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Last Updated: Friday, 11 May 2007, 23:04 GMT 00:04 UK
Surgeons warn on salon treatments
Collagen injection in the lips
People are being urged to be cautious over salon treatments
People are being warned to avoid "medi-spas" offering procedures such as skin peels and Botox as well as standard beauty treatments.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) says untrained staff are often giving the treatments.

It is concerned about the government's recent decision to allow the cosmetic treatment industry to regulate itself.

Douglas McGeorge, head of BAAPS, said that meant consumers had to be extra careful about where they went.

The public should seek environments under the care of a properly qualified physician rather than at a shop or a hair salon
Douglas McGeorge,
British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

Medi-spas are facilities that traditionally offer beauty treatments such as facials, massages and hair removal, but they are increasingly offering medical procedures.

However BAAPS is warning there are no national standards for such treatments.

An expert working group on cosmetic surgery recommended in 2005 that the cosmetic treatment industry should be monitored by the Healthcare Commission.

But the government ruled last month that the industry be given the chance to regulate itself.

Lord Hunt said then: "Cosmetic surgery providers have shown real commitment to improving levels of quality and safety in this area and so I have decided to ask the industry to take the lead in further improving standards."

'Stop and think'

BAAPS president Mr McGeorge said the government's decision meant people seeking such treatments must follow a safety "checklist".

He said they should check:

  • Location - treatments should not take place in someone's home, a hotel room or at a party. Medical staff should always be on hand for the rare occasions that something goes wrong
  • Qualifications - should the team be carrying out this procedure?
  • Research - how effective is the treatment, is it right for you, and what are the potential benefits and side effects?
  • Safeguards - what can you do if you are unhappy with the result?

He said: "We just want people to stop and think and check that the people carrying out these procedures are properly trained.

"It's in your best interest to see someone who specialises in plastic surgery or dermatologic care when seeking medical - even if they're non-surgical - procedures."

He added: "The public should seek environments under the care of a properly qualified physician rather than at a shop or a hair salon - non-surgical does not mean non-medical.

"Injectables, peels and lasers should all be performed by a properly trained clinician, a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist.

"It is essential that people do their homework as these treatments can affect not only their appearance but health and safety as well."

Reaction risk

Sally Taber of the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services (IHAS), the body tasked with producing a set of industry standards, agreed patient safety had to be paramount.

The IHAS is in the process of deciding how it will accredit providers of cosmetic procedures, who would be able to carry a kitemark, and is likely to publish details in the summer.

Ms Taber said: "The situation as it stands at the moment is unsatisfactory.

"My grave concern is that anybody can have a reaction to a drug that's injected.

"We wouldn't want them to be in an area where there is no support or back-up if something were to happen, and these treatments should be given by people who are trained."

Botox 'needs better regulation'
25 Apr 07 |  Health

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