By Matthew Bates and Kathryn Salt, medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell

The Times recently reported on ‘Black Market Botox’, turning attention once again to practitioners with no medical qualifications administering variants of the toxin which may not even be licensed for use in the UK.

These practitioners often use social media to advertise their products, fuelling an already booming industry and attempting to instil public trust and confidence in such treatments. Unfortunately however, we are increasingly seeing and hearing of unsatisfactory and sometimes dangerous outcomes, resulting in long lasting and sometimes permanent injury.

What is Botox?

Botox or ‘Botulinum Toxin’ is a drug that affects nerves and causes muscle paralysis.

What can Botox be used for?

Botox has many uses; not only can it reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles, it can also be used to treat neck spasms, excessive sweating, an overactive bladder or even a lazy eye.

Do practitioners need to be trained to use Botox and are they regulated?

Licensed Botox types should be prescribed by a medical prescriber and administered under their supervision. Unfortunately however the industry is currently unregulated and this has contributed to a rise of practitioners with no medical qualifications and little training offering treatments. 

Non-qualified practitioners can use ‘Black Market Botox’ which is not licensed and sometimes not even safety tested. Despite pressure on ministers to change the law to restrict the administering of injectables (including Botox) to qualified medical practitioners, no real progress has been made.

What should I do before considering whether to undergo Botox injections?

Always check the training, qualifications and experience of the practitioner providing the treatment along with details of their insurance cover. Always ask for confirmation of the name of the product being used, if its licensed and how and where it has been made. It is also worthwhile asking about risks and side effects and what will happen if things go wrong, and how your practitioner would deal with this.

You can find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people following cosmetic procedures at our dedicated cosmetic surgery claims section.