Cosmetic clinics in the United Kingdom will have to check first the mental health status of patients seeking for Botox treatments.

The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, a trade body focusing on cosmetic firms, is introducing this practice to help protect the vulnerable and to prevent people with body image obsessions from being exposed to dangerous practices and undergoing potentially harmful treatments. This is also in response to the National Health Service of England's stance to make the cosmetic industry more responsible.

NHS England Medical Director Prof. Stephen Powis has encouraged professionals who provide procedures such as facial fillers and injections to join the council. At present, only 100 out of the 1,000 practitioners are registered, and Powis said too many service providers are operating as a law unto themselves.

"We know that appearance is the one of the things that matters most to young people, and the bombardment of idealised images and availability of quick-fix procedures is helping fuel a mental-health and anxiety epidemic," said Powis.

Botox And Quick Fixes

People with body image issues are said to be more likely to turn to quick fix procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers.

"Cosmetic procedures like Botox are now widely available on the High Street, are putting people at risk and can have a damaging effect on the mental health of young people," said Kitty Wallace of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation.

The British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons previously warned that Botox and dermal fillers must not be treated as casual beauty treatments because risks such as infection and facial paralysis can arise.

"Administering an injection of any kind is a very serious procedure and requires an experienced and qualified health professional," said Gerard Lambe, a spokesman for the association.

Council On Cosmetic Procedures

The JCCP has been established to assist the public who are seeking, considering, or undergoing non-surgical treatments such as injections, fillers, lasers, peels, and hair restoration surgery. The council will advise patients on safety matters and how to gain access to approved practitioners.

Council members are expected to meet the new criteria, which includes assessments to check if customers are suitable for treatment. Once registered with the JCCP, practitioners will agree to undergo online training on recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and vulnerability and the psychology of appearance. Customers who will show signs of vulnerability could be directed to NHS mental health services.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder affects 1.7 percent to 2.4 percent of the general population or about one in 50 people. Those with BDD often find faults with parts of their body although, in reality, the perceived defect may only be slight or nonexistent. BDD patients also suffer from obsessions about their appearance that can last for hours or up to an entire day, leading to distress and difficulty in functioning.

Based on 2013 data of the American Psychiatric Association, in the United States, BDD occurs in about 2.5 percent in males and in 2.2 percent of females and often begins to occur in adolescents. People with BDD also commonly suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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