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22nd November 2018

Let’s talk surgery

With lip fillers being marketed as cheap as a haircut, we examine the unregulated terrain that is the booming UK aesthetic surgery industry.
Let’s talk surgery
Credit: Autumn Stone MD @ Flickr

The last decade has seen an exponential increase in not only the cosmetic procedures (both surgical and non-surgical) available, but also the amount of people going under the knife.

Whilst once only associated with the Hollywood elite, the cosmetic industry has shifted, and has become something marketed for the everyday, and increasingly younger, consumer.

The growing cosmetic industry is worth an estimated £3.6bn, yet many of the most popular packages are those aimed at under 30s, and are the most unregulated – putting individuals at risk.

The talk of lip fillers is everywhere, and lip augmentation proved the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment of 2016. Yet where there’s demand, there’s money to be made.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said the number of all types of procedures fell slightly last year. But it estimates that 40% of surgeons have seen problems with unregulated facial fillers, exposing the failings of the booming aesthetics industry.

The ‘Kylie’ Package, named after reality TV star Kylie Jenner, is a ‘bundle deal’ involving fillers in the lips, cheeks and jaw and is marketed through Instagram.

Lip fillers are the subject of Instagram giveaways and reduced to the price of a premium haircut, some as cheap as £95, showing there has never been such a demand for a quick fix to ‘fix’ what many young girls see as insecurities and shortfalls.

In 2013, an official Government review warned the growth of unregulated filler treatments was “a crisis waiting to happen”. It called for a change in the law to protect vulnerable young women – but this has not happened.

It comes as a government petition is taking off for aesthetic medical treatment to only be performed by medical professionals, and it’s alarming of how many young people are unaware of the dangers posed by this unregulated surgery.

Personally, I am writing after going under the knife whilst at uni. After years of being very sub-conscious of the nasal bump on the bridge of my nose, I decide to have a rhinoplasty corrective surgery. This is not a decision I took lightly, but something I felt would thoroughly boost my confidence, which I consider to be priceless.

Of course, if you’re comfortable in your own skin then there is no need to consider any kind of procedure. However, if you are considering having something done, which is something I hear so regularly, I have compiled a list of my top tips based on my own experience which will hopefully be helpful and most importantly make people think twice about the seriousness of aesthetic treatments.

1. Be realistic with your expectations.

If you have an insecurity that you think could be improved by a procedure, it’s imperative that you know there is a limit to what can be achieved. Your surgeon or practitioner should also be very conscious of this and if you sense that they are perhaps offering an unrealistic result that is too good to be true, or too pushy, then this should be a major red flag!

2. Do your research.

Make sure you know exactly what the procedure entails and if there is any recovery time. As well as doing research on the procedure, it is also essential you do background searches on any potential surgeon or practitioner. You can access their medical history and check they have reputable qualifications and appropriate experience.

3. Shop around.

Meet with different surgeons to ensure you are 100% confident that they are right for you.

4. Be aware of the risks.

Usually a practitioner or surgeon will provide you with information on these, and it is really vital to read them thoroughly.

5. Use the online community for support.

This made a huge impact. I made a community of friends who could offer me advice and who I could air out any concerns with. Often having cosmetic work can be quite an isolating experience, especially as certain members of your family or friends may not fully understand. Therefore, I found this network a real comfort.

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