Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:34 am on 16th October 2020.

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Photo of Sally-Ann Hart Sally-Ann Hart Conservative, Hastings and Rye 11:34 am, 16th October 2020

I agree with my hon. Friend on that point.

Children who are still growing should not be considered candidates for appearance change unless it is for medical or mental health reasons. Cosmetic surgery procedures should be rarely performed on children who are still growing—for example, in cases of congenital deformity. There is a big difference between cosmetic procedures used for medical and mental health reasons, and those for purely aesthetic ones. Teenagers are physically immature, and may not develop the emotional strength to enable them to cope with a permanent change of appearance, the complications of botox, fillers or surgery, or their failure to meet their expectations

Botulinum toxin—botox—is a powerful chemical agent that paralyses muscle and is used to lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Its use and administration should be restricted and regulated, and it should be administered only ever after careful consideration of the individual client and their circumstances, no matter their age. Cosmetic surgeries or procedures are not always the right answer, and it is very unlikely that someone in their teens will receive any benefit from having botox injections for cosmetic reasons. Young people do not have wrinkles, and every young person should celebrate their youth. They are all individuals and are perfect. We are all a miracle of birth. My hon. Friend Suzanne Webb referred to ABBA, and my hon. Friend Jane Stevenson referred to Bananarama, but I will draw on a more modern pop icon: Lady Gaga, who said that God made us perfectly.

Botox is used in the treatment of a range of medical conditions, which hon. Members have highlighted—I will not go through them again. Recent studies have described the use of botulinum toxin as an adjunct to the treatment of cleft lips. It can be used in medical treatments. It is important that under-18s are able to access medical treatment, and the Bill will not prevent that.

The Bill seeks to prevent under-18s from accessing botox or dermal filler procedures for aesthetic reasons, and I praise my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks for bringing it to the House to highlight this serious issue for debate. The Bill seeks to achieve its admirable aims through making it an offence to administer botox and cosmetic fillers by injection to under-18s and establishing a regulatory framework through local authorities to ensure that businesses have appropriate safeguards in place to prevent under-18s from using their services. It is for those reasons that I am delighted to support the Bill.