The Risks of High Street Anti-Ageing Injectables

Social media is addictive, entertaining and also fun, but sadly irresponsible and unaccountable when it comes to promoting celebrities and what they have done. The belief that you too can be like a celebrity if you follow their example is leading vulnerable young people into taking unnecessary risks.

There are reports of potential patients turning up to their consultation with selfie photos of themselves that have then been altered with filters to make them look like the Kardashian's or what they believe to be “better versions of themselves”

But this industry is new, it isn’t properly regulated, and means that just about anyone can legally inject fillers. With the availability and ease of internet shopping it is not hard to get hold of dermal fillers BUT there will be no guarantee that the product is genuine, is safe and should even be injected.

Untrained therapists or beauticians who are administering lip, chin or cheek fillers can go on a one-day course where the training might just involve watching a treatment and then the next day promoting their services on social media. There is nothing to deter the poorly qualified practitioner since, if they make mistakes, there is no regulatory body and these patients can pitch up at A&E or seek help from more appropriately trained and experienced practitioners hoping that the mistake can be fixed.

Doctors are accountable - if they do not take proper care of the patient, they can be reported to the GMC (General Medical Council).  The doctor could lose their license, their right to practise, their right to legitimately work.  Few doctors would take that chance but for a non-medic, there's no governing body or trading standards.

The GMC take a very dim view of doctors who might offer treatments as a prize on social media.  “Like and share to win these lips” can result in “like and share to risk losing your licence to practice” if the GMC get notified of this. There are reasons behind all the rules and regulations that doctors are obliged to follow and these reasons are based on patient safety and what is considered to be responsible behaviour.

There are no age limits in place either, young people are especially at risk.

Most responsible medical practitioners would stipulate an ethical age limit of 18 but for it should be borne in mind that the face is still developing at this stage up until the age of 21.

Doctors are legally and ethically bound to carry insurance (which carries a hefty premium) but untrained therapists do not.  Is this because they are more likely to make mistakes or simply because they are aware that mistakes can happen? Does anybody really respect or trust drivers who get behind the wheel of a car without insurance?

Currently there is much campaigning for legislation to be introduced and unsafe practice to be outlawed but for now it is “cowboy country” and anything goes..

Just because something is legal, there is no guarantee that it is safe.  The possible consequences from having dermal fillers injected into your body can be catastrophic if something goes wrong.  Without being too alarmist, those risks include hematomas (severe bruising) infections, abscess and tissue necrosis (where blood vessels become blocked with filler leading the tissue in that area to die. Worst case scenario you could go blind or suffer a stroke.

Before just letting someone inject you with a substance ask yourself this “would you let your hairdresser give you your travel vaccine?”  Most people say “No!!” and I would question “Why not?”.  I have not yet heard a response to this other than a realisation that they just had not imagined that anything could go wrong.

So surely if you are prepared to spend money on dermal filler treatments then you want to be as sure as possible of a good outcome?  It’s not that medically qualified practitioners are immune from having a complication BUT they are definitely more competent at recognising there is a problem and therefore able to do something quickly before things get out of hand.

Yes, the doctor providing the treatment will not be offering the cheapest price – they have too much to lose by offering cheap unsafe products purchased from the internet.  The doctors have to be properly trained before they can even get the expensive insurance.  They have years of experience behind them which enables them to, at best, avoid and, if required, to recognise a complication. Complications need to be recognised and treated immediately if there is to be a chance of a complete recovery.  Infections and vascular occlusions (where the blood supply to the tissue is blocked by the filler) need a quick response or the tissue will die and could leave scarring.

So why take a chance?  Why not choose the practitioner who has the most to lose if they don’t take good care of you? Just as you would not want an inexperienced pilot to be flying your plane, you don’t want an amateur ruining your face.

Book an appointment with our medically trained staff today.

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