The ever-growing presence of social media has meant that people are now giving their personal appearances more attention, and are willing to take a wide variety of steps to ensure that they look their best. One such step that is becoming increasingly popular, is Botox treatment, with its growing popularity leading to the rise of “Botox parties”. This article will highlight the appeal and dangers of Botox parties, before explaining what the current law regulating Botox treatment is and considering why this is likely to change.
“Botox party” is the term given to a growing phenomenon whereby a group of people meet, usually in someone’s home, to receive injections of the botulinum toxin (“Botox”). Botox treatment is used to remove wrinkles in skin, and so with airbrushed celebrities featuring prominently on social media, and the growing awareness of the toxin’s effects, the demand for Botox treatment is naturally increasing. The appeal of Botox parties is therefore obvious, as a comfortable social setting with friends, snacks, music and often alcohol is likely to be a much more enjoyable experience for receiving this treatment than sitting in a doctor’s office.
There appears to be a financial benefit to these parties as well, as those administering the toxin will typically charge half of what it costs to do so at a professional treatment facility. Furthermore, the effect of Botox treatment is only temporary, and so once the effect wears off, many will repeatedly return to Botox parties in order to quickly fix the problem at little expense.
However, there are significant dangers involved with receiving treatment at Botox parties. Whilst the toxin itself is not regarded as particularly dangerous, and the procedure for injecting it is relatively simple, complications do arise. There have been reported cases of patients suffering from infections, severe pain, severe swelling and even burning following Botox injections. If those administering the toxin are not appropriately trained (as is often the case at Botox parties) there is increased risk that these side effects can occur due to injections erroneously being made into veins or arteries. However, the greater threat is that when problems do occur, untrained administrators at parties are not in a position to take the steps required to safely deal with the side effects, whereas trained medical professionals in hospitals would be.
There are other issues inherent with Botox parties. As mentioned, these are often intended to be social occasions with alcohol being consumed before the injections are administered, creating obvious dangers. However, even the most risk averse patients are still at risk. Those attending Botox parties may organise for trained medical professionals to administer the toxin, but after a 2016 investigation revealed that disqualified nurses were making thousands of pounds per week through offering illegal Botox treatments, there is incentive for people to pose as medical professionals, as they stand to make large sums of money. This was discovered to have happened in California last year, highlighting the difficulty of guaranteeing that an appropriately qualified professional is performing the treatment without going to hospital to receive the injection. Recent reports have highlighted other issues with receiving treatment at Botox parties, such as not knowing if it is actually Botox that is being injected, and the potential risks of other treatments also being offered.
The physical damage that can be caused by botched Botox injections can require victims to undergo further medical treatment. This will often be conducted by the NHS, but can require the victim to seek expensive private treatment, as was the case with a high profile incident involving a London-based woman last year. Additionally, a recent survey conducted in Derbyshire found that even when they have not caused physical harm, many patients feel the treatments made them less attractive, the exact opposite reason for electing to have the procedure.
As it stands there are very few legal remedies available to those subjected to negligent Botox treatments, as Botox and other non-surgical cosmetic treatments are surprisingly under-regulated. The law does state that Botox can only be acquired after a registered doctor, nurse or dentist has issued a prescription for patients on an individual basis following a consultation. However, there is no regulation restricting who can inject the toxin, meaning that even those without any formal medical training at all can carry out the injection. Therefore, once Botox is legally obtained, in theory it can be administered to anyone, by anyone.
It is this point in particular that many want changed, with calls for laws to be passed making it illegal for Botox treatments to be carried out by anyone other than those with appropriate medical training and qualifications, and for certain safety precautions to have been adhered to prior to administering the toxin. In response to the growing popularity of Botox parties and the increasing number of high-profile cases of botched Botox injections, the Government has recently indicated its intention to address this problem. Early steps being taken include a Government backed campaign to raise awareness of the importance of safety when receiving Botox treatments, and an NHS driven initiative requiring Botox administrators to subject prospective patients to a more thorough screening process. These show that the relevant authorities are now seriously concerned about protecting people from poorly executed cosmetic treatments and that it is therefore highly likely that new laws further regulating this area will be passed in the not too distant future.
If and when this happens, it is likely that victims of botched Botox treatments will be able to raise legal claims against those responsible. This could include actions against those administering Botox without adhering to the relevant safety regulations, and against those who prescribe the toxin without carrying out the appropriate checks (as well as criminal actions against those fraudulently pretending to be qualified to perform the treatments). As mentioned above, the negative consequences of botched Botox injections vary from unsatisfactory aesthetic results to severe swelling and pain, therefore this could result in a wide range of Botox related cases being raised.
Despite the appeal of Botox parties, their popularity is increasing public awareness of the inherent dangers associated with them, and as a result the Government has started to take action to protect people from these dangers. It appears that this will soon lead to increased legislation in this otherwise unregulated area of law, which in turn may soon allow victims of the unsafe Botox treatments provided at Botox parties a legal remedy. As things stand, the law offers these victims no such remedy, but as more people are exposed to the dangers of this increasingly popular unregulated treatment, this will surely change.
If you woud like further medical information regarding Botox Parties and medical negligence cases then our can help you today.
Get in touch
Speak to one of our experience legal team, and get responsive, clear, and straightforward legal advice and support.