Dozens of Irish patients suffering from botched lip jobs are making complaints to a British national register as the number of illicit cosmetic practices thrive.
A total of 87 Irish nationals reported their experiences to Save Face UK, a register of cosmetic treatment practitioners.
The majority of the 2,824 complaints it received last year concern dermal fillers, an agent injected into lips or other parts of the face to make it appear enhanced.
Director of Save Face UK Ashton Collins told the Irish Daily Mail that many Irish people contact them ‘when they don’t have anywhere else to turn’. She said: ‘Overall, the number of complaints we received from Ireland are small, but my guess is that the actual figures are much higher because many Irish people are not aware of us. We’re a government-approved register that assesses every clinic and practitioner across the UK, making sure they’re safe, qualified and insured.’
In Ireland, anyone can administer dermal filler, unlike Botox which can only be prescribed and administered by a doctor or dentist.
Sites such as Alibaba.com offer derma fillers for around €30 per syringe in compliance with EU safety standards.
However, this means that people ordering filler for personal use are often injecting it into themselves.
‘This is very dangerous because these are serious medical interventions. If a derma filler goes seriously wrong it can cause blindness or tissue death, Ms Collins said.
‘People often find cheap deals on social media from practitioners with no real qualifications. Someone working in retail can take a half-day training course and set up a business as a treatment provider because they know there’s a lot of money to be made.’
The advice from Save Face UK is to only seek treatment from a doctor, nurse, dentist or prescribing pharmacist.
However celebrity cosmetic surgeon Patrick Treacy told the Mail that many people from the UK who are unhappy with their dermal fillers come to Ireland to get it rectified.
‘The biggest problems are in the UK. It’s not half as bad here,’ he said. ‘The notion that Irish people are going over there to get their dermal complications treated just isn’t true.
‘We’ve been pushing for regulation in Ireland for years but very little has been done. However, the situation in England is totally out of control.’
The Health Products Regulatory Authority in Ireland (HPRA) regulates dermal fillers in so far as making sure the product meets regulations. However, there are no laws that prohibit unqualified individuals from administering the treatment.
The Department of Health said it is working with the HPRA in considering the current regulation of dermal fillers in Ireland.