Consumer Rights, Topics for Individuals

The dangers of cosmetic treatments

The regulatory framework of cosmetic treatments

Cosmetic treatments are becoming commonplace as the industry develops. It’s clear that the regulation framework for these products is not working. Before the pandemic the estimated spend on DIY cosmetic products amounted to billions of pounds in the UK. This statistic includes items such as hair dye kits, waxing products and permanent makeup. Back in 2013 the Keogh Review commented on the almost unregulated industry stating that:

“a person having a non-surgical cosmetic intervention has no more protection and redress than someone buying a ballpoint pen or a toothbrush.”

The self-regulation of this industry was found to have failed yet little action has been taken. The worst part is that the people who purchased these products are often unaware of how little protection they have available to them. Nonetheless it’s clear that the demand for these treatments will not disappear. As the lockdown measures ease and things return to normal it’s likely that we will see a surge in people undergoing these popular treatments.

Serious concerns have been raised about dermal fillers in particular. These are injections which are used to smooth the surface of the skin to remove unwanted wrinkles. It can be injected into the lips and cheeks to enhance them. Common complications of dermal fillers include:

  • Problems moving the face
  • Localised swelling
  • Infection
  • Scarring

Psychological harm will often be caused in the event of these complications too. This should not be underestimated as treatments can and have in the past caused irrevocable damage. The treatments in question are freely available on the internet but often include unregulated and dangerous substances. The question is, what measures could be taken to regulate cosmetic treatments?

Efforts could be made to introduce a safety benchmark. As it stands, the testing required to distribute these products is minimal and there are insufficient checks regarding product quality. The Keogh Review described dermal fillers as a “crisis waiting to happen.” Given current world events it seems unlikely that we will see any major changes to the regulatory framework any time soon.

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