Botox | Where's The 'Line' Between Beauty & Medicine?


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The Ed.

Well-Known Member
Oct 19, 2011
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SalonGeek HQ
It's a battle that's been raging longer than the one in Middle Earth except instead of Sauron and Gandalf we've got the medical profession vs. the beauty industry. The problem? Should beauty therapists be allowed to inject dermal fillers and botulinium toxins?

Funnily enough, The Consulting Room, the UK's largest and longest standing cosmetic surgery, non-surgical medical aesthetic and beauty treatment information website, asked this exact question in a published poll last year. The results were clear: 88% of people said no. Over two hundred people took part in the poll, the majority of whom were doctors, nurses, dentists, surgeons and manufacturers and suppliers.

The Consulting Room said, "What's interesting is that several large manufacturers and suppliers were askied by The Consulting Room whether they support beauty therapists and other non-medical practitioners to use their products. While some refused to answer, other large manufacturers and distributors were firmly against it."

Now, let's not pretend that the manufacturer's concern is all about the consumer. There's no doubt they'd make more money from agreeing to sell to beauty therapists, but they'd potentially lose a lot more if they found themselves being sued by a unhappy customer who suffers problems as a result of a treatment administered by a non-medical professional to whom they sold the product.

The poll was sparked after the Cosmetic Treatments and Injectables Association (CTIA) openly challenged the Independent Healthcare Advisory Service's 'Treatments You Can Trust' scheme which refused to include beauty therapists in its quality assurance register for cosmetic injectable providers. Indeed, BABTAC feel that beauty therapists should be able to administer botox and fillers and are working hard to create a training scheme resulting in a standard qualification - one which protects not just the client but also the beauty professional.

Julie Speed, General Manager of BABTAC says, "BABTAC are developing a specialised Level 4 course to ensure that the public can have full confidence in a safe and effective aesthetic treatment from a specialised aesthetic practitioner with tailored training." Indeed, BABTAC believe that this will be more than sufficient to put beauty therapists on a level with medical professionals. "Whilst medical training with filler specifics is obviously proficient, beauty therapists who carry out these treatments usually have many years of experience in the industry, along with qualifications in anatomy and physiology of the face and body."

There's no doubt that 'many years experience' counts for something but does it mean that they can be counted as 'qualified'? Well, when BABTAC gets all the training and standards in place, they will technically be qualified in the process of injecting fillers and botox. Personally, I think it's perfectly possible for beauty therapists to be qualified to a level that makes the administering of fillers and botox safe but is it that simple? Unfortunately, no.

Dr Darren McKeown makes a good point. "The CTIA feel they have a right to practice cosmetic medicine, in their own words, to improve consumer choice. I think this highlights a fundamental mistake - a failing to realise that people who are undergoing medical procedures are not consumers but patients. Patients come with a variety of medical histories, which must be fully assessed and considered before undertaking a procedure - something which a beautician cannot do."

And it's not only a 'patient's' history that matters. What happens if the treatment goes wrong in some way? If a person has a reaction to the drugs, are beauty professionals trained to respond effectively? What if potential complications emerge such as infections, granulomes or skin necrosis - all possible problems. Beauty therapists are not able to prescribe antibiotics to treat these issues and some argue that this has to preclude them from being able to administer such treatments.

There's no doubt that this is a key issue in the beauty industry today and any decision will go some way to either defining or blurring the lines between what counts as beauty and what counts as medicine.

In the meantime, we want to know what you think? Are you a beauty professional that administers botox? Would you be happy to receive botox or filler treatments from non-medical professionals? Do you think that a BABTAC designed qualification will be sufficient? Would you consider getting qualified or should we leave the injectables to the medical professionals?

Let us know...

Until then...geek on!

The Ed.


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Well, as there is a total of 0 (zero) replies to The Ed's post, I'll pick up the baton and run with this .... though I guess we are all argued out about this subject - or we are all a bit shy of showing our true feelings. I don't know. To some extent I feel the same and have a case of 'topic exhaustion' myself.

However, the following is a post I submitted to Consulting Rooms website back in 2011 and it reveals some of what I think, though the subject really deserves a much more exhaustive discussion.

"What strikes me as I read this argument, and it is an observation I can make when reading most literature that pertains to 'Beauty' Therapists, is that there is no definition of who or what constitutes a 'beauty' therapist. Surely, if there is to be debate on whether or not therapists can administer injectables, we should be identifying what the medical profession considers to be 'beauty'. That is to say, there is a large number of very proficient, well-qualified and experienced skincare therapists who practice a range of advanced procedures, not necessarily injectables, with consummate professionalism and knowledge. I count myself among them. I trained at one of the capital's premier colleges (now with University Status) for a Higher National Diploma (not to be confused with the new 'diplomas' which are NVQ's in all but name). This was equivalent to the first two years of a degree (currently regarded as Level 5)and is now replaced by the Foundation Degree. Subsequently I studied to teach with a Cert. Ed. and returned to the London College of Fashion later as a lecturer on the FD course.

Are you, or the public, aware of the degree of differentiation to be found in education throughout the cosmetics industry? I do not believe so. I have had over 15 years of experience in electrolysis, advanced electrolysis and more recently micropigmentation and non-laser tattoo removal. I chose to follow this path because I truly have an interest in the skin and its various conditions. I did not enter my profession - and I do regard what I do as professional - purely for monetary gain. Am I really to believe that the plethora of Drs and RN's who advertise their aesthetic clinics are doing so for any other reason? Sure, we all need to earn a living. But injectables has become a bandwagon and there's a lot of unscrupulous practitioners who have jumped on it. Yes, I admit it, 'beauty' therapists included. Ironically, my initial choice of career had been nursing but I found that the doctors were unremittingly critical of the nurses lower level of education.... It is all so much like the sketch where John Cleese is upper class, the next bloke down is middle class, and so on.
Personally, I have no interest in administering fillers or 'wrinkle relaxers' and I do not believe that under-qualified persons should be offering these treatments. But I do object to being excluded from having the choice to administer these products because I am not INCLUDED in the group of doctors and nurses - a large number of whom have become involved in the aesthetics industry only because of its lucrative nature. However, perhaps the whole matter will become a moot point as currently I think I see the first few drops of saturation. How many vials of Botox or Hyaluronic Acid can the average British town consume? And are you not, if truth be told, all waiting for the next 'big' thing in any case? For a truly level playing field, there should be one regulatory body for these cosmetic procedures and eligibility should perhaps depend on a 'points' system AND evidence of specific study in the field of facial anatomy and physiology. I at least want a nurse who knows my cervix from my corrugator."
I would never send my daughter, sister, mother or friend to a beauty therapist for botox or filler treatments.

I wouldn't care how qualified they are in skin or laser treatments, I want to know that the person working on my face or the face of someone I care about is medical all the way through.

That's it.

Peace and respect

In truth, that's my point too. My argument is how do ANY of us know how exactly HOW qualified even our medical practitioner are? A year out of college? Two? What was the duration and depth of the aesthetics course they took? Until that part of the industry is thoroughly regulated, we are all at risk of receiving less than perfect treatments and aftercare.

More peace and respect...
In truth, that's my point too. My argument is how do ANY of us know how exactly HOW qualified even our medical practitioner are? A year out of college? Two? What was the duration and depth of the aesthetics course they took? Until that part of the industry is thoroughly regulated, we are all at risk of receiving less than perfect treatments and aftercare.

More peace and respect...

:cool: xx
I think it depends on the level of training. Some RN have also only had one days training in administering these treatments but they will have had medical training. If a course can be developed which is extremely stringent and turns out competent practitioners then I say yes. Of course many of the medical profession will be against it - either for protectionism or because they truly do not understand that there is a group of very responsible and professional BT's that have the academic ability to be very proficient in this area. It is this I feel needs to be developed.

In the last 30 years the role of the BT has changed dramatically with many different treatments being offered due to advancement in beauty and medical technologies leaving the definitions of the profession blurred. The role of therapist needs to be redefined and registration needs to follow. We are the last of the 'caring' professions that work intimately on people's bodies for their well being - some treatments incorrectly performed do cause damage. The barrage of one day courses are not suitable to inspire confidence with the general public or the medical profession. I feel it is this that actually needs to be addressed first - definition of role and registration to protect the profession and the public.

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