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Ban on Botox for under-18s to be considered as companies 'exploit' young people

Minister for Health Simon Harris says there’s “a desire by young men and women to be perfect, driven by social media”.

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THE DEPARTMENT OF Health is to look into whether the use of Botox and lip fillers should be banned for under-18s.

The cosmetic treatments have come under further scrutiny recently and Health Minister Simon Harris has now said that young people are being “exploited” by companies and providers.

A recent investigation by Noteworthy detailed the booming demand for lip and facial fillers in Ireland and noted that there are no limits on who can receive non-surgical treatments.

In a statement yesterday, Harris said that he has asked the department to look at whether there are any public health risks from these treatments.

“It is clear this is a growing industry across all age groups and all sexes. While the profession and the products are regulated, I am conscious that this is an industry that is continuing to grow and particularly worryingly, it is targeting young men and women,” the minister said.

There are a number of reasons for this including a desire by young men and women to be perfect, driven by social media. But there are also companies and professionals who are exploiting that for their own gain. Many of these products are being offered cheaply, without prior assessment of the person and by professionals who are not regulated in this country.

“There is a need to examine whether current regulations are sufficient or whether further regulation is required. This is not an issue solely confined to Ireland but one that I believe we need to address as a matter of priority.”

Read: The ugly side to dermal fillers: ‘Would you let your mechanic stick a needle in your face?’ >

“I have asked my department to look at all steps in this regard. In the past, we have banned sunbeds for under-18s and I have asked my department to assess whether we should impose a minimum age for the use of these products,” the minister added.

The government is already drafting the Patient Safety Bill, which would require any providers of ‘high-risk healthcare activities’ – even those taking place outside hospital settings – to require a licence to operate.

New EU medical device regulations will also kick in next May with the regulations setting out the scope for member states to bring in national legislation to restrict the use of certain devices, like dermal fillers.

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Rónán Duffy

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