Boom in cosmetic surgery performed on children leads to legislative change

It is no secret that young people in today’s society are facing increasing amounts of pressure to conform to the unattainable standards of “beauty”. Whilst this conversation has been around for decades, as the usage of social media intensifies, the pressure seems to now target a much younger market. 

It appears that the significant change in perceptions of beauty has led to young people seeking procedures such as lip, cheek and chin fillers, teeth veneers and botox. Currently, children under the age of 18 can receive these procedures with parental consent.

The Department of Health has stated that in 2020 there were 41,000 botox procedures carried out in under 18-year-olds and more than 29,300 lip filler procedures performed on under 18-year-olds over the past four years.

Whilst the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) has advised against children receiving cosmetic surgery, many parents are agreeable to it. This begs the question: what happens if one parent consents and the other doesn’t? 

Parents who disagree on whether their children should undergo these procedures are able to make an application to Court seeking either a Prohibited Steps Order, preventing procedures from taking place without their consent or the consent of the Court, or a Specific Issue Order, seeking permission from the Court for their child to undergo these procedures.  

The Court will likely seek medical evidence to determine whether these procedures are in the best interests of the child. For example, the BAPRAS has stated that in exceptional circumstances cosmetic surgery can be recommended if a child’s appearance is such that it causes them mental health problems.  

However, arguably it will be increasingly difficult for a parent to persuade a Court that a cosmetic procedure is essential to a child’s wellbeing when parliament has recently found it necessary to intervene with this phenomenon.  

The Botulimnum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act will stop anyone under the age of 18 from accessing these procedures from this autumn.  

Whilst this may not completely eliminate the cosmetic market on minors, it will make it illegal for these procedures to be given to children under the age of 18. The consequence of which is that it will give parents who seek to prohibit these procedures legislative support. 

Contact us, we are here to help

If you are concerned about the use of cosmetic surgery on your child, or if you believe your spouse or ex-spouse is encouraging the same against your child’s best interests, contact a member of the MSB team for a free initial appointment on 0151 281 9040.