BBC Goes Undercover To Expose Bad Botox In New Documentary

Image: Courtesy of BBC Three.
Once the preserve of celebrities and only the richest women, botulinum toxin, otherwise known as Botox, is now widely available on the UK high street. Women in their 20s and beyond are increasingly opting for injections to "fill in" their wrinkles in an effort to look youthful.
But some beauticians and cosmetic surgeons who administer the prescription-only medicine are breaking the rules, a fact laid bare in an alarming new documentary.
BBC Three's The Botox Bust: Ellie Undercover sees undercover journalist Ellie Flynn, 24, delve into the murky waters of beauticians who are knowingly flouting the rules.
You must be a doctor, nurse, dentist or prescribing pharmacist to legally prescribe Botox in the UK and irrespective of who carries out the procedure, be it a beautician or a cosmetic surgeon, they must first refer you to a medical professional who'll check your eligibility for the procedure, enquiring about potential pregnancy and allergies, for instance.
Courtesy of BBC Three
Investigative journalist Ellie Flynn
According to General Medical Council (GMC) guidelines, anyone who injects Botox must also meet with potential clients in person for a consultation beforehand, rather than over the phone or via the internet.
But as Flynn, who poses undercover, finds out, the rules are being broken in two main ways: Botox practitioners, such as beauticians and cosmetic surgeons, are injecting people with the stuff without referring them to prescribers; meanwhile, prescribers are issuing prescriptions without face-to-face meetings, instead opting for phone calls and Skype chats.
This disquieting reality goes some way towards explaining why botched Botox has become so commonplace in the UK – over a million Botox injections are administered every year and barely a week goes by without another patient sharing their story and eye-opening before and after photos in the press or online.
The documentary has already left people better equipped with the facts, as the response on social media so far highlights. In a world where "Botox parties" exist, adverts for cosmetic surgery on social media, and an increasingly visual culture put pressure on women to have "flawless" skin, it's an eye-opening, educational and highly important watch.
Charities have also praised the documentary for shining a light on an underreported issue. Ashton Collins, a director at Save Face – a government-approved register of accredited non-surgical cosmetic practitioners – told the BBC she believes 90% of people don't realise Botox is a prescription medicine.
The Botox Bust: Ellie Undercover is available now on BBC iPlayer.
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