A campaign to make the unregulated beauty industry safer for consumers

What’s the issue?

The lack of regulation in the beauty industry in the UK is seriously alarming. 

Currently, lack of legislation in the UK beauty industry means there is nothing to stop someone with little or no training from establishing themselves as a seemingly professional therapist.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has just released a report on the regulation of cosmetics treatments that discloses, “the existing legislation available to most local authorities in England and Northern Ireland to regulate this sector is no longer fit for purpose.”

To read the CIEH report in full click here

An unnerving thought considering the huge number of beauty salons and practitioners (estimated at 50,000 salons and 300,000 employees currently in the UK*), and beauty treatments which, if performed incorrectly, could cause serious harm to an individual’s health. And this is not just limited to the advanced treatments such as laser, micropigmentation and skin needling, but even the more routine ones like waxing and lash extensions that can have severe consequences. There’s also the hugely popular trend of injectables to be considered, where the risks of complications can be devasting.

Lesley Blair, Chair at BABTAC says, “we need accountability, we need regulation. Now more so than ever. With confusion around COVID safety measures, a clear code of conduct needs to be established to ensure safety of all those encountering the beauty industry – be it professionally or personally. There are so many issues to contend with. From two-day courses selling themselves as reputable qualifications to unqualified practitioners administering injectables, without the means to deal with any complications should they arise. We need a government regulated standard across all areas of beauty. Without this standardisation, we will never be taken seriously as an industry and will continue to compromise consumer safety.”

What does BABTAC want to be done about this?

BABTAC, with the support of other industry leaders including the British Beauty Council are working to campaign for change in government legislation.

“There are a huge amount of qualified, experienced, fully insured beauty experts out there to do your treatments, we want to shine a light on them, and help educate the consumer on what to look out for. We believe that there needs to be a minimum of a mandatory register that can verify all therapists are competently qualified and have a fit for purpose qualification and adequate insurance to ensure the safety of both therapist and client. The ultimate goal would be for full regulation, either by the government or independent industry bodies – other industries have this, so we should too. Over recent times there have been other priorities for the government. however, we do believe there has been far more focus on our industry over the pandemic crisis and we need to make use of this exposure to raise awareness of the real dangers currently facing our sector”  says Lesley Blair

Skincare Guru, Industry Expert and Best Selling Author (and CIBTAC Graduate & BABTAC Member) Caroline Hirons agrees  ‘There are so many dire repercussions due to the lack of regulations in our industry, beginning with reputable fit for purpose qualifications having to compete with cheaper unverified substandard training (or worse still no training at all) resulting in underqualified therapists who are able to provide rapidly advancing treatments without any verification or insurance. Safety and professionalism should be at the heart of everything we do, and with so little accountability this currently just isn’t the case in far too many circumstances - to the detriment of our reputation and the wellbeing of our clients.’

This sentiment is backed up by Millie Kendall MBE, who says ‘”when we first set up The British Beauty Council we proposed everyone working together. We would like a real concerted effort from the trade bodies to come together to support regulation along with the backing of government to provide a more in depth understanding of the sector. It’s clear to all of us that the easiest and best way to start would be to target aesthetics first as it’s been challenging in terms of reputation for some time. So much can go wrong and appropriate training standards will ensure safety as well as the elevation of our workforce.”

Internationally aclaimed Nail Artist & Author, Marian Newman BEM  'As a ‘voice’ for the professional nail industry, I wholeheartedly agree and support BABTAC’s Make Beauty Safe Campaign. Regulation and legislation has always been sadly missing from the wider industry. If ever there was a better time to bring this into focus for those that need to address this situation, NOW is the time. The pro nail industry, like other sectors, suffers greatly from the proliferation of short courses with no entry level requirements, lack of robust education standards, lack of clear career paths, in general: regulation. The pro nail industry is severely compromised by an ‘allergy epidemic’ (as identified by the British Association of Dermatologists) and there is not enough in education standards to combat this. The only way forward is collaboration between industry bodies that are like minded with a common goal to elevate our whole sector to a true profession to be proud of. Education is the key. Standards are the key. One strong voice that will get results.We can make our beauty industry great(er) and encourage the maximum confidence for the consumer, our existing and  potential clients'

Helena Grzesk, General Manager, UK Spa Association  'for years we have suffered reputational damage to our sector from the rising number of underqualified practitioners joining the beauty industry. Unsurprisingly, many have cross-skilled with the intention of gaining a verified and professional career in beauty, unknowingly selecting one of a growing number of substandard and unregulated training courses that are available. The existing lack of regulation not only undermines the professionalism and integrity of our highly skilled people, training providers and businesses, but it also means there are no safeguards in place to protect the beauty consumer, who may unwittingly entrust their safety and wellbeing to an unqualified practitioner'

MP's Carolyn Harris & Judith Cummins, joint Chairs of the Beauty and Wellness APPG  'There has been a rapid rise in the popularity and availability of non-surgical cosmetic treatments in recent years, which is why we are leading an important inquiry into these treatments. Through the inquiry, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthesis and Wellbeing will be making recommendations to Government for how to drive up standards for the undertaking and promotion of these treatments to support the industry and protect the public'

Professor David Sines CBE, Chair JCCP 'We are at a pivotal point in the debate about regulation within the aesthetics sector and we need to progress our combined efforts to seek new enforcement opportunities to provide assurance to members of the public that the services they receive from aesthetic practitioners are safe, effective and accord with their informed and declared expectations. Interest in these matters is now being evidenced within Parliament as part of enhanced political debate. It is over 7 years since the findings of the Keogh Review recommended increased regulation within the aesthetics sector and the JCCP believes that now is the time to  assert positive action to position consumer safety as the major driving force and to make this our number one priority. The JCCP has recently published a fifteen point plan that sets out a framework for a coordinated approach to regulation in support of this objective. The JCCP supports this petition and commends you to add your voice to this combined endeavour’

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the uncomfortable truth; there is a fundamental lack of recognition and understanding of the beauty industry at government level as to what we offer and what we do, further highlighting the need for regulation and professionalsation to futureproof our sector.

What can you do to support?

Sign the petition here and BABTAC will then send a letter to the government laying out the steps they are urging them to make. 

“For government to pay attention, we need thousands of people to sign up, so that’s why we’re calling to the best in the industry to help us share our messageexplains Lesley Blair.

Share the #MakeBeautySafe post on your social to help raise awareness of this.

*2017 HBC/BABTAC Economic Impact Assessment Report

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