Fears over cheap beauty treatments

By Olive Carterton

Two doctors who founded a downloadable app to help people find qualified cosmetic practitioners are warning that the cost-of-living crisis may cause a business boom for unsafe aesthetic providers.

They shared their concerns after commissioning a survey revealing as many as nine out of ten men are worried about the effect financial stress is having on their appearance. 

Men’s top five concerns were: weight/fitness (40%), skin quality (25%), teeth appearance (23%), eyebags and hair loss (19%).

The doctors found, perhaps surprisingly, the age most affected were men between 18 to 24 years, with a ‘staggering’ 40% worrying ‘a lot’. 

Dr Sieming Ng and Dr Subha Punj, founders of SafeAP for non-surgical aesthetic procedues

Maxillofacial surgeon Dr Sieuming Ng, along with Dr Subha Punj, pioneered SafeAP to ensure non-surgical aesthetic procedures are delivered by qualified healthcare professionals in a safe environment.

Dr Ng, who has a private practice in Islington called SMNG Aesthetics, warned the physical impact of the cost-of-living crisis was prompting significant worries, and the survey responses painted a vivid picture of some of the surprising fears men were having. 

She said: ‘What’s particularly worrying is the potential for a rise in the uptake of unsafe non-surgical aesthetic treatments, prompted by cost-cutting measures. 

‘We’ve already seen this happen across a wide range of aesthetic procedures, with people having to live with physical and emotional consequences of cheap treatments for many years to come. 

‘We want to do everything we can to ensure people seek non-surgical treatments in as safe a way as possible. In these challenging times, prioritising health and safety is paramount. While cheap, quick fixes may be tempting, they come with significant risks. 

‘We encourage men to make informed choices, seeking qualified practitioners to safeguard both their appearance and well-being.’


The research was conducted by independent survey company OnePoll on behalf of the downloadable app. It surveyed 1,000 UK males aged 18-50, breaking the results down by age and region. 

The findings follow news reports highlighting the dangers of men seeking cut-price procedures abroad to restore hair loss, prompting plastic surgery societies to issue international warning guidelines. 

Further research shows an increase in the percentage of men expressing interest in cosmetic procedures, underscoring a broader and largely unaddressed issue concerning men’s body image. 

A previous study by SafeAP showed men were less fearful than women of complications as a factor preventing them from seeking procedures such as wrinkle-relaxing or filler injections and non-surgical liposuction. Only 27% felt put off by horror stories they might see in the media. 

Dr Ng and Dr Punj warned that men could be particularly vulnerable to predatory marketing tactics – especially as the same research showed that more than twice the amount of men (21%) than women (9%) admit to having already had a negative experience with a cosmetic procedure.

Their ap allows clients to search and compare all qualified practitioners within a desired location. 

The verification process for each practitioner involves vetting of their medical/dental/nursing council registration, appropriate course certification for procedures provided, life support training, complete disclosure and barring service check and defence cover.