Brent Saunders, the CEO of global pharmaceutical company Allergan, has issued a statement asking aesthetic professionals to join a discussion on how the specialty can support teenagers seeking aesthetic treatments.
He said, “Today I’m asking all stakeholders in this industry – medical aesthetic product manufacturers, plastic surgeons, dermatologists, aestheticians, owners of medical spas, mental health professionals and others – to join in a conversation to tackle this question: How can we appropriately manage and counsel teenage patients who want medical aesthetic treatments?”
As the father of two high school age girls, Saunders said he is sensitive to the societal pressures they face – to look a certain way or meet a certain standard. He added that as the leader of Allergan, he appreciates how medical aesthetic technologies can provide safe, effective treatments for patients who seek the benefits of improving their appearance.
However, he noted, “When these two worlds intersect – through the inappropriate use of medical aesthetic procedures among minors – it is time to speak up.”
Emphasising that Allergan’s medical aesthetic products are only approved for adults, Saunders cited the fact that there is growing interest from younger patients, often teenagers under the age of 18, wanting to try aesthetic treatments.
“For instance, a YouTube search for ‘teen lip injections’ returns more than 50,000 videos, and data shows teenage use of soft tissue fillers and hyaluronic acid dermal fillers is on the rise. With each passing year, the rates of inappropriate use of aesthetic treatments among this teenage population are likely to increase,” he said.
According to Saunders, at a minimum, teenaged patients should consult and rely on the judgment of a trained and licensed healthcare professional, as well as obtain parental consent prior to receiving any medical aesthetic procedure.
He said, “An experienced healthcare professional could determine that a patient under the age of 18 may be a potential candidate for an aesthetic treatment if they have congenital development concerns or serious issues with their appearance.”
Calling on aesthetic professionals to join the discussion, Saunders emphasised, “Regardless of whether you agree with me, it’s clear that we need to begin a dialogue about this issue before it becomes a major challenge. Unless we do something to address this issue directly, we risk harming a vulnerable part of our society.”
He concluded, “I look forward to gathering our community to address this question head on. My hope is that together we can come to a shared, common sense position, and ensure we are doing what is best for patients.”