dangerous | 

Award-winning nurse launches campaign to stop under-18 beauty injections

Businesses injecting the teen clients aren’t breaking the law in Northern Ireland

Tanya Khan, centre, with her staff Rebecca King (Clinic Manager, left) and on the right is Destiny Carlisle (Patient Co-Ordinator)

Tanya Khan, aesthetics nurse

(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Kardashian/Jenner Apps)

Courteney Cox (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Nicole Kidman. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)...E

Roisin GormanSunday World

Award-winning nurse Tanya Khan has called on politicians to stop teens going under the needle.

The aesthetics expert says kids as young as 13 are getting lip fillers, often with the consent of their parents.

But businesses injecting the teen clients aren’t breaking the law in Northern Ireland.

And campaigner Tanya says things will only get worse as dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injection kits are widely available online for dangerous at-home treatments.

She recently helped a woman who had mistakenly injected a rub-on filler bought on the internet and had to have emergency treatment when her face swelled to double its normal size.

Tanya is pushing for the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act to be extended to Northern Ireland after it came into force in England last October making it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be given cosmetic fillers or Botox. She plans to lobby local politicians to protect kids from potentially harmful treatments.

Tanya Khan, aesthetics nurse

“People assume that this is already illegal, but children can be injected by poorly trained lay people,” she says.

“I know of a guy who used to be a tradesman who is doing Botox and fillers from his girlfriend’s hair salon.

“There are stories of mothers turning up to salons with their 13-year-old daughters asking if she can get her lips done, and them saying yes.

“There are parents asking if their 14-year-old daughter can get Botox and the salon says they’ll do it. A nurse or doctor wouldn’t dream of treating children.

“And there are parents who would be horrified if their children got these treatments, but they’re are getting it done anyway.”

The mum-of-four says tighter regulation of the non-surgical side of the aesthetic industry will prevent serious harm to patients.

She’s a former theatre nurse who specialised in eye surgeries before moving to the private sector and then setting up her own business, Tanya Khan Aesthetics in Belfast in 2019.

(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Kardashian/Jenner Apps)

The 42-year-old is a regional rep for the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses and a member of the global Complications in Medical Aesthetic Collaborative, which is focused on safety, education and research, as well as the Save Face organisation.

Her expertise was recognised at the inaugural Cosmetic Medicine Awards recently when she won the Cosmetic Non-Surgical Nurse of the Year.

Tanya is concerned the effects of botched injections on very young clients can be devastating, leaving them in need of medical treatment, and emotionally scarred.

Courteney Cox (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

“They are looking for the Instagram face, and it’s not healthy if you think you are not good enough.

“People who are doing these treatments think they’ve done the training course so it must be safe, but they’re not taught about body dysmorphia and the harmful effects on self-esteem.

“These young, impressionable and sometimes vulnerable people need to be protected from treatments which could impact them for the rest of their lives.

“There are too many unqualified, unscrupulous non-medical practitioners who are happy to take the money from these young people and in many cases providing botched jobs and leaving them scarred for life.

“It could be the mechanic down the street who’s injecting someone’s face.”

In 2020 the Department of Health in the UK said over 40,000 under-18s had had anti-wrinkle injections.

They cause fewer long-term effects than fillers, which can stay in the body for up to ten years. Tanya estimates that 15 per cent of her business is dissolving fillers.

“I dissolve fillers often not knowing what filler they have used. I dissolve a lot of duck lips.”

But injections into the wrong site of either treatment can cause horrific damage.

“People can be left with blockage of arteries stopping the blood flow to tissues. If it’s not recognised by the injector or the patient isn’t told what to watch out for within days you could have necrosis, blindness, stroke, infection.”

She says the sales of home injection kits are on the rise across the UK and they will be particularly attractive to younger clients.

Nicole Kidman. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)...E

“Under-18s or 18-year-olds can’t afford medical aesthetics, so they’re going to go online. This is what’s going to happen.

“You can buy a kit and inject your own face. These kits are available in the UK and they shouldn’t be, but there is no regulation.”

She wants to work with NHS staff who are often in the dark about how to treat serious side effects of botched cosmetic treatments.

An ex-client begged Tanya for help recently after mistakenly injecting fillers into her own face which were meant to be rubbed in. The kit had been bought online.

“She looked like the Elephant Woman. She went to A&E and they told her they don’t dissolve fillers on the NHS, to speak to an aesthetic practitioner, but she needed urgent medical care. She could have ended up blind,” says Tanya.

The patient was eventually treated with antibiotics for abscesses and her face returned to normal.

The expert says she also wants to tighten up treatment within professionals in the industry, where injections are not always the answer.

“We are in a position to help people feel better about themselves by talking and listening and not just injecting,” she says.


Today's Headlines

More Northern Ireland

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos