An undercover operation by Wolverhampton’s Trading Standards officers has found cosmetic treatments on offer illegally to young people in the city.

Injections of Botox and other fillers, such as lip fillers, were found to be available to an underage test purchaser.

Businesses involved have been issued with a written warning and could face further enforcement action in the future.

The undercover operation was carried out to ensure city businesses that offer the cosmetic treatments are following the terms of the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021.

The act was introduced in October 2021 to safeguard children and young people from the potential health risks of botulinum toxins (commonly known as ‘Botox’) and cosmetic fillers.

Legislation makes it a criminal offence to administer Botox or a cosmetic filler via injection to a person under 18, even if they have the permission of someone over 18.

It is also an offence to make arrangements or book an appointment to provide these treatments to anyone under the age of 18 in England. An exception exists when injections are administered by a doctor or regulated health professional. 

During the operation by Trading Standards, advice letters were sent out to businesses identified as potentially offering Botox or fillers. The letters outlined the legislation, warned businesses of potential test purchases and signposted to further awareness information.

Following the letters, test calls to businesses were made by a supervised 15 year old volunteer. The city council’s Trading Standards team found a number of businesses in the city who did not follow the legal guidelines.

Of 18 businesses contacted, 8 said they did not require ID for a consultation appointment. Just 2 of these asked for an age during an initial telephone enquiry and that was only following a question by the caller.

Most worryingly, 3 of the 8 businesses said they would arrange a consultation appointment despite knowing the caller was under the age of 18.

However, a further 8 businesses did require ID to be taken to the consultation appointment and stated that the caller needed to be over 18. The final 2 businesses did not offer Botox or fillers.

Councillor Craig Collingswood, cabinet member for city environment and climate change at City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “This has been a very important exercise and our Trading Standards officers have uncovered some shocking results.

“The law is in place to protect our young people who may have felt pressured by images they see on social media or in the wider media. Businesses must take responsibility for the services they offer – and who they are offering them to.

“We are issuing a strong warning to all businesses in Wolverhampton who provide these services. They must bring their practices in line with legal requirements or face prosecution which can result in them receiving a substantial fine.

“The council will continue to monitor businesses to make sure they are following the law and anyone with concerns can report them to or via Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.”