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Sat 17 October 2020:

Collins said social media filters which make girls look like they have had procedures were also encouraging them to get treatments so that they looked more like their filtered images

A ban on children receiving Botox or cosmetic fillers has moved closer to becoming law, as MPs warned of the “Love Island effect” on youngsters.

Conservative MP Laura Trott (Sevenoaks) wants to bring the procedures in line with other body modification techniques, such as tattooing, by banning them for under-18s.

Her Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill seeks to prohibit the procedures for children in England if they are for purely aesthetic purposes and not approved by a doctor.

Politicians told of girls coming close to having their lips partially amputated following complications, and called for greater regulation of a sector that industry experts described as a “free for all”.

“We must stop the dangerous and unnecessary non-medical procedures that can ruin children’s lives,” said Conservative parliamentarian Laura Trott, who is spearheading a bill to criminalise the provision of Botox and fillers to people under age 18.

She said one survey suggested 100,000 people under 16 had had cosmetic treatments.

“The absence of a legal age limit for Botox and dermal fillers means any 15-year-old could walk into a shop and get their lips injected by someone with no qualifications whatsoever,” Trott told parliament.

Speaking earlier in the debate, Conservative MP Laura Farris (Newbury) said of why youngsters undergo the procedures: “They’re doing it because of a three-pronged assault they face from celebrities, from people who participate in reality TV shows, also from social media and I also have to say I think Instagram is particularly pernicious in this regard.”

Tory colleague Andrew Bowie (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) added: “There are also concerns over broadcasters and they too have a responsibility.

“Does she (Ms Farris) share my concerns over the so-called Love Island effect?

“Young children and teenagers are watching programmes looking at body images which are so far removed from reality that they’re doing great damage not only physically but mentally to children and young people.”

Ms Farris replied: “The fact is they’re completely blended as mediums and one who appears in one will also be present on the other.”

Introducing her Bill, Ms Trott said: “We can no longer allow the unscrupulous actions of some to impact on our children’s lives, and those administering the procedures must be held accountable.”

She added: “The most frequent reaction I have received in response to my Bill, is ‘Surely that is illegal already?’

“I join in this disbelief and this House must now put it right.”

Complaints of botched treatments have skyrocketed, according to Save Face, a national register of accredited practitioners which campaigns for strong regulation.

Director Ashton Collins said the craze for lip fillers was being driven by social media influencers and celebrities from shows including Love Island and Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

She said unscrupulous practitioners were flooding social media with unfeasibly cheap offers for multiple treatments, called “Kim Kardashian packages” and “Kylie Jenner packages”, alongside pictures of the celebrities.

 Girls think these are risk-free treatments like getting your nails or hair done, when in fact they are serious medical treatments that could cause horrible things if they go wrong.”

Collins said social media filters which make girls look like they have had procedures were also encouraging them to get treatments so that they looked more like their filtered images.

Save Face received 45 complaints of botched procedures on under-18s in 2019, up from nine in 2018. The youngest girls were 15 and almost all had found their treatments via social media.

Overall, Save Face received 1,617 complaints last year, most relating to untrained and uninsured practitioners.

Regulations in many European countries and the United States are far tighter than in Britain, where Collins said anyone could pick up a syringe, watch a YouTube video and set themselves up in business.

Although Botox is mostly used by older women, the anti-wrinkle treatment has become increasingly popular with very young women who hope it will prevent lines.

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