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Tonight: The True Cost of Beauty

Dermal fillers and Botox are being used in the UK more than ever before Photo: ITV / Tonight

Britain’s fifteen billion pound beauty industry is booming.

From nail bars to skincare treatments to cosmetic surgery, more and more women and men are spending money on their appearance.

One of the biggest growth areas in recent years has been in Botox and dermal fillers, which are used to iron out wrinkles.

Yet dermal fillers are almost entirely unregulated and a recent Government report described them as “a crisis waiting to happen”. In this episode of Tonight, Fiona Foster investigates why.

She meets 28 year old Laura-Alicia Summers who suffered a severe allergic reaction after having a temporary filler injected into her top lip at a beauty trade fair.

It took three months for Laura’s lips to return to normal.

Laura-Alicia Summers after receiving an injection of temporary filler in her upper lip Credit: ITV / Tonight

Jo Sandford, 35, suffered a life-threatening infection after having permanent fillers injected into her cheeks.

Jo was rushed to A&E and spent three days in hospital after the filler shattered and began to move around her face towards her brain.

Jo’s injuries were so severe that doctors told she could have been blinded. It hass taken nearly two years and thousands of pounds to correct the damage.

The permanent filler injected into Jo's cheeks led to severe injuries Credit: ITV / Tonight

We also investigate the alarming trend of people buying their own fillers online and injecting themselves in a bid to cut costs.

We placed an order for a permanent filler with an American website. The one we bought had not been given the seal of approval by American or UK regulators.

In fact, the UK authorities are very concerned about it because it contains an anaesthetic called Lidocaine, which in injectable form is a prescription only medicine here.

Because of this, and because it hasn’t been through the necessary stringent tests the UK regulator demands, this product is considered to be an unlicensed medicine.

So this company should not have sold it to us – they’ve broken UK law by doing so.

Such is the desire to be beautiful that some people buy unregulated 'treatments' online Credit: ITV / Tonight

We took our findings to the UK Regulator, the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency, who – in co-operation with the American Authorities – have now blocked access to the website from UK customers.

Of course, dermal fillers and Botox can transform people’s lives and both are used in a medical capacity by the NHS. Karen Croule, from Lincolnshire, was left with a terrible painful itch after extensive burns she sustained due to a freak accident started to heal. In a World first Karen was successfully treated by Mr Peter Brooks at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Using a pioneering treatment Mr Brooks administered Botox to the affected area, giving Karen back her quality of life.

For more information on which dermal fillers have been classified as safe to use, please click here

Other links:

Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)

Department of Health

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

TJL Solicitors

  • Tonight: The Real Cost of Beauty is on ITV tonight at 7.30pm