Surgeons across the UK are lining up to criticise a new government initiative, backed by medical regulators and the cosmetic industry, which seeks to clampdown on cosmetic surgeries such as Botox. The government is seeking to ensure that consumers have access to credible facilities to receive cosmetic procedures by listing clinics with qualified staff and appropriate facilities. Critics however have said that the measure does not do enough to stamp out “rogue” providers of cosmetic procedures.

Currently the Care Quality Commission, which oversees medical treatment in the UK, has no control over procedures like Botox injections. Roughly 5,000 facilities across the UK provide these cosmetic procedures to over 200,000 patients a year. As a result, the procedures can be provided in places like beauty salons where the staff have no formal training in medicine, dentistry, or nursing. If the procedures are wrongly-applied they can cause health problems and good hygiene is needed to reduce the risk of infection.

The new initiative seeks to provide qualified clinics and professionals with a “Quality Assurance Mark” that will be backed up by a timetable of regular inspections. The initiative would establish a list of clinics that have qualified staff and clean facilities for consumers to choose from to ensure they receive proper treatment.

Cosmetic injections are designed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and the industry has experienced a 25% growth in the last year alone, making now the perfect time in the minds of many to tighten the regulation of the industry. Due to the growth of the industry, the government has recognised the need to regulate the procedures to safeguard patients. The programme has received an initial investment of 200,000 from the government to help launch the initiative.

Critics have slammed the new initiative though calling the plan an easy out for the government to wash its hands of industry regulation. A representative from Safer Cosmetic Surgery criticised the scheme stating that the only clinics likely to sign up for the programme are those that already meet the high safety requirements.

Supporters fired back though, believing that other measures contained within the initiative will serve to further prevent irresponsible providers from conducting cosmetic procedures. Supporters have said the “Quality Assurance Mark” will serve as an additional weapon for consumers against poor facilities and unqualified providers. The measure also seeks to make it harder for unqualified providers to get insurance coverage in hopes it will prevent places like nail bars and beauty salons from providing cosmetic injections.

According to a recent survey, non invasive procedures are on the rise.

A survey released by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) reveals that the number of non invasive cosmetic procedures rose 47 percent last year.

The growing trend of using non invasive procedures to look and feel refreshed is accounted for, mainly, by the state of the economy. According to 80 percent of the surgeons surveyed, many said their patients are choosing these procedures because, not only are they cheaper, they are needed to remain competitive in the workplace. According to the survey, roughly 36 percent of men and 18 percent of women report work related reasons for seeking cosmetic procedures.

According to the survey, the increase in non invasive surgeries was seen across the board with poly-l-lactic acid having the largest increase of 71 percent. Coming in close behind were chemical peels which were up 52 percent, hyaluronic acid up 48 percent and Botox up 45 percent.

Seventy-seven percent of surgeons agreed that their patients are also better educated about the different cosmetic procedures available to them. Many have done their research of the different physicians, pricing as well as recovery time in order to find the procedure best suited for their needs.

The president of the AAFPRS, Daniel Rousso said: “We are excited to see patients making educated choices. They are now open to newer, novel treatments and are making smart decisions that are tailored to their needs…the overall rise in these procedures also shows that more patients are trusting their face to facial plastic surgeons who are trained and focus solely on the face and neck. Because of this, patients are seeing better outcomes.”

Also uncovered in this survey was the fact that women are still more likely than men to undergo cosmetic procedures; women account for 84 percent of surgical as well as non-surgical cosmetic procedures. What remained unchanged, however, was the fact that the number of men and women choosing surgery for reconstructive purposes are equal.

Not surprising is the fact that, according to the AAFPRS, there has been a 91 percent increase in the number of men having Botox since 2000.