Dermal fillers and Botox are banned for under-18s from October 1. Following Royal Assent of a new piece of legislation, clinicians and dental professionals who treat youngsters face prosecution.
Botulinum toxin is a prescription-only medicine (POM) and must be prescribed by a registered doctor or dentist who has completed a full assessment of the patient.
Injectable medical fillers, on the other hand, do not require a prescription. Any dental professional who chooses to provide these treatments to patients must make sure they are trained, competent and indemnified to do so.
Offering a dentist’s perspective on the new law, Dr Sharon Kaur, who combines non-surgical facial aesthetics with dentistry, said: “I have been turning away under-18s for facial aesthetics for years and increasingly so over the last few, thanks to the rise of influencers and social media.
“I welcome the ban and only wish it had come sooner. Social media is so powerful; if we can create trends in minutes, we should be able to use the same platforms to educate our younger generations to value and appreciate what makes them unique. Having injectables is a decision too many people are making lightly; this cannot be compared to getting your nails done or having lash extensions.
“Also, being a mother of two means I know one day my children’s generation will have a responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of future generations. I want other practitioners, like me, to begin to make that change for them.
“For me, facial aesthetics and dentistry have always been about treating the person holistically.
“By this, I mean finding their motivation for improved health and aesthetic change and discussing openly why a person may not be managing their own oral health or why they are requesting facial aesthetics so far from their presenting appearance.
“Body dysmorphia is not a taboo topic in my clinic, and we need to ensure those patients we are treating for facial aesthetics are making the right decisions for them, enhancing and supporting their natural individual beauty and health.
“I have a quote on my wall that states, “Don’t be pretty like her, be pretty like you” and this is the language I use with my patients.’
The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021 was first introduced into the House of Commons by Laura Trott MP on February 5, 2020 and its Second Reading took place on October 16 2020. On November 25, 2020, the Bill passed Committee Stage unamended. It received Royal Assent on April 29, 2021 and will come into force on October 1, 2021.
Coventry-based Dr Kaur is a Save Face Accredited Practitioner and was awarded “Excellence” status earlier this year, plus she is an Educational Supervisor for Health Education England and a registered mentor.
Most recently, she was appointed a Clinical Advisor for NHS England and in this role works closely with the Performance Advisory Group.