, accountability, and price transparency.

Licenced Botox Treatment Providers in Canary Wharf and Nine Elms 

Botox can effectively erase wrinkles, smoothen skin, and give you a dewy glow. But these results are all down to skill and expertise. Getting Botox in Canary Wharf and Nine Elms is made safer by Mouth clinics, offering a modern clinical environment and services of licenced and trained practitioners. From dosage to super-fine needles to products are selected for optimal results, enhanced comfort, and proven safety. Our clinics bring together a multi-disciplinary team to ensure our patients have access to accurate information, a wide range of treatments and clinical expertise. Mouth facial aesthetic treatments follow best-practice guidelines, and we are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).