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Choosing who will do your cosmetic procedure

If you have decided to have a cosmetic procedure, you'll need to choose who will do it. They should have the right training, skills and insurance to safely carry out the procedure.

Book a consultation

Always book a consultation with the person who will do the procedure before making your final decision.

Ask them:

  • how many of these procedures they have done
  • what qualifications and training they have
  • if they're a member of a relevant professional association that shows they meet set standards in training and skill.
  • about the most common complications of the procedure
  • what aftercare you can expect, and who will look after you
  • what to do if something goes wrong or you're not happy with the result
  • how much it'll cost, and if it'll cost extra to have further treatment if needed

The practitioner should give you details of exactly what's involved in the procedure, including:

  • how long it'll take
  • how it'll be done
  • whether anaesthetic is needed

They should also tell you about what to expect after the procedure, including:

  • what pain you can expect afterwards
  • how long the recovery should be
  • the potential risks and complications
  • how long the results will last
  • what you can expect to look like after the procedure

After your consultation

Your practitioner should give you time after your consultation to decide whether you want to go ahead with the procedure.

You can also ask them for information to take away with you, such as information leaflets from the manufacturer of the product they'll use.

Things to avoid

Do not pay for a procedure until you have had a consultation to make sure it's right for you.

You should also avoid: 

  • group treatments, or events involving alcohol
  • treatment vouchers sold online on group discount or voucher sites
  • mobile services where procedures are performed in places such as private homes or hotels
  • practitioners who only advertise on social media

Check the person is qualified

You can look to see if someone is qualified by checking they're registered with a suitable specialist association and trained in the right procedures.

Doctors and surgeons

You should check if someone is a registered doctor or surgeon on the General Medical Council online register.

Some surgeons may also be on a specialist cosmetic surgery register, such as:

These registers might say if a surgeon is qualified or experienced in a particular procedure.

Dentists

If you're having cosmetic dental treatment, look for a dental professional registered with the General Dental Council (GDC).

There are rules in the UK about who can perform dental treatments. The GDC publishes guidance about this.

Other professionals

You can check if other professionals are on voluntary registers accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

These registers show that practitioners meet set standards of training, insurance and skill.

These include:

Check the hospital or clinic is registered

Check the hospital or clinic is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), or ask them to show you its certificate.

The CQC publishes quality ratings online, and hospitals and clinics must make sure all staff are properly trained to safely do their job.

Advice on Botox

Botulinum toxin injections, such as Botox® or Dysport®, are prescription-only medicines.

They can only be prescribed after a consultation between you and a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or nurse.

The person giving the injections does not have to be the same person who gave you the prescription.

But the prescriber must ensure that the person giving you the injections is trained and safe to do so.

Make sure you know:

  • who the prescriber is
  • who'll be providing the actual treatment
  • what their experience, training and insurance arrangements are

Advice on dermal fillers

Dermal fillers are used for a range of purposes, including lip fillers, and do not always need a prescription.

As there are a lot of different versions available, make sure you ask the practitioner:

  • the name of the product that will be used
  • where the product came from
  • what qualifications, training and experience they have

Avoid practitioners who have only completed a short training course in your chosen procedure as complications can be serious, including infection, nerve damage and blindness.

Page last reviewed: 3 May 2019
Next review due: 3 May 2022