Scotland deemed "worst in Europe" for unqualified injectors

Scotland has been named the ‘worst country in Europe’ for unqualified injectors administering aesthetic procedures.

A recent BBC News article highlights the UK's concerning lack of regulation when it comes to injectable treatments like dermal filler. Unlike other countries around the world, the UK does not have regulations permitting only trained healthcare professionals to administer injectable treatments.

Woman receiving filler injections. Dangers of unqualifies injectors
Woman receiving filler injection

Scotland finds itself under the microscope due to the fact we also lack a ban on under 18s receiving these treatments. This is in contrast to England who have had a ban in place since 2021.

The concerning lack of regulation means that virtually anyone in the UK can become an aesthetic injector. You are not legally required to have a medical background in order to be accepted to a training course. Not only that, but you can also administer treatments in a non-clinical setting such as a hairdressers or someone's home.

As a result of the unregulated landscape, complication rates are on the rise. These complications can be serious and include infections, necrosis, and blindness. The situation is further fuelled by social media advertising. Around 90% of people looking to get filler and Botox find unqualified injectors through platforms like Instagram.

In the BBC article, the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN) brought attention to the prevalence of unlicensed and counterfeit products, such as Botox. This poses further risks to patient safety.

Not only does the patient not know what is being injected into their body, but the ingredients often used in counterfeit products can cause adverse reactions within the body

Photo of Mr Taimur Shoaib Consultant Plastic Surgeon
Mr Taimur Shoaib, La Belle Forme Medical Director

La Belle Forme's Medical Director, Mr Shoaib, was featured in an article in Aesthetic Medicine on 22nd March 2024. Commenting on the current lack of regulation he added:

They call it an industry but actually we’re a medical speciality and this is why the situation is no better in the rest of the UK where unregulated lays can inject without consequences, when they cause complications to the unsuspecting public.

Licensed products go through rigorous testing before they are allowed to be used; every single batch of the product has to be tested and approved before being distributed.

Botulinum toxin (wrinkle relaxing injections) is a prescription-only medication, and acquiring the toxin without a prescription is illegal. However, without robust regulation, it is very easy for unqualified injectors to order the toxin online from untrustworthy pharmacies.

In 2022 the Scottish government said it would aim to ensure that all cosmetic treatments were carried out by appropriately trained professionals, but no details have been published since.

If you are interested in getting these treatments done, it is essential you consider this information to keep yourself informed and safe. Before attending a practitioner ask yourself whether they are qualified to handle possible complications, if they administer treatments in a sterile clinical setting, or whether they are using legitimate, safe products.

 

Read the full BBC article

Find our more about choosing the right aesthetic injector 

Discover Mr Shoaib's full article