Botox treatments are to be banned for under-18s, amid growing concern about a ‘Love Island surge’ in teenagers seeking cosmetic enhancements.
Ministers have taken the action after learning that more than 41,000 procedures such as lip enhancement were carried out on people aged under 18 last year alone.
Health Minister Nadine Dorries announces that ages will need to be verified before enhancements can be carried out, with practitioners facing prosecution if they fail to do so.
Writing in today’s Mail on Sunday, Ms Dorries says that the aim is to protect young people from the pressure to achieve the ‘utterly unrealistic’ images of celebrity bodies.
Botox treatments are to be banned for under-18s. Catrina Banks (pictured) had filler injected into her lips at the age of 16 but her second procedure left her with swelling on her face
Ms Banks, now 19 and a pensions consultant from Edinburgh, was eventually given a refund by the beautician who begged her not to tell anyone about the botched procedure (pictured)
She cites ‘a boom in inquiries from people wanting a so-called ‘Instagram Face’ – seeking cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers to give them the high cheekbones, cat-like eyes and full lips seen in the heavily airbrushed photos that celebrities post on social media’.
I DID IT TO BE LIKE MY FRIENDS – AND HALF MY LIP DIED
By Max Aitchison for the Mail On Sunday
Peer pressure contributed to Catrina Banks’s decision to go to a beautician to have filler injected into her lips at the age of 16.
‘All my friends were having it done so I thought it would be OK,’ she said. ‘But the first time I had them filled I was left with ugly lumps in my lips and cheeks.
‘I was told it was totally normal and I just needed more filler to even them out.’
But the second procedure left the teenager with painful swelling and bruises on her face which made it difficult to even speak.
‘The filler had migrated from my lips up into my nose and cheeks, leaving my face totally misshapen,’ she said.
‘Half my lip actually died – the blood circulation couldn’t get to it any more. I also broke out in tiny little white spots which we think was some kind of infection.’
Ms Banks, now 19 and a pensions consultant from Edinburgh, was eventually given a refund by the beautician who begged her not to tell anyone about the botched procedure.
‘I wasn’t going to speak out but then so many more people who had suffered similar disasters came out of the woodwork,’ Ms Banks said. ‘I wanted to tell my story to warn others.
‘Each procedure was around £210, which is extremely cheap. Looking back, that should have been a warning sign.’
The difficulties continued when a qualified nurse dissolved the filler in her lips and she had an allergic reaction which caused her face to swell again.
‘I think the new legislation should have been in place a long time ago,’ she said.
Ms Dorries adds: ‘In the past, I have used Botox.
‘I’ve never been aggressive with it, but I didn’t see any harm.
‘Holding back the years is fine once you get to a certain age.
‘But far too many people have been left emotionally and physically scarred after botched cosmetic procedures.
‘So we are continuing to work closely with organisations to assess the need for stronger safeguards around potentially harmful cosmetic procedures.’
Television shows such as Keeping Up With The Kardashians and ITV2’s Love Island – many of whose contestants bear the telltale signs of cosmetic procedures – have also been blamed for the number of teenagers seeking ‘tweakments’.
This year’s season of Love Island included a screechy row between contestants after Sharon Gaffka and Faye Winter took offence when Hugo Hammond said that he found ‘fake looks and personality unattractive’.
Molly-Mae Hague, 22, a former contestant on the show, has documented reversing her lip fillers and other non-surgical procedures that she underwent as a teenager in order to pursue a more natural look.
Last month, Mail on Sunday columnist Sarah Vine described how her 18-year-old daughter had asked if she should seek a ‘boob job’, after watching ‘the almost comedic attempts of their co-islanders to register emotion through the multiple layers of make-up, Botox and fillers’.
Some practitioners have even used social media to advertise offers for multiple treatments called ‘Kim Kardashian packages’ or ‘Kylie Jenner packages’, alongside pictures of the celebrities.
Complaints about non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox and lip fillers have risen tenfold in five years: the campaign group Save Face received 2,083 complaints about botched procedures last year, up from 217 in 2016.
When administered incorrectly, these procedures can cause blindness, blood clots or necrosis – when the tissue dies.
In the most extreme cases, patients have had parts of their faces removed to stop the necrosis spreading.
The move to ban the procedures on under-18s follows a campaign by Tory MP Laura Trott to ‘stop the dangerous and unnecessary non-medical procedures that can ruin children’s lives’.
Ms Trott said that according to some estimates, more than 100,000 under-16s have had cosmetic treatments.
Children are being scarred by craze for an ‘Instagram Face’ as social media bombards them with images of utterly unrealistic bodies, writes health minister NADINE DORRIES
By Nadine Dorries, Health Minister, for the Mail On Sunday
We’re all under constant pressure to look our best. We are bombarded by advertisements and on social media with images of bodies that are utterly unrealistic for us to have any hope of matching.
No wonder a recent poll showed that 80 per cent of girls and young women have considered using surgical procedures to change their appearance, with the primary reason to improve their self-confidence.
I found this a deeply depressing statistic. What’s more, the problem is not limited to women – young men also face pressure from social media to look a certain way.
Botox is to be banned for under-18s, with Health Minister Nadine Dorries (pictured) saying the aim is to protect teenagers from pressure to achieve ‘unrealistic’ images of celebrity bodies
There has been a boom in inquiries from people wanting a so-called ‘Instagram Face’ – seeking cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers to give them the high cheekbones, cat-like eyes and full lips seen in the heavily airbrushed photos that celebrities post on social media.
Shockingly, there is no age restriction on who can have such invasive treatments. It is estimated that as many as 41,000 procedures were carried out on under-18s in 2020 alone.
These procedures use substances that are generally given by an injection into the skin and can lead to serious complications – including infections and, in rare cases, blindness.
It is not right that children can be so exposed – particularly if they use some of the cowboys who operate in the industry.
No child needs cosmetic procedures unless for medical reasons. Their physical and mental development is not complete.
Quite rightly, there is widespread concern that young people do not know enough about the decisions they are making, about the risks they bring.
That’s why the Government is making it illegal to carry out such procedures for cosmetic purposes on under-18s in England.
A poll showed 80% of young women have considered using surgical procedures to change their appearance, with the primary reason to improve their self-confidence (stock image)
From October 1, anyone doing so will face prosecution and there will be a requirement for businesses to verify a person’s age before arranging appointments.
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.
This change is aimed to protect young people from the potential health risks of Botox and fillers, and brings the use of such procedures into line with age restrictions that apply to body modifications such as tattoos, teeth-whitening and the use of sunbeds.
In the past, I have used Botox. I’ve never been aggressive with it, but I didn’t see any harm. Holding back the years is fine once you get to a certain age.
But far too many people have been left emotionally and physically scarred after botched cosmetic procedures.
I want to thank The Mail on Sunday for highlighting how dangerous and harmful cosmetic procedures have been carried out by cowboy practitioners.
It is vital that anyone choosing to undergo treatment does so safely.