BCAM Calls for More Investigations Into the Illegal Treatment of Under 18s

The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM)
By The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM)

The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) is the UK’s leading representative body for doctors and dentists practising aesthetic medicine.

The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) has applauded The City of Wolverhampton Council for its approach to illegal aesthetic treatments and urges other councils to follow suit.

Following an undercover investigation of businesses illegally offering botulinum toxin and dermal filler procedures to those aged under 18,1 Wolverhampton’s Trading Standards department has issued written warnings with the threat of further enforcement action in future.

The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 20212 made it a criminal offence to make arrangements, book an appointment or administer Botox or fillers to anyone under 18. Of 18 businesses contacted, it found that eight said ID was not required for a consultation. Three out of the eight businesses said they would arrange a consultation despite knowing the caller was under 18. BCAM is now encouraging other Councils and Trading Standards departments to learn from Wolverhampton’s approach and carry out their own investigations.

President of BCAM, Dr Catherine Fairris, says: “We are delighted to learn that The City of Wolverhampton Council is taking these concerns seriously and taking action where necessary. While its investigation highlights the issue, it’s important to recognise that the problem isn’t isolated to one city – reports from our members tell us that illegal and unsafe use of aesthetic procedures is rife across the UK and needs to be addressed urgently to protect our most vulnerable.”

BCAM urges local authorities to look at the resources available to them to help eradicate illegal activity across the country.

In the 2022-2023 financial year, the Government has determined that it will pay grants totalling £1,456,699 
to local authorities3 across England to support them with expenditure lawfully incurred because of the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021. The Government has also issued guidance for
local authorities4 and police to use to successfully implement the legislation. This includes scenario-based examples to help identify an offence and legitimate defences available.

Dr Fairris emphasises: “With a clearly identified problem and resources available, we at BCAM see no reason why investigations into the illegal administration of botulinum toxin and fillers to children are not being  carried out across England. Unethical businesses are exposing children to unnecessary risk of serious  complications such as infection. They may also be perpetuating poor body image and placing undue pressure on those who do not need these treatments.”

BCAM wishes to highlight that aesthetic procedures carried out by experienced and qualified medical professionals, using evidence-based products, come with minimal risk. Treatments should only be offered to consenting adults after a detailed assessment and consultation. Members of the public can find reputable medically-qualified aesthetic practitioners via our BCAM members list here: https://bcam.ac.uk/patients/clinicians/


1. City of Wolverhampton Council, Undercover operation finds illegal cosmetic practices on offer in the city (UK: City of Wolverhampton Council, 2023) <https://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/news/undercover-operation-finds-illegal-cosmetic-practices-offer-city>

2. Legislation, Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021 (UK: Legislation.gov.uk, 2021) <https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2021/19/contents/enacted> 
3. Gov.uk, The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act grant determination 2022-2023

(UK: gov.uk, 2022) <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/botulinum-toxin-and-cosmetic-fillers-children-act-grant-2022-to-2023/the-botulinum-toxin-and-cosmetic-fillers-children-act-grant-determination-2022-to-2023>

4. Gov.uk, Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers for under 18s: guidance for enforcement officers (UK: gov.uk, 2021) <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/botulinum-toxin-and-cosmetic-fillers-for-under-18s-guidance-for-enforcement-officers/botulinum-toxin-and-cosmetic-fillers-for-under-18s-guidance-for-enforcement-officers>

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