I regret lip jabs after botched fillers left me struggling to speak – banning kids from cosmetics can’t come soon enough

CHILDREN will be protected from botched cosmetic fillers under tough new laws, after success in our call for a crackdown.

The Sun's Had Our Fill campaign demanded action from the Government on the unregulated industry.

Until now, there had been no legal age limit for fillers or Botox and they have been available on every high street in Britain, with beauticians and even hairdressers offering jabs for as little as £50.

But the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act, passed last week and coming into effect in autumn, will now stop these treatments from being given to under-18s. And a doctor, medical practitioner, or a health professional will have to administer the jabs where there is a medical need in kids.

Most dermal fillers injected by doctors contain a natural substance called hyaluronic acid. But back-street clinics source their “fillers” from places like China, with no way of knowing what is actually in the vials.

With no laws to regulate these ops, it means teens desperate to emulate their celebrity idols can get their own Kylie Jenner pout — but with no protection.



In doing so, they risk complications including sepsis, rotting tissue and lip amputations. And it’s estimated at least 200 people have gone blind from fillers.

Someone who knows the dangers only too well is Catrina Banks, from Edinburgh, who was just 16 when she had her lips and cheeks plumped, trying to look like the youngest Kardashian.

She found a beautician on Facebook willing to inject her face for £300. But she was devastated when she was left with uneven lips filled with hard white lumps that were so big she struggled to speak.

Now 19, she tells Fab Daily she bitterly regrets having the procedure so young and has since been through the painful process of having her fillers dissolved. “Banning fillers for under-18s is a huge step,” she says.

“It’s so important as so much can go so wrong, as I experienced first-hand. If this law had been in place a few years ago, it might have stopped the beautician from injecting my lips, as she could’ve faced severe consequences.”

Stark figures show Catrina is not alone. Last year there was a huge rise in botched filler ops, with a surge of 73 per cent across all age groups. What’s more disturbing is, in 80 per cent of cases, fillers are injected by people with no medical training at all, with no safety checks performed, experts warn.

Following our campaign’s tales of women scarred for life and 15-year-old Sienna Demontis’s undercover investigation showing how easy it is for teens to get the jabs, the Government has voted for this strict legislation. Under the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act, it will be illegal to provide either procedure to under-18s for cosmetic reasons from the autumn.

Victims, doctors, MPs, celebrities and campaigners backed our call, and have hailed the “watershed moment” and vital first step on the road to greater protection for youngsters.

Laura Trott, the MP for Sevenoaks, Kent, introduced the bill to Parliament in February last year — weeks after the Had Our Fill campaign launched. She tells Fab Daily: “I’m thrilled that my bill has passed, banning the dangerous and unnecessary procedures that can ruin children’s lives."

Thanks to The Sun for their powerful campaigning on this vital issue.

Health minister Nadine Dorries, who backed the campaign after admitting feeling pressure to have cosmetic treatments, adds: “This legislation is a victory for the many young people who have suffered at the hands of dodgy Botox or fillers providers. Outlawing these procedures is a watershed moment in how we protect young people. I want to thank The Sun.”

The Department of Health estimates that 41,000 Botox procedures may have been carried out on under-18s in the last year alone. Since 2017, the Government believes more than 29,300 dermal filler procedures, such as lip and cheek injections, were given to children. Catrina says she hopes that speaking up as one of those harmed by the industry, other young girls will think twice about having the jabs.

“It’s a struggle being so insecure at such a young age, but these injectables finally have an age restriction — and for good reason,” she adds. After her botched treatment, Catrina received support from Save Face, a national register of accredited practitioners, which has campaigned for better regulation for eight years.

On the change in the law, the company’s director Ashton Collins says: “It truly is a monumental step forward that will help safeguard the people most at risk of falling into unsafe hands.”

Had Our Fill campaign

Britain's Botox and filler addiction is fuelling a £2.75billion industry.

The wrinkle-busting and skin plumping treatments account for 9 out of 10 cosmetic procedures.

50% of women and 40% of men aged 18 to 34 want to plump up their pouts and tweak their faces.

Fillers are totally unregulated and incredibly you don’t need to have ANY qualifications to buy and inject them.

83% of botched jobs are performed by people with no medical training, often in unsanitary environments – with devastating results. 

Women have been left with rotting tissue, needing lip amputations, lumps and even blinded by botched jobs.

Despite the dangers, there is no legal age limit for dermal filler, which is why Fabulous has launched Had Our Fill, a campaign calling for:

  • fillers to be made illegal for under 18s
  •  a crackdown on social media sites plugging fillers
  • a Government-backed central register for practitioners with accredited qualifications

We're working in conjunction with Save Face and are backed by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).

We want anyone considering a non-surgical cosmetic treatment to be well-informed to make a safe decision. 

We’ve Had Our Fill of rogue traders and sham clinics – have you?

'Taking advantage of children'

While 93 per cent of complaints to Save Face about botched treatments are from females, it’s not just young girls and women who fall victim to dodgy practitioners.

Nas Ganev was 17 when he had lip fillers after a friend said they could go together and get a discount. His top lip was injected in three places, but Nas was left with a big gap.

“I contacted the beautician and she said it was normal and the swelling would go down in a few days, but it didn’t so I went back and she put more in,” he says. “That didn’t make any difference and I was too scared to go back after that. I walked around for two years with a botched upper lip before I could afford to have them fixed by a doctor.”

I walked around for two years with a botched upper lip before I could afford to have them fixed by a doctor.

Nas, now 29 and a hairdresser and beautician, adds: “I was too young and wish I’d waited and researched more, so introducing this new law is amazing.”

Reality star and TV host Lizzie Cundy, backed the Had Our Fill campaign after her own botched filler nightmare two years ago. The 53-year-old mum-of-two had filler injected under her eyes to reduce the appearance of bags but was horrified when she started to lose her vision and needed emergency treatment to have the filler dissolved.

“This will make a difference to the industry and stop people who don’t care from taking advantage of children,” she tells Fab Daily.


THE KEY DATES IN BATTLE

  • JANUARY 13, 2020: Had Our Fill campaign launches, calling for fillers to be made illegal for under-18s.
  • JANUARY 14, 2020: We uncover horror images of botched filler jobs gone wrong. Love Islanders, celebs and MPs back our campaign.
  • JANUARY 17, 2020: We take 15-year-old Sienna Demontis undercover to show how easy it is for teens to get fillers.
  • JANUARY 23, 2020: Shock investigation shows kids can buy toxic filler and inject THEMSELVES.
  • FEBRUARY 5, 2020: Bill to ban under-18s taken to Parliament.
  • JUNE 2, 2020: Our report uncovers boom in lockdown fillers.
  • OCTOBER 18, 2020: Teens tell how pressure to look like celebs drives addiction to cosmetic procedures.
  • APRIL 29, 2021: Bill is passed by Parliament, banning under-18s getting Botox and fillers.

‘Law is vital step’

“It breaks my heart that girls under the age of 18 want to have Botox and fillers — they are way too young. I learned my lesson, but these young girls don’t really know the consequences.”

Towie’s Amy Childs, 30, who opened up about having an addiction to fillers, says: “I’m so glad this law has been passed as we all know it’s super-easy to get Botox and fillers. A lot of young people don’t do their research, so I’m so happy The Sun has continued to campaign for change.”

Medics have long warned that it’s vital teenagers wait until their face is fully grown before having cosmetic treatments like fillers. Dr Jonquille Chantrey, cosmetic surgeon at One Aesthetic Studio, in Manchester, says: “This law is hugely welcomed from an ethical, safety and care perspective. The tissues in children have not fully developed and fillers can adversely affect them when performed for cosmetic reasons.”

Fab Daily’s GP Dr Zoe Williams says it’s vital the right measures are in place so people can make informed, safe decisions. “This new law is a vital step in regulating an industry that can do serious harm,” she says.

I’m so happy The Sun has continued to campaign for change.


“We now need to see more action to ensure that these procedures are only performed by qualified medical professionals.”

Julie Barratt, president of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, agrees more action must be taken. She says: “We are calling on the UK government to go further and create an England-wide licensing scheme for practitioners of all cosmetic treatments.”

Nadine Dorries adds: “I know the job isn’t done, which is why we continue to explore the regulation of premises, products and consumer protections for cosmetic interventions, as well as the need for stronger safeguards around practitioners.”

WE’VE HAD OUR FILL…HAVE YOU?

UNTIL now the fillers industry has been unregulated, and incredibly you don’t need ANY qualifications to buy and inject them.

That’s why we launched the Had Our Fill campaign, calling for:

  • Fillers to be made illegal for under-18s – ACHIEVED.
  • A crackdown on social media sites plugging fillers – TO DO.
  • A government-backed central register for practitioners and accredited qualifications – TO DO.

While we’ve jumped the first hurdle, there’s more work to be done on the other two. We want anyone considering a non-surgical cosmetic treatment to be well informed and to make a safe decision.

We’ve Had Our Fill of rogue traders and sham clinics – have you?

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