Life and Style Writer Lizzie Newton discusses Superdrug now stocking botox and fillers and how this affects the accessibility of cosmetic surgery

Written by Lizzie Newton

The high-street retailer, Superdrug, have introduced a new skin renew service, offering in-store botox and dermal fillers. In response to an increase in demands for anti-wrinkle and skin rejuvenation treatments the service was first launched in August this year, making the store the first of its kind to provide dermatological treatments. 

At a glance, the implication is given that when we pop into the store to pick up some make-up wipes, shampoo and replace our dried out mascara we think, ‘You know what I’m looking a bit tired today, might just treat myself to a lip-job and fillers!’ 

However, the treatments aren’t quite as accessible as you may think. In order to be eligible for the procedure to go ahead, clients must be over the age of 25 and participate in a thorough phone consultation with a nurse prior to completing a medical questionnaire. If successful, injections will be carried out in a private room and nurses can refuse to treat ineligible customers. Additionally, treatments start at £99, so for most of us, it doesn’t come under the category of ‘impulse buys’.

Nevertheless, is the presence of injectables alone within high-street retailers enough to normalise plastic surgery? Equally, is the industry encouraging a younger clientele by increasing its  accessibility for users? We’re at risk of treating cosmetic surgery like a casual beauty treatment, especially as it can now be found amongst the every-day beauty products.

In a Sky News report, consultant surgeon and British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons spokesman, Gerard Lambe comments: “While Superdrug may be hiring medically trained nurses, it is crucial members of the public do not treat having Botox and dermal fillers [as the same as] brow threading or waxing”. Especially as the use of botox within the beauty industry only took shape in the noughties, we aren’t really aware of the long-term effects it has yet.

A number of risks can arise from the treatment, they vary from infection to incorrectly applied needle placement over delicate facial muscles

A number of risks can arise from the treatment, they vary from infection to incorrectly applied needle placement over delicate facial muscles – which can lead to paralysis. Professionals have had to administer corrective fillers following dangerously injected fillers.

The administration of injectables has come under fire in recent years as it’s been a notoriously unregulated industry. However tighter regulations have recently been announced by the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners and the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons that have meant only medically-trained healthcare professionals and nurses will be able to join the official register – excluding beauticians. 

Vogue blames the likes of ‘Love Island’ and Instagram as contestants on the show, including winner Dani Dyer (aged 22), have discussed having lip fillers, botox and other procedures. 

Megan Barton Hanson (aged 24) – a runner-up – told Vogue “People get their hair done because it makes them feel nice. I get my lips done because I feel better, it doesn’t have to be a massive deal.” I do think this is a valid point, that the stigma for cosmetic surgery isn’t a wholly positive one, regardless of the push for living in a non-judgmental world. However, this is still swerving the issue of cosmetic surgery being normalised and more common, to the point that people don’t think twice about it anymore.  For instance, the clientele for makeup is becoming increasingly younger, due to it being seen as a necessity for going into your teens. Will this be the same for botox as well – a necessity in order to combat ageing?

Feeling confident about how you look is linked to a person’s wellbeing and that’s different for all of us

Caris Newson, head of health and wellbeing services at Superdrug argues “feeling confident about how you look is linked to a person’s wellbeing and that’s different for all of us. For some it might mean […] getting their nails done, for others […] getting fitter, or it might be about smoothing out fine lines.”

With the high pricing, age limit, and medical report for the use of botox and fillers within Superdrug I don’t feel there’ll be a drastic surge in the use of cosmetic surgery within the high-street store within the near future. However, I believe it’s increased accessibility could result in more people viewing it as a beauty treatment rather than a medical, cosmetic procedure and having an increasing lack of concern for the risk it entails.