In the UK, the cosmetic surgery industry is worth around £3.6 billion a year. Over the past decade, cosmetic treatments have soared in popularity, with around 9 in 10 procedures being non-surgical treatments, such as fillers and Botox.
The rise of social media certainly plays a large part in the rise of the cosmetics industry, as thousands of men and women seek to emulate the influencers and celebrities appearing on their Instagram feeds.
As cosmetic treatments become more normalised, the less people seem to question the safety of these procedures. Although many of us know about the risks associated with going abroad for cheap, unregulated surgical procedures in countries such as Turkey, it may come as a surprise that many parts of the aesthetics industry in the UK are also unregulated.
What qualifications do aestheticians need?
Despite its popularity, the non-surgical cosmetic industry is almost entirely unregulated. There is no medical training for professionals, or standard regulatory body. Almost anyone can train to become an aesthetician – you don’t need any prior knowledge, expertise or any qualifications.
There are numerous courses and masterclasses available online, selling one- to two-day courses to teach the basics of administering dermal fillers, many targeted at complete beginners to the industry. Even more concerningly, it’s easy to buy cheap, unlicensed products such as fillers and needles online – meaning that some practitioners may not have had any training at all.
This lack of regulation and ease of accessing specialised medical equipment means that it can be difficult for people to recognise the dangers of using untrained practitioners. Treatments are being offered in salons, homes and even pharmacies across the UK, in such a casual fashion that many clients don’t consider the invasive nature of the procedures – and how easily they can go wrong.
What about hair transplant surgery?
Although rogue hair transplant practitioners aren’t as prevalent in the UK as they are in other countries, the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) has previously issued warnings explaining that there are a number of untrained and unlicensed practitioners carrying out hair transplant surgery. This is incredibly alarming, although as the procedure is very safe when performed by an experienced surgeon, it can be very dangerous in the hands of someone who has no training – potentially leading to severe scarring, nerve damage and infections.
Just like with non-surgical cosmetic procedures, part of the reason why some patients fall afoul to unlicensed practitioners is down to cost. These clinics will reel in potential clients by offering unbeatably cheap hair transplants and fillers – but, unfortunately, the quality will often be as low as the cost. It is also worth noting that fixing the results of botched surgeries often far outweighs the initial cost of the procedure and may, in some cases, result in irreversible damage.
Finding approved providers
No matter how tempting the prices may be, it is never worth the risk of undergoing treatment from an unlicensed practitioner. If you are looking for Botox, fillers, or other non-surgical cosmetic procedure, make sure that you visit an aesthetician that is also a qualified medical professional, such as a nurse, doctor, or dentist.
As for hair transplants, as a minimum, you should only undergo surgery by a trained doctor who is registered with the General Medical Council. You should also look at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) website, where you can see a list of approved clinics – avoid any clinic that is not registered with the CQC.
Crown Clinic is proud of its incredibly high standards. Our consultant surgeon, Dr Asim Shahmalak, is a member of many medical bodies which have been established to maintain the highest possible quality of care in hair transplant surgery, so you can rest assured that your safety is our highest priority.