Instagram is largely responsible for the rise in botched injectables, according to one UK expert.  

The continuing popularity of the photo-based social platform, combined with celebrities advertising cosmetic treatments, is behind the spike in recent reports of ‘filler fails’. 

The media has been swamped in the last 6 months with horror images of vulnerable patients that have suffered as a result of undergoing dodgy treatments.

Andrew Burr, a pharmacist and manager of Springpharm – an online pharmacy – says the obsession with photo sharing apps is partly to blame for injectable misuse, especially in impressionable young women. 

He is keen to raise awareness for what he calls an epidemic of ‘filler fails’ like those seen on TV shows like Botched and in recent media reports. 

“Whilst cosmetic injectables are increasingly popular, there is a real problem in the UK with industry regulation and how patients are receiving treatments. Arguably, social media platforms like Instagram have a large part to play, in that they offer an idealised version of things like dermal filler treatments.

“We look at pouting celebrities like Kylie Jenner or the Love Island girls and see the positives of undergoing things like lip fillers, but with such little regulation of non surgical treatments (and anyone able to call themselves an expert online) there’s mixed messages for patients. 

“There’s a definite correlation between what we call ‘filler fails’ like reactions to fillers, product over use, unsanitary treatment conditions, insufficient training and so on, but the industry as a whole is failing to react. There’s a crisis occurring because of this and the leaders are failing to step up and speak up.,” he says

Andrew is calling for the aesthetics industry to clamp down on rogue practitioners marketing themselves through channels like Instagram, and cheap, unsafe products being used in the UK.  

“We’re at crisis point. It’s like waiting for the next PIP scandal – only this time it’ll be played out on a social media platform. Does it have to take a young person to die as a result of undergoing botched cosmetic treatments in someone’s kitchen before anyone takes notice? Patients deserve better,” he says.

In a bid to save women from botched Botox and filler fails, Andrew has offered the following advice for those considering non surgical cosmetic procedures. 

  • Firstly, choose a reputable expert that’s regulated by an official body. Ask to see qualifications – don’t rely on Instagram offers or stories. 
  • Don’t choose a doctor based on a celebrity endorsement on social media.
  • Don’t be fooled by a large following. Reputation is far more important than a number that can be fabricated on apps.
  • Make sure your products has your name on the box; ask to see the label before treatment.
  • Check the intended use/licence for the specific product you’re offered; not all injectables can be used all over the face, as example.
  • Ask where the product originated from. One of the main reasons for filler fails is so called experts buying cheap or fake products – remember, if the price seems too good to be true it probably is.