Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:54 pm on 16th October 2020.

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Photo of Jane Stevenson Jane Stevenson Conservative, Wolverhampton North East 9:54 pm, 16th October 2020

I absolutely agree, and I commend my hon. Friend for his work in this area.

I am thankful that in my early teenage years, I did not have to face the kinds of pressures that young people today have to face. I have concern for my two goddaughters, Lily and Eve, who are in their early teens, growing up with these constant pressures to look a certain way that is unrealistic to achieve. Thankfully, my awful 1980s hairstyles in an attempt to look like Bananarama or the latest pop group, and my appalling dress sense of my early teens, are now a dim and distant memory—a very distant memory—but young people today know that images taken of them every day will live online for their whole lives.

Our teenage years are challenging enough as we grow up, and many young people are now turning to these treatments as a way to feel better about themselves or to copy the look of someone they admire. In my work in schools over a decade, I noticed that sixth-form girls were increasingly having eyelash treatments to lengthen their eyelashes, or fillers to make their lips plumper. It is incredibly sad. As my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks said, no child needs botox or fillers. It is completely unrealistic.

Sadly, consumer protections have not kept up with the industry, and we hear some horror stories; my hon. Friend shared one a moment ago. When they are injected by people without medical training, these treatments are extremely dangerous. Many people seeking beauty treatment do not realise that botox is a prescription-only medicine that should be prescribed only after a face-to-face consultation and by a licensed prescriber.