Dangerous dermal filler practices exposed on The Kyle Files

The dangerous and unregulated landscape of the UK dermal fillers market has been exposed in an ITV programme presented by Jeremy Kyle. 

The 20-minute documentary as part of The Kyle Files series investigated the provision of dermal filler treatments in the, UK focussing on not only the worrying trend for excessive treatments but also the unsafe practices that are going on. 

Kyle, who admits to having cosmetic injectables himself, started the show by interviewing a mother and daughter, Georgina Clarke and Kayla Morris, who have forked out a staggering £60,000 to look like Barbie and glamour model Katie Price respectively. Morris admitted to having had sex with a sugar daddy when she was just 18 to pay for a boob job. Both had had extensive non-surgical cosmetic work, including lip fillers. Kyle said, “If my 18-year-old daughter was sleeping with a 50-year-old man in return for money to have her boobs done or her lips, I wouldn’t think of myself as a very good parent.” 

Mother and daughter on The Kyle Files Dr Paul Charlson, president of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine, said, “As medical practitioners, we have an ethical duty to provide a range of treatment options. One of those options would be to have no treatment. There will be occasions when patients are not suitable for aesthetic interventions and those patients should be strongly advised to not have them. This may include young patients, those with body dysmorphia, those who have clearly not understood what aesthetic intervention entails or the results of such an intervention, and those who are medically unsuitable. Therefore, a thorough psychological and medical assessment of the patient by a competent practitioner is essential.” 

The programme then went on to look at the worrying trend for lip fillers among young girls and, in particular, unscrupulous advertising of cheap deals on social media saying that 62% of girls under 25 who sought out treatment found a cut price deal online. The show quoted Save Face data which showed that of the 934 complications complaints received almost half (48%) were aged 18-25, and that 83% of reported complications were caused by non-medics. Two thirds of those treatments were fillers and 72% of those were lip injections. 

A young Scottish woman who was “nearly killed” after getting an infection from lip fillers performed by a non-medic was then interviewed. 

Kyle was joined by Save Face’s Ashton Collins to investigate the use of injectables in a high street salon where not only were POMs being offered without a medical practitioner present, but foreign filler products were also being used. The salon, Beauty Box by Maggie in Essex, claimed to have a team of qualified medical professionals on its website, but the undercover team showed the receptionist getting a patient to fill out forms and providing her with a communal numbing crea. Botulinum toxin treatments were also offered without a consultation and with no medical practitioner present. 

The show also featured training company Cosmetic Couture, which trains beauty therapists in cosmetic injectables. Founder Maxine Hopley defended her right to do so to Kyle and claimed that Cosmetic Couture championed higher standards of training and education for non-medics in the sector. 

Ashton Collins, director of Save Face, said, “We were approached by The Kyle Files team in July 2018 for an initial research discussion, as they were keen to explore the landscape of the industry and and understand what key challenges consumers faced when trying to identify a safe practitioner. From there, we began informing them of the practitioners that were generating a lot of patient complaints and leaving patients to fend for themselves to seek corrective treatment. We had a lot of patients come forward about Beauty Box by Maggie, and I thought this would be a good example to use to highlight all of the prevalent issues that are associated with non-medics, namely: 

“We then presented the evidence we had to the producers of The Kyle Files, who were able to get legal sign off for the undercover filming. As the footage shows, there is no attention paid to the patient consultation, all paperwork is completed by the patient in the waiting room while they apply their own numbing cream. As soon as the patient goes into the treatment room there is no discussion, they are just placed straight on to the couch ready for treatment. We felt it really illustrated how these practitioners trivialise the treatments and why patient see them as having little or no risk. All of the patients who complained to us about Maggie found her on social media, which is also another huge issue at the moment. 

“Off the back of the filming, the producers wanted to get an insight into how non-healthcare practitioners were able to train and what the courses entailed, so we informed them of Cosmetic Couture, which is the most well-known, and probably the largest, training provider of non-medics.” 

Antonia Mariconda, founder of the Safety in Beauty Campaign, commented, “Safety in Beauty continues to work at Government level to influence change in a positive way, and we are working with a variety of organisations and representatives to push for a safer pathway for the consumer. The Jeremy Kyle programme highlights what we as an industry are all too familiar with now. Awareness is fantastic but now we need regulation and law.” 

Jeremy Kyle