'It breaks my heart': Doctors urge Govt to regulate cosmetic medicine

Cosmetic Medicine practitioners are lobbying the Government to tighten regulations within the industry, and re-categorise it as a 'specialist' field.

Dr Catherine Stone from The Face Place says "at the moment if you are a doctor, a nurse or a dentist, you don't even have to do a one-day course, you can pick up a needle and start injecting."

"It's not currently a specialist qualification," says Dr Sarah Hart, who has worked in the industry for 18 years

Have you had a bad experience with a beauty treatment? Contact Lisette Reymer with your story on lisettereymer@mediaworks.co.nz

The industry is experiencing a huge boom in popularity - and as a result, there's also been a boom in unqualified practitioners, underground operators, and DIY disasters.

Dr Cat says regulation hasn't kept up with reality, and people are suffering.

"Pretty much every day I am seeing people's faces that are what I would call disfigured."

Dr Sarah says most people are too embarrassed to share their horror stories.

"It breaks my heart that people go and trust someone and they don't realise they're unqualified in these treatments. They're chasing price instead."

Unfortunately, the cheapest option is often found online. 

Dermal fillers used to be prescription medicines, but were recently deregulated. Now, you can easily Google DIY dermal filler packs, for as low as $30 per syringe.

"Getting something off the internet is totally like playing russian roulette, you actually don't know what you're going to be getting" warns Dr Cat.

She says at best the syringe will be filled with glucose, but at worst it will contain ingredients that'll permanently disfigure your face.

The Ministry of Health says it's aware of the importance of appropriate training and is currently considering ways to better identify and manage health risk for consumers.

Ask these questions before booking in for a treatment:

  • What is their qualification? (Listen for 'NZSCM')
  • How many times have they done this procedure?
  • Can I see your clients before and after photos?