Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:10 am on 16th October 2020.

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Photo of Suzanne Webb Suzanne Webb Conservative, Stourbridge 11:10 am, 16th October 2020

I thank my hon. Friend for his comments. That is an important point. People put pressure on us to make us feel that there is a way that we are supposed to look. I am afraid that gentleman often make us feel that way as well. We feel that we need to look a certain way to be attractive. We are attractive for who we actually are. We should just be ourselves. That is the most attractive quality in a person that I can think of.

I have seen written work where botox was debated around a “Should they or shouldn’t they?” argument. My simple question is: why would you? Why would you feel the need to do that?

I had not realised when researching this topic that non-surgical cosmetic treatments, such as botox and dermal fillers, generate over £2.75 billion in the UK and account for 75% of all cosmetic enhancements carried out each year. That is great news on the one hand because it is generating income—fantastic—but when we look at it another way, it is a lot of money focused on cosmetic enhancements. It is the word “enhancements” that starts to ring alarm bells, as does the fact that young adults partake of this practice. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks for taking time to raise awareness of the impact of botox and dermal filler procedures among all age groups, but particularly those under the age of 18.

When I dug a little deeper, I found that, unlike their surgical counterparts, such as breast enlargement and facelift operations, which have clear and defined laws as to who can undertake the procedures, non-surgical cosmetic injections can be administered by anyone. What struck me most was that it is a largely unregulated industry. I support the wish to see the regulation of this practice enforced by a local authority, which will help to keep children safe from these procedures. It will help to ensure that children grow up to be the person they actually are and, as I said before, to age gracefully.

I thank my hon. Friend for raising awareness of the potential health risks of the procedures, including blindness, infection, scarring and psychological impacts. I also want to say again that we do not know the mental health impact of this and what has brought somebody there in the first place. There must be some damage to one’s self-esteem to think that you need to change your appearance. For me, as I mentioned at the start, that is one of my greatest concerns on this and the growing mental health issue within young adults.