Regulation may be changing for non-surgical cosmetic procedures in the UK

Here’s what you need to know

On the 2nd August 2022, The UK Health and Social Care Committee released their report on the impact of poor body image on physical and mental health. Within it, they addressed several important topics to improve the body image of people living in the UK, including adults and young people alike. Worryingly, they found that 80% of respondents to the survey felt that their body image has a negative impact on their mental health, and 61% said that it negatively impacts their physical health.

One of the areas of concern in the report was the lack of regulation around non-surgical cosmetic procedures, with calls to the government to tighten these regulations over the coming year. The report noted that back in 2013, a review was conducted by Sir Bruce Keogh who found that non-surgical cosmetic procedures were almost entirely unregulated in the UK. In 2022, not much has changed.

Many people with lived experience of cosmetic procedures and body image concerns gave evidence as part of the review, including one woman who described her experience of the consultation process for non-surgical cosmetic procedures:

“Literally, you walk into these places and it is like a conveyor belt. You have 10 to 15 minutes for a procedure that, from start to finish, should take at least an hour, to really survey the person’s face and understand their reasons for wanting the procedures to be done.”

And she wasn’t the only one. The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners reported that 22% of people seeking non-surgical procedures did not have any consultation, while 70% had a consultation which lasted less than 20 minutes. During this short time frame, almost 25% of people were not asked about their medical history before having a procedure and 80% were not asked about their mental health history.

Mental wellbeing and self-perception is a critical predictor of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with cosmetic treatment. By neglecting to address emotional factors within the consultation, cosmetic professionals may be opening themselves up to risk of complaints, litigation or reputational damage, and placing the client at risk of worsening mental health or a poor treatment outcome.

Some of the key recommendations for reform arising from the review included:

  • A full medical and mental health history be taken for anyone considering a non-surgical cosmetic procedure.
  • A mandatory 48 hour cooling off period between providing consent and having the procedure, to ensure that patients have enough time to consider the benefits and risks and make an informed decision.
  • Minimum standards for the premises where non-surgical procedures can be conducted, to ensure that these are clean and sterile environments.
  • Minimum standards of training for people delivering non-surgical injectables, with this including training in the psychological factors affecting the cosmetic patient, as well as how to implement mental health screening during consultation.

At ReadyMind, we are pleased to see steps being taken to enhance patient safety and satisfaction in the cosmetic industry. We are here to help cosmetic practitioners upskill in understanding the psychology of the cosmetic patient, as well as providing easy to use, automated assessment tools to assess the patient’s wellbeing and mental health prior to proceeding with treatment. Take a look at our range of services, or get in contact with us to see how we can help you prepare for potential regulatory changes.

  1. Health and Social Care Committee (2022). The impact of body image on mental and physical health, House of Commons, https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5803/cmselect/cmhealth/114/report.html
  2. Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (2022). Submission to the Health and Social Care Committee Review, https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/41949/pdf/
  3. Brunton, G., Paraskeva, N., Caird, J., Bird, K. S., Kavanagh, J., Kwan, I., … & Thomas, J. (2014). Psychosocial predictors, assessment, and outcomes of cosmetic procedures: a systematic rapid evidence assessment. Aesthetic plastic surgery, 38(5), 1030-1040.
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