Cosmetic fillers and muscle relaxing treatments provided by botulinum toxin have been outlawed in England for anyone under the age of 18.
The new law came into effect on 1 October 2021. It makes it an offence to administer dermal filler or botulinum toxin – often referred to as botox – for cosmetic purposes, to under 18s in England. It is also an offence to make arrangements or book an appointment to provide these treatments to anyone under the age of 18 in England.
Its intention is to safeguard children from the potential health risks of botulinum toxins and cosmetic fillers.
Risks to health
These procedures carry risks to physical health, including infection, blindness, and in rare cases death, and there are psychological implications associated with changing physical appearance.
Young people are particularly vulnerable as they are developing physically and mentally, and there are ethical implications around the extent to which they can give informed consent to procedures.
Treatment is still available to under 18s when approved by a doctor and carried out by an approved person such as a doctor, dentist, pharmacist or nurse.
Reporting to Trading Standards
Power to enforce this new legislation lies with the police and local weights and measures authorities – usually Trading Standards. To report a business to Trading Standards, contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline who handle calls on behalf of Essex County Council.
The new law affects everybody in England, not just businesses. If a business or person provides or arranges for one of the treatments to be given to someone under 18, they can be prosecuted and fined.
It does not matter whether the person under 18 does not live in England – they will still not be able to have these procedures while they are in England.
What are Botulinum toxins?
Botulinum toxins are medicines injected into the skin to smooth lines and wrinkles. There are several trade names used for cosmetic treatments made with botulinum toxin, the most common of which is botox.
Cosmetic fillers are gel-like substances commonly injected into the lips or face to add volume and plump the injected area.
You can find more guidance on the GOV.UK website:
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