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Doctors warn about anti-ageing treatment risk

People urged to seek out qualified experts


Woman preparing for cosmetic surgery

Always check the person carrying out your treatment has the right qualifications and experience

Plastic surgeons have issued a warning over unregulated ‘medi-spas’ that offer anti-ageing treatments.

Patients seeking procedures such as facial peels or injections should make sure they are seen by a qualified expert, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said.

The organisation, which represents around a third of plastic surgeons in the UK, warned that the number of medi-spas across the country is growing.

The spas traditionally offer beauty treatments such as facials, massages and hair removal, but are now branching out into other procedures, it said.

The BAAPS warned there are no national standards regarding such procedures, or a recognised definition of what constitutes a medi-spa.

Botox regulation

Last month, the government came in for criticism over plans for the industry to police itself over who can offer botox treatments.

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, head of a working group representing more than 90 per cent of private cosmetic surgery firms, warned that almost anyone could ‘set up shop’ on the high street to offer Botox.

Douglas McGeorge, a consultant plastic surgeon and president of BAAPS, says people should be on their guard.

‘With the recent announcement from the Department of Health that the aesthetics industry should self-regulate, particularly in regards to injectables, it is even more important that people make informed, safe choices for their cosmetic treatments.

‘The public should seek environments under the care of a properly qualified physician rather than at a shop or a hair salon: non-surgical does not mean non-medical.

‘Injectables, peels and lasers should all be performed by a properly trained clinician, a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist.

‘It is essential that people do their homework as these treatments can affect not only their appearance but health and safety as well. The BAAPS website provides contact details for specialists around the UK.’

Cosmetic procedures

The organisation has issued a checklist for anyone considering such treatments.

This includes where the procedure is taking place, with a warning that it should ‘never be performed in someone’s home, hotel room, or at a party’.

Patients should also check for appropriate qualifications, become fully informed about benefits and possible risks, and base their decisions not just on price.

Mr McGeorge added: ‘Physicians with a range of specialties designating themselves as ‘cosmetic doctors’ can lack the comprehensive training needed for administering drugs and treatments to the deeper levels of skin as well as lack the experience necessary to achieve optimal results or manage potential complications.

‘It’s in your best interest to see someone who specialises in plastic surgery or dermatologic care when seeking medical – even if they’re non-surgical – procedures.’

Online guide

Which? recently launched an online cosmetic treatment guide which offers people independent, unbiased advice on cosmetic treatments.

The guide allows people to scroll over two interactive bodies to learn more about what various procedures involve.

The site also covers how to check out clinics and surgeons before committing to anything, situations when people should simply ‘walk away’ and what to do if something should go wrong.  

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