A new investigation has found 90% of practitioners in London and Essex aren’t asking children their age before booking them in for lip fillers – and none required a child’s ID for a consultation.
Pete Richardson studies the in-depth VICE investigation carried out by Hannah Ewens and says it highlights that professional standards must be adhered to like those adopted by The Association of Cosmetic Practitioners Britain (ACPB).
The ACPB requires it members to sign a code of conduct which requires all practitioners to obtain, document and keep signed client consent for all treatments. This includes keeping a record of the personal details of the client.
And the ACPB agrees with many in the medical profession that it is unethical to perform and aesthetic procedure on anyone under the age of 18.
But the investigation by VICE has found that many lip filler providers are not adhering to these guidelines.
Accompanied by a 16-year-old actor called Ellie Andrews, VICE went undercover and visited 20 beauticians in London and Essex over three days. They wanted to investigate how easy it was for a child to get booked in for the increasingly common procedure.
The findings are as follows:
- All 20 were prepared to book Ellie in for lip fillers without seeing an ID.
- And 18 of the 20 didn’t ask her age.
- Thirteen out of 20 providers didn’t ask Ellie to fill in a form with basic personal information
The report noted that the investigation found that despite the varied look of the salons, their approach was almost universally the same.
It stated: “Notably, neither of the two Harley Street clinics we visited asked to see her ID – even though the London area is renowned for providing the best quality aesthetic procedures in the UK, and often the most expensive. It made no difference whether we visited a costly top-rated clinic or a visibly dirty hair salon with a woman doing fillers in a backroom: there was a visible lack of concern over the age of potential clients like Ellie”.
Jackie Doyle-Price, Conservative MP for Thurrock, Essex and former Parliamentary Under Secretary for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention, was shocked by the results of the investigation.
She said it is time to enforce an age restriction on lip fillers.
She said: “I am appalled that these practitioners have been negligent about establishing whether or not the person in front of them is an adult. Clearly, we will have to change the law. At the very least we must have an age qualification. I want to make it illegal to administer fillers to anyone under 18.”
She added: “You need to be 18 to get a tattoo or use a sun bed. We should do the same for lip fillers and other cosmetic procedures.”
Doyle-Price added: “I am aware that some of the courses which train people in these procedures are less than adequate. Many people have been through these courses and have no idea that they are poorly trained. All practitioners should join an appropriate register so that consumers can be sure that they are getting appropriate treatment.”
That is one reason for the establishment of the ACPB – to give non-medics in the industry a place to register and adhere to the highest levels of professionalism, training, and standards to the public benefit.
The VICE report highlighted the massive discrepancy in the premises offering fillers.
It stated: “As we drove between London and Essex, we found people administering fillers out of hairdressing salons, gyms, leisure centres, dentists and Harley Street clinics, and even turned up to home address to find that people were running businesses in their living rooms”.
“So-called clinics were in rundown suburban areas and sandwiched between French restaurants and bakeries on yummy mummy high streets. Lip fillers are now so ubiquitous that they’re not even considered a medical intervention. While you’re having them done, the person in the next room might be having their teeth extracted, or their hair blow-dried”.
The ACPB recently announced its plans to create not only a national register but an inspectorate which it hopes can address some of these issues in a currently unregulated industry.
In an emotive end to the investigation VICE reported: “On one occasion, Ellie and I met a beautician who operated out of a gym in Essex. She didn’t ask Ellie’s age, and then handed her a pot of numbing cream, told her to smear it over her lips and come back in three hours for the injection.
“We quickly made our excuses and left, numbing cream in hand. As Ellie and I walked across the gym’s car park she laughed and asked the exact question I had on my mind: “Why are they letting me do this? I’m a child!”
The ACPB is committed to helping raise standards and any practitioner interested in registering should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
ACPB thanks VICE and Hannah Ewens for their permission to include details of the investigatigation.