Should Botox and Fillers be Sold to the General Public from an Exhibition Stand?

Posted on the 05 March 2012 at 14:27

My daughter is in her first year of training to be a beauty therapist – and it’s great to see how enthusiastic she is about taking the first steps of entering into her chosen career. She’s also learning to drive, so to give her some experience, I was chauffeur driven a good part of the way on our trip from Rugby down to the mecca for beauty therapists, Professional Beauty, at the EXCEL in London.

Although I have been involved in many different aspects of the medical aesthetic market for a number of years, the day was devoted to my daughter’s agenda – and what she wanted to see and buy there.

We visited the literally hundreds of stands devoted to waxing, spray tanning, and nails (core treatments in the beauty salon market) and my daughter educated me on the difference between minx and gel nails, and why she thought honey wax was better than cream wax!

Then, buried amongst the exhibitors selling these types of products, we came across a nurse offering cut price Botox and dermal filler injections from her exhibition stand. Now this is something that I do know something about, and although I have seen it before at Professional Beauty, I was hoping that the organisers, who are trying to entice in the medical community with a designated exhibition area and separate Aesthetic Medicine conference, would have restricted this type of practice.

However, this was not the case – and in the European Spa section of the exhibition (interestingly none of these companies were situated in the “Aesthetic Medicine” section of the conference), we came across two other companies selling injectable cosmetic treatments off their stands.


Cosmetic Injectables being offered on exhibition stand at Professional Beauty 2012


Aesthetic Academy were doing a roaring trade with women queuing for his services starting from just £95.00. This company appears to be run by Dr Stephen Kaldor who, according to his website “is  a highly experienced cosmetic Dental Surgeon who branched into Facial Aesthetics 6 years ago. In addition, he is actively involved in the teaching of Facial Aesthetics  in the UK and abroad and is the first Dentist in the UK to be appointed to the examining board as a Validator and Examiner for the recently launched Vistabel(cosmetically licenced Botox).” Dr Kaldor also appears to provide cosmetic injectable treatments for Transform Medical Group and several other clinics.

If I was “shopping around on price” Dr Helena Benson, a regular at this event, might not seem so attractive as her prices for “Anti-frowning injections” started at £120, with Juvederm at £220 and a special show offer on Radiesse reduced from £500 to £390 if I handed my credit card over and popped on the couch for a treatment infront of a watching crowd.

Dr Helena Benson is the founder of the Advanced Beauty Clinic. On her website,, it states that “she qualified as a medical doctor in 1986 and has worked at the Hale Clinic, Harley Street and has practised natural medicine and in the mid nineties she became involved in anti-ageing.” You’ll also see from her site that you can visit her for treatment at: The Ideal Home Exhibition, Earls Court, London 16th March - 1st April 2012, Stand No: 2R62 and Vitality Boutique, Blue Water Shopping Centre,  Stand No: B8 26th April - 29th April 2012

Or, if you’re looking for something a little more private - If you organise an Anti-Ageing Party “In the comfort of your own home” you’ll also receive a free treatment of your choice.

OK – You May Say – Why Should I Care!!

Well, sometimes I wonder if I should! However, there are two main reasons: whatever people say about the safety record of injectable cosmetics, there are very real dangers that can occasionally crop up and those who attend medical conferences, read medical journals and who talk to experienced practitioners and insurance companies know that these can sometimes be very distressing for the person who has been treated.

Selling medical treatments from an exhibition stand where people read and sign a consent form with minimal consultation (or presumably any follow up if there are problems) further trivialises the potential dangers involved.

We could also debate the legalities of advertising POM’s from a trade stand and the ethics of incentivising prescription treatments with special show offers.

However, and more importantly, when beauty therapists and salon owners see these treatments being offered in this way, it encourages them to think that you can incorporate these into their own treatment menu with no or minimal risk. Not only that – many are also being encouraged to “cut out the medic” and learn these treatments themselves.
BABTAC – The British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology who claim to be “the longest established and most widely recognised membership organisation in the beauty industry, representing highly trained professionals who care about their clients” is one of the organisations supporting this. Julie Speed, BABTAC Director said in the February/March edition of their members magazine “Vitality” that “BABTAC is keen to be involved in the development of a level 4/5 qualification for suitable practitioners, including therapists, to train practitioners to have all the necessary skills to carry out safe and effective injectable cosmetic procedures”.

I’m sure that the organisers or Professional Beauty will justify allowing practitioners to promote injectable cosmetics from exhibition stands by saying that it’s a closed industry event and that therapists, students and salon owners find this a popular feature. Similarly the practitioners providing the treatments will probably claim that they’ve never had a problem or complaint from anyone who has been treated off a stand in this way.

However, when my 17 year old daughter asked me if she could have Botox at one of the stands – seemingly thinking that this was akin to having her nails painted at a previous exhibition booth, it does concern me!

Sadly, it appears to me that year on year the cosmetic injectable section of the aesthetic medicine market really is now just “all about the money” rather than adhering to standards of delivery and safety that certain segments of the industry are striving for. (Links to other blogs discussing this).

If you have an opinion, why not let us know in our survey, or write a comment below.

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Blog Comment(s) [12]

wrong on so many levels

Fab Equizi

Well said Ron!! - it makes a mockery of companies like my own - who are trying to adhere to MHRA guidelines. We saw it happening last year - so much for medical consultation etc before treatment, as long as the client could remember the pin number for their credit card they could have a treatment there and then!!

Until there is a formal legal regulatory body with influence this will continue to happen.

Eve Montgomerie

Terrible. This should not be allowed considering that this is a POM and the show is open to non medical persons shouldn't we be looking to raise standards within our industry ?

Sharon King

We were there too and saw at least one stand offering training courses to beauty therapists for dermal fillers. Beauty therapists are specialists in their own field and I wouldn't presume to say I could do their job but find it interesting that some of them think they can do my job by doing NVQ level 4/ the way, what NVQ level is nursing or medicine or dentistry ranked as??

Cathy Walker

Absolutelt disgraceful. I questioned this "well respected" dentist at such an event some time ago in regards to patient aftercare and informed consent. He did not feel there was any issue and was quite happy to devalue and trivialise our industry in this way. I also discussed this with an Allergan Rep, who was equally dismissive and actually justified such practise. I wonder why?

Hayley Lyon RGN NIP

However we see this now all too frequently in Hairdressers, Tanning Salons, Nail Bars, Pubs and Hotels - are Exhibition Stands any different from these venues?

Cheryl Barton CEO AESTHETiKA

I believe that these exhibitors wouldn't have a leg to stand on based on the recent ASA ruling on the Groupon offer from Bath Facial Aesthetics, who never mentioned Botox and used acceptable terms in their advert such as 'facial injectable treatments' but because they mentioned things like 'areas' and 'crow's feet' and the prices quoted matched prices on their website for Botox treatments the ASA deemed that it was obvious they were promoting Botox even though they never actually referred to it in any way other than as facial injectable treatments.

See link: ASA Adjudication against Bath Facial Aesthetics via Groupon

Therefore the fact that people could see what these practitioners were doing meant it was obvious it was Botox so it was promotion to the public. Guilty.

Lorna Jackson |

"We do not support the sale of any injectable product to the public as this clearly is not appropriate."

"At Allergan, we have always advocated that consumers should seek treatments for injectable procedures from trained and qualified medical aesthetic healthcare practitioners (doctors, nurses, dentists) and therefore we did not participate, directly or indirectly, in the Professional Beauty conference. We believe that only trained and qualified medical aesthetics healthcare practitioners have the necessary training to complete these medical procedures: they are trained to understand how aging can impact the anatomy and physiology of the face; they have the proper training for counseling and advising patients on treatment options as well as treatment risks; they have the necessary skills to deal with unwanted effects."

"Over the years, we have worked with a number of experts around the UK to train other medical aesthetic healthcare practitioners. While contracts and protocols cover Allergan-sponsored events, we have no link to their other professional engagements. "

Response From Allergan

I love the way a company called 'Botastic' is claiming the moral high ground on this!

With a name like that it does seem that on some level you do believe this is A LOT closer to having your nails done than it is to surgery, and to be honest I actually agree. In terms of safety it is a similar risk to hair dye -the biggest risk is severe allergic reaction0 (the chances of that with bot-A is tiny) and your other risks are aesthetically unappealing but temporary. There is no evidence that Dr Kaldor wasn't consulting properly or following up his patients, so this is just snobbery.

Most of the opinion on here is based more on self serving protectionism and competition than it is on dangers to the public.

Dr Susan Dennim

We were there and saw this practice too. When we enquired about the treatment we were very much encouraged into the stand. When we started asking about informed consent, prescription governance, patient information and education as well as follow up care, we were quickly moved on !!

Michael Wilshaw

have to agree with most of the comments. Beauty therapists shouldnt be allowed to do any botox or inject dermal fillers. I know Hamilton and Fraser dont allow beautisions but there are some insurance companies that still do

Jacqueline Naeini

As a long term client/patient of Steven Kaldor (many years) I can absolutely attest to his expertise and professionalism... and trust me, I am the first to make complaints when something is not right. My treatments are also done for medical reasons and I have seen him perform both medical and aesthetic treatments on numerous other women and men. I have also seen him decline to treat many patients where he is not satisfied as to the efficacy of the treatment. Whilst I love the aesthetic benefits of his treatment, he also treats for a neurological problem and pain. He is my God-send... and I have tried many alternative practitioners when I couldn't get to him for treatment. I no longer live in the UK but have just travelled back to London for treatment. I have actually conceded that there is no point to go anywhere else; I will be travelling from the Middle East three or four times a year from now on so that I can actually have proper treatment. He has my unreserved recommendation.