By Leslie Berry
A change in the law from this month means cosmetic clinics who fail to verify their customers are 18 or over before administering Botox or dermal fillers will face prosecution.
Speaking while health minister before last month’s Cabinet re-shuffle, Nadine Dorries said a central aim was to protect children from pressures to achieve ‘utterly unrealistic’ body images.
It has been reported there were over 41,000 procedures including lip enhancements last year performed on under-18s, with many influenced by TV shows such as Love Island.
Age restrictions already apply to body modifications such as tattoos, teeth-whitening and using sunbeds.
Mr Olivier Amar
A rise in the number of children seeking treatments coincided with Covid-19, according to London cosmetic surgeon Mr Olivier Amar, of the Cadogan Clinic in Sloane Street.
He said: ‘Since the beginning of the pandemic, practitioners and surgeons in the cosmetic industry have noticed a spike in patient demand for treatments. However, what is concerning to hear is the number of young people seeking treatment under the age of 18.
‘Having any cosmetic treatment or procedure administered is a big decision which should always be carefully considered.
‘It is known that young people can be particularly influenced by Instagram and other social media platforms – especially when it comes to models and influencers who may publicly discuss their own treatments.’
Mr Amar is chief medical officer at Uvence, a cosmetic treatment business that utilises people’s own cells to rejuvenate the skin.
Research for the company found 31% of 18- to 24-year-olds in Britain said using photo filters had warped their own perception of what they look like, to the point where it shocked them when they saw images of their unfiltered face.
He said while it was obviously good to see attempts were being made to protect the industry and patients, care was needed to prevent bans from making treatments less safe, rather than stopping them happening.