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Black Market Botox: Women Targeted Through Social Media

Some beauticians and Botox practitioners are targeting women and girls through social media, often using cheaper versions of Botox that aren’t licensed for use in the UK, according to an investigation by The Times.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has responded to the findings, saying that they would “take appropriate regulatory action where any non-compliance is identified.” 

Sajid Javid, the health secretary, also provided a comment, calling the practices “totally unacceptable,” adding that officials were looking into whether legal changes were needed “to ensure no one is harmed.”

The investigation found evidence of beauticians using social media to “advertise facial injections using Botulax, Innotox and ReNTox, products from South Korea that are not licensed in Britain,” as well as suppliers agreeing to “sell unlicensed versions of Botox” without questioning how the product would be used.

The Times also spoke to several women who reported being “scarred for life,” after being injected with “unlicensed or illegitimate products.” 

One woman said, “These marks on my face will never go […] I’m 41 and I should be in my prime. I’ve now got a job in a salon three days a week to get me back out there slowly. But you’re working in front of a mirror, all the time. You can’t get away from it.”

In 2021, it became a criminal offence to administer fillers to people under 18. Laura Trott, who submitted the Bill, told GLAMOUR, “no child needs cosmetic Botox or fillers,” before explaining that, “it was perfectly legal for them to go into a clinic or someone’s home and just have them. 

“And these treatments in the hands of the wrong providers can permanently disfigure kids, they can blind them. There are really serious repercussions when the treatments go wrong.”

According to The Times, Save Face, a register of accredited practitioners expressed concern about the unlicensed use of illegitimate botulinum toxins, with its latest published figures showing that in 2020 it received 270 complaints related to these procedures, up from 210 in 2019.

For more information about finding accredited non-surgical cosmetic practitioners, visit Save Face, which has a Government-approved register of practitioners. 

For more from Glamour UK’s Lucy Morgan, follow her on Instagram @lucyalexxandra.

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