[4 min read] “Influencer injectors” in aesthetic medicine

Medical aesthetic practitioners have raised concerns over social media “influencers” with no medical background undergoing brief training in injectable procedures to then perform the treatments themselves – stirring up a host of safety and regulatory issues.

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of influencers (minor celebrities and people with tens of thousands of social media followers) who do not have a medical background but who have undertaken short training courses in aesthetic procedures such as anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers.

Aesthetic medicine is a booming market. Australians have overtaken the US in the demand for aesthetic procedures per capita, spending over $1 billion every year on anti-ageing treatments such as injectables.

In countries like the US and the UK, it is legal for anyone to perform these procedures after completing a short course.

Here, it is illegal for unqualified non-medical professionals to carry out injectable treatments, but it still happens. The market is largely unregulated, and it is unfortunately common for individuals to lie about their qualifications and provide aesthetic medical services from home salons, beauty parlours or at “Botox parties”.

Last month, a Melbourne woman was charged for masquerading as a medical practitioner to carry out injectable treatments, and this is just one in dozens of cases brought to light every year.

And around the world, social media influencers with little to no medical knowledge are now performing cosmetic injections after completing the minimum amount of training. These influencers are primarily television personalities, models and personal trainers, among others.

The rise of influencer injectors is particularly concerning due to their broad social media reach and the impression they make on their young followers. Influencers have the means to market potentially sub-standard medical services to the tens of thousands of people who look up to them, and followers may not be aware of the risks involved in injectable treatments and can see the procedures as “normalised” when they are promoted and administered by idolised celebrities.

Many medical practitioners are calling for stricter regulations because they believe non-medical professional cannot manage the potentially life-threatening complications that might occur as a result of injectable treatments, which carry very real medical risks.


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