New Laws on "Botox" and filler injections for under 18s

Thursday, October 7, 2021

New Legislation which come into effect from October 2021 has made it illegal to administer botulinum toxin (commonly known as ‘Botox’®) or a cosmetic filler treatment to a person under 18, unless needed for clinical reasons and approved by a doctor.

The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021 now means that it is also against the law to make arrangements or book an appointment to provide these treatments or for parents or guardians to give permission to anyone under the age of 18.

The age restriction has been set at 18 years as it aligns with age restrictions in England on other comparable body modifications which carry health risks, such as tattooing, sunbed use and teeth whitening.

The only exception to this is that registered doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists can still provide the treatments to under 18s, but only in cases where the treatment has been approved by a doctor.

The purpose of this new law is to safeguard children from the potential health risks of botulinum toxins and cosmetic fillers.
The new law affects everybody in England, not just businesses. If a business or private individual provides or arranges for one of the treatments to be given to someone under 18, they can now be prosecuted and fined.

The two products covered by this new law are:

Botulinum toxins
These 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
These are gel-like substances commonly injected into the lips or face to add volume and plump the injected area. They may also be used in hands, feet, or for ‘non-surgical nose jobs’.

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. Many practitioners choose not to perform these procedures on young people, but because the law did not expressly prohibit it, it was possible for a person under the age of 18 to undergo these procedures. Under these new laws, this is no longer the case.

From 1 October 2021 any client who wants a botulinum toxin or filler treatment for a cosmetic purpose, can expect to be asked to provide proof of age by the practitioner or business both before an appointment is made and again before the procedure is done.

A business should ask to see a passport, driving licence, photographic ID card or any other officially recognised document that can prove his or her age.

It is not enough for the practitioner or business to decide that the young person looks to be over 18 – careful steps must be taken to check a clients age and ensure proof of age documents are checked to make sure the person is 18 or over to avoid breaking the law. If found guilty of either offence a person, business owner or body corporate is liable to an unlimited fine.

Cllr Michael Green Health & Wellbeing Executive member commented "This law has been introduced to protect young adults from the administering of "Botox" and cosmetic fillers for purely cosmetic reasons. The new law will safeguard children from the potential health risks of botulinum toxins, (commonly known as Botox and usually associated with anti-ageing and wrinkle treatments) and cosmetic fillers. Until now the industry has not been properly regulated and young adult consumers have been turning to Botox and fillers in search of the perfect look."

Cllr Peter Buckley Communities & Culture Executive Member added "The age restriction has been set at 18 years aligning it with age restrictions on other comparable body modifications which carry health risks, such as tattooing, sunbed use and teeth whitening. The prohibition aims to reinforce existing good practice within the cosmetics industry. Lancashire Trading Standards Officers are writing to practitioners to ensure they are aware of this new legal requirement"

Tagged as: Consumer Advice

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