Untrained beauticians are putting 'lives at risk'
Lives are at risk due to untrained beauticians giving people Botox injections and even offering to "zap" skin moles which may be cancerous, a leading plastic surgeon have warned.
Dr Margaret O'Donnell, President of the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons, said the lack of regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry, and the failure by authorities to properly enforce safeguards in some beauty salons, was a "scandal".
"How many times must we ask for stronger regulation before there's a fatality?" said Dr O'Donnell, a plastic surgeon in the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin.
She was commenting following a court conviction and €6,000 fine imposed on Viktoriya Bilankova of Luttrellsown Place, Carpenterstown, Dublin, who pleaded guilty to unlawfully importing, advertising and administering Botox.
Dr O'Donnell said her organisation had repeatedly made representations to both the medical authorities and to politicians to tighten up the entire area of medical beauty treatments that can, as the law stands, allow somebody with no training to inject fillers into the face.
She said two women who were diagnosed with skin cancer told her they had discolouration "zapped" in a beauty salon before finding out they had the disease.
"This scandal has gone on for far too long. Vulnerable people are being damaged because the authorities - for reasons we cannot understand - will not regulate the industry better and enforce what regulations there are.
"We have issued warning after warning about unqualified and untrained people performing procedures that should require years of training.
"The length of that training is for very good reasons.
"If you don't understand the anatomy of what's going on under the skin, if you haven't studied the pharmacy behind every aspect of what a filler or Botox-type products can do to the body, then you are putting patients at risk."
There was a real risk that Botox with dangerous ingredients or other suspect fillers could be bought over the internet, she added.
"We have pointed out to an innocent public that it is not only beauticians doing injections, but even doctors who call themselves 'cosmetic surgeons' or similar names that are confusing the public.
"There have been cases of doctors without surgical qualifications calling themselves cosmetic surgeons and performing surgery on patients at great risk," she said.