Boosted by social networks, the number of illegal cosmetic injections is exploding in Europe

Boosted by social networks, the number of illegal cosmetic injections is exploding in France

The number of reports of illegal hyaluronic acid injections has never been as high in Europe as it is currently. But behind this trend, customers, often young, do not seem to know the risks they run for their health, as Dr Fatya Assadi notes.

For a fuller mouth or more sculpted features, many young women (in particular) turn to aesthetic medicine and its famous hyaluronic acid injections. Many of them go to a cheaper “pseudo” doctor who practices without any training or knowledge. At the risk of their health and their beauty.

The number of reports has doubled

Thus, according to information reported by The Parisianthe number of reports of illegal injections has reached its highest level in Europe in six years, rising from 55 in 2022 to 104 in 2023, against people practicing aesthetic medicine without having been trained.

Fake professionals who advertise their activity on social networks and thereby attract young adults, sometimes minors. For two to three times less expensive than a session in a real office, they inject the said product from their apartment or even a storage unit. Cases which increasingly result in convictions.

Failed injections with serious consequences

Because these injections that we seem to do today like we apply a cream, in reality deserve expertise and mastery of the medical procedure which can, if done poorly, lead to serious complications. We interviewed Dr Fatya Assadi, aesthetic doctor and member of our committee of experts, about this. This reveals that necrosis of the nose, lips and even blindness are possible. And for good reason :

“It takes a minimum of training, and several years of study to know the anatomy, the gestures, and to be authorized to perform this type of act. The difference between an illegal ‘injector’ and a doctor is that the latter will not say that there is no danger, because every act involves risks. But he will be able to manage the complications. An illegal injector will be completely powerless in the face of these complications, because she does not have the knowledge to react. Therefore, these young women either have no fear or they do not know the risks.”

The doctor also reminds us that an injection requires an initial 30-minute consultation, in order to talk about the project and mention all the possible risks, which is something a fake doctor does not do in his kitchen.

Towards a ban on the free sale of products?

Faced with the scale of the danger, the National Union of Aesthetic Surgery (SNCPRE) launched a national alert in 2022. A movement which has clearly not slowed down false practices but which seems to have affected the public. “There is growing awareness among the public, health and judicial authorities. There were arrests and convictions.”explains Doctor Adel Louafi to Parisian.

The problem in this drift undoubtedly remains the free sale of hyaluronic acid in Europe. It is in fact entirely possible today to buy pre-filled syringes in pharmacies and inject them yourself, or through a friend. To better regulate this practice, professionals in the sector are calling for the sale of hyaluronic acid to be prohibited to the general public. A draft decree has already been submitted to the European Commission, but it is still pending.

“The fact that this product is no longer available in pharmacies and online would already be a first step; more regulated. What is complicated today is managing the networks, which have a young and easily influenced audience. On the posts everything looks nice and easy. That’s not the reality. There should be more drastic regulations on this subject, but on the networks, is that possible?” concludes our expert.