Botulinum Toxin and lip fillers illegally available to under-18s in Wolverhampton
An undercover operation has revealed that cosmetic treatments such as botox have been illegally available to young people in Wolverhampton.
Wolverhampton Council's trading standards officers found that injections of botox and other substances, such as lip fillers, were found to be available to an underage test purchaser.
It is a criminal offence to administer Botulinum Toxin or cosmetic filler via injection to a person under the age of 18, even if they have the permission of someone over 18.
However, three businesses in the city said they would arrange a consultation appointment with a caller who they knew was under the age of 18.
It is also an offence to make arrangements or book an appointment to provide these treatments to anyone under the age of 18 in England.
An exception exists when injections are administered by a doctor or regulated health professional.
Wolverhampton Council has now issued a "strong" written warning to the businesses involved. They could also face further enforcement action in the future.
The undercover operation was carried out to ensure city businesses that offer the cosmetic treatments are following the terms of the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021.
The act was introduced in October 2021 to safeguard children and young people from the potential health risks of botulinum toxins and cosmetic fillers.
During the operation by trading standards, advice letters were sent out to businesses identified as potentially offering Botulinum Toxin or fillers.
The letters outlined the legislation, warned businesses of potential test purchases and signposted to further awareness information.
Following the letters, test calls to businesses were made by a supervised 15-year-old volunteer. The city council’s trading standards team found a number of businesses in the city who did not follow the legal guidelines.
Of 18 businesses contacted, eight said they did not require ID for a consultation appointment. Just two of these asked for an age during an initial telephone enquiry and that was only following a question by the caller.
Most worryingly, three of the eight businesses said they would arrange a consultation appointment despite knowing the caller was under the age of 18.
However, a further eight businesses did require ID to be taken to the consultation appointment and stated that the caller needed to be over 18. The final two businesses did not offer botox or fillers.
Councillor Craig Collingswood, cabinet member for city environment and climate change at Wolverhampton Council, said: “This has been a very important exercise and our trading standards officers have uncovered some shocking results.
"The law is in place to protect our young people who may have felt pressured by images they see on social media or in the wider media.
"Businesses must take responsibility for the services they offer – and who they are offering them to.
"We are issuing a strong warning to all businesses in Wolverhampton who provide these services. They must bring their practices in line with legal requirements or face prosecution which can result in them receiving a substantial fine.
"The council will continue to monitor businesses to make sure they are following the law and anyone with concerns can report them to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133."