The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing published its report into Botox, fillers, and similar non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics played an important role in initiating this APPG inquiry, as part of our work to take forward recommendations made in our own report on the ethics of cosmetic procedures (2017). Our Council Member, Professor Clare Chambers, gave evidence to the inquiry as a witness. In our report we called for improvements to regulatory approaches in this area. We raised particular concern about young people’s access to surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, concluding that under 18s should not be able to access cosmetic procedures (other than in the context of multidisciplinary healthcare e.g., when procedures are provided by the NHS).

Currently both legal restrictions and regulatory standards for treatments such as Botox and fillers are completely inadequate. With fillers, for example, no qualifications are required to administer them, and there are no statutory controls over the content of the product used. Although many consumers who opt for these treatments do so with no problems, there have been examples of poor practice which have left people with serious and sometimes long-lasting physical harms.

The APPG initiated this inquiry to investigate how standards should be improved to support the beauty and aesthetics industry and protect public safety. The APPG investigated practitioner standards and qualifications, the case for a registration of practitioners or licensing, ethics and mental health considerations, and the serious issues around advertising and social media.

We welcome this APPG report and are pleased to see strong recommendations from MPs that press home the importance of ensuring a safer environment for consumers of aesthetic treatments.

In particular, the following recommendations of the APPG are strongly in line with our own:

  • Set national minimum standards for practitioner training.
  • Mandate practitioners hold a regulated qualification in line with national standards.
  • Make fillers prescription-only.
  • Extend the ban on U18s receiving Botox and fillers to other invasive aesthetic treatments.
  • Require social media platforms to do more to curb misleading ads and posts promoting these treatments.
  • Place advertising restrictions on dermal fillers and other invasive aesthetic treatments.

We look forward to engaging with Ministers to help take these recommendations forward.

Further reading:

Read the full report, summary, or key recommendations from our in-depth inquiry ‘Cosmetic procedures: ethical issues’