Legislate on filtered images and some cosmetic procedures, say deputies

A botox injection into a woman’s lips. Ps are asking for stricter standards (Alamy/PA)

More must be done to help prevent body image dissatisfaction, including putting logos on some filtered images and new training standards for people who perform certain cosmetic procedures, lawmakers said.

Members of the House of Commons Health and Welfare Committee said the impact of body image on mental and physical health is “widespread” and that the government “is not doing enough to understand the scale of the risks” linked to body image dissatisfaction. .

A new report from the committee calls for the government to introduce a law so that “commercial images” that feature bodies that have been doctored in some way — including changes in body proportions or skin tone — are legally required to carry a logo for viewers to see. know that they have been digitally altered.

We’ve heard of some harrowing experiences – a moving walk approach with procedures performed no questions asked, procedures gone wrong, the use of dirty facilities

Health and Welfare Committee Chair Jeremy Hunt

Lawmakers also urged ministers to discourage influencers from altering their images.

Meanwhile, the committee also called for action to reduce the “conveyor belt” approach to non-surgical cosmetic procedures — such as Botox injections or chemical peels — by introducing a licensing regime for vendors.

This should also include minimum standards of training for the people who provide these services and a “cool off” period between consenting and providing the procedure, lawmakers said.

Meanwhile, dermal fillers must be made from prescription-only substances, according to Botox, the group added.

They also called on the government to do more to understand the “increase in body image dissatisfaction across the population, including the impact of social media”.

Committee chairman, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The government must act urgently to end the situation where anyone can perform non-surgical cosmetic procedures, regardless of training or qualifications.

“We’ve heard some harrowing experiences – a moving walk approach with no-questions-asked procedures, procedures gone wrong, the use of filthy facilities.

“It has become clear throughout our investigation that some groups are particularly vulnerable to exploitation in this growing market that has not been regulated.

Jeremy Hunt demanded government action on non-surgical cosmetic procedures (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)( (PA Media)

Jeremy Hunt demanded government action on non-surgical cosmetic procedures (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)( (PA Media)

“We need a timeline now for a licensing regime with patient safety at its center to reduce these risks.

“We hope that ministers will heed our recommendations and dedicate themselves to creating the safety standards that anyone seeking treatment is entitled to expect.”

The report also calls for more action to be taken to tackle obesity and help prevent children from developing body image problems early in life.

Deputies urged the Government to restrict multiple purchase agreements for foods and beverages rich in fat, salt or sugar.

In the meantime, the government should review the increasing use of anabolic steroids for cosmetic purposes, the group said. The deputies proposed a security campaign for those at risk.

Hunt told Sky News: “There are a lot of street cowboys where you can show up and have non-surgical cosmetic procedures to change your face, the shape of your nose.

“We say it shouldn’t be something you can just show up and do on the spot, there should be a cooling off period.

“And, in particular, there should be an obligation on whoever is conducting this procedure to look at your full history, including your mental health history, and talk about it with you, because it could be that this is really nothing to do with it. with your look, it has to do with mental health issues.

“The thing to do is look at the root cause of these problems, not change your face.”

He added: “In some ways, access is very easy for people who are feeling depressed or anxious about their body image. They can do these procedures on the spur of the moment, without due consideration, and then find that it hasn’t solved the root problem.”

He continued: “We now think that about 60% of 17-19 year olds may have a possible eating disorder, so this is a very dramatic increase over the last two decades.

“And social media seems to be one of the causes – we ask that some research be done so that we can understand this properly.

“But at the very least, when commercial companies photoshop to make people thinner than they would be in real life, we think it should be labeled – we think people looking at these images should know it’s not a real human being.

“And this is part of the way we can help people use social media more consciously, (to know) some of the tricks of the trade if you will, and therefore stop this constant focus on our bodies, which is so harmful to so many young people, especially young women.

“I think the social media landscape needs an overhaul in areas like this, particularly when it affects young people.”

Victoria Brownlie, policy director at the British Beauty Council, urged the government to take forward the committee’s recommendations, adding: “We want a beauty industry that is a beacon for body positivity with world-leading standards of care.

“Regulation for non-surgical cosmetic procedures cannot come anytime soon, and while the government has pledged to address this, current partisan politics means these policy changes are in limbo. Deadlines are unclear.”

Tom Quinn, director of external affairs for Beat, an eating disorder charity, said: “We welcome the Health and Welfare Committee’s proposal to ensure that digitally altered images are clearly marked.

“While the display of irresponsible advertising or social media images is not the only cause of developing an eating disorder, the pressure to conform to a specific body shape or size can have an incredibly detrimental effect on self-esteem and well-being, especially in younger people. ”

We know the devastating impact that body image issues can have on a person’s mental and physical health and we continue to take steps to support those affected.

government spokesperson

A government spokesperson said: “We know that the devastating impact issues around body image can have on a person’s mental and physical health and we continue to take action to support those affected.

“As part of our ongoing effort, we will introduce a national licensing scheme to help prevent exploitation, improve safety and ensure that individuals make informed and safe choices about non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

“This will build on the existing support we have put in place, from expanding mental health services – including for those with body dysmorphic disorder – at an additional £2.3 billion a year through 2024, to changing the law preventing minors from 18 years of accessing Botox and filler treatments for cosmetic purposes.”

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