Non-surgical cosmetic procedures must be regulated urgently’

The promised regulation for non-surgical cosmetic procedures must be introduced as quickly as possible, MPs say today.

The *Impact of body image on mental and physical health* report is published following an inquiry by the Health and Social Care Committee, which highlighted the dangers posed by non-surgical cosmetic procedures in vulnerable groups.

MPs said while the government has new powers to introduce a licensing regime for non-surgical cosmetic procedures, there has been no consultation on what that should be. It called for a new licensing regime by July 2023.

The wide-ranging report, which also investigates body image and tackling obesity, calls on the government to work with the industry and the Advertising Standards Authority to discourage advertisers and influencers from doctoring their images. It also calls for legislation so any online commercial content carried a logo to identify body images that have been digitally altered.

The committee members said diagnosis and treatment of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) should be made a priority, while a government review should be completed into the growing use of anabolic steroids for cosmetic purposes, for which long-term use has been linked with cardiovascular disease and brain changes.

Jeremy Hunt, the chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, said: “The government must act urgently to end the situation where anyone can carry out non-surgical cosmetic procedures, regardless of training or qualifications.

“We heard of some distressing experiences – a conveyor belt approach with procedures carried out with no questions asked, procedures that have gone wrong, the use of filthy premises.

“It was clear throughout our inquiry that some groups are particularly vulnerable to exploitation in this growing market that has gone largely unregulated. We need a timetable now for a licensing regime with patient safety at its centre to reduce those risks.”

Among the key recommendations were that dermal fillers should be made prescription-only substances, in line with Botox; that there should be minimum standards on education and training for administering practitioners; the introduction of a ‘Non-Surgical Cosmetic Procedures’ safety taskforce with regulatory bodies among its members; and the introduction of a two-part consent process, to include a full medical and mental health history, plus a 48-hour cooling off period.

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