Industry responds to non-medic Love Island star training in injectable treatments

25 Nov 2019

Medical aesthetic practitioners have raised safety and regulation concerns after ex-Love Island star and personal trainer Rykard Jenkins posted images on Instagram of himself training to administer botulinum toxin.

Aesthetic practitioner Dr Shirin Lakhani told Aesthetics that she was disappointed and shocked that Rykard Jenkins, who she had previously treated as a patient at her clinic, had sought training in injectable treatments and is now planning to become a practitioner.

“I find it terrifying that Jenkins, who doesn’t even hold beauty therapy qualifications, is legally able to go on a short training course and be ‘qualified’ to perform treatments like botulinum toxin, dermal fillers and microneedling,” Dr Lakhani said.

Aesthetic practitioner Dr Sophie Shotter added, “To be in an era where someone can go from an untrained reality TV star to delivering injectable treatments is very, very concerning – I think this is utterly ridiculous.”

Jenkins, who appeared in the 2017 version of Love Island, posted an Instagram video to his 355k followers of himself injecting a patient with botulinum toxin at a training course. He has also posted about microneedling, dermaplaning and microblading training.

He said in his Instagram post, “What a DAY! Today I felt like a real aesthetic practitioner – after so many exams in anatomy and physiology and anti-ageing (Botox) theory and exams, shadowing experienced practitioners we finally got to treat our own clients at Cosmetic Couture under the guidance of their medically trained nurse.”

In another post about dermaplaning training, he said he “Cannot wait to get set up and start doing treatments.”

When questioned by an Instagram user about how he can access and dispense the prescription-only medicine, Jenkins explained that he has a licensed prescriber who will consult and prescribe for patients, before the products are ordered and administered by Jenkins. He wrote, “Basically, unless you see a doctor and get a prescription you can’t get the treatment because you can’t get just get the product. Every client must be prescribed their own (Botox). This makes it extra safe for the client and us as non-medical practitioners to administer.”

However, Dr Lakhani said that stating these treatments are ‘safe’ is extremely misleading to the public. She said, “Injectable treatments such as botulinum toxin and dermal fillers have very real medical risks associated with them, which require medical interventions from trained medical professionals and prescribers. This is why I believe the treatments should not only be prescribed by a medical professional, but also administered by a medical professional, as they will be the ones who will need to act fast to ensure there is no long-term damage to the patient.” She adds, “I get daily enquires about correctional work due to non-medical injectors and last week I had to do three corrections all caused by beauty therapists.”

Dr Lakhani added, “I am also outraged that medical professionals are actually prescribing these treatments, which goes against our code of conduct. These treatments can be dangerous in the wrong hands and until the government steps in and address the regulation issues in the UK, any lay person will be allowed to perform these procedures.”

Dr Shotter added that she is also concerned with Jenkins’ high social media reach and “young and easily influenced” following. She stated, “As part of Love Island, he has presented an ‘aspirational’ image to millions of young people, who will now be exposed to him marketing his aesthetic services. He isn’t bound by the same ethical codes of conduct as medical professionals with regards to his practice and his marketing, and I think this is particularly dangerous for his 355k followers.”

Maxine Hopley, CEO of Cosmetic Couture, which runs two-day courses to non-medical professionals according to their website, told the Daily Mail that she believes medical aesthetic practitioners are more concerned about money rather than patient safety. She stated, “The doctor complaining is twisting it to make it sound like this is all online which is nonsense – I have done thousands more Botox and filler treatments than her and challenge her that I am way more qualified to teach this than her despite her medical degree. She is just trying to promote her own clinic and make more money by denying others the right to practice something that is legal, safe and helping tens of thousands of people every day feel better about themselves.”

Dr Lakhani told Aesthetics that she does not consider her neighbouring medical professionals as competition. She explained, “There are many prominent medical aesthetic professionals in my local area that I am very good friends with and we support each other as colleagues rather than competition. We have each other to assist and consult with should a complication occur. Non-medical professionals don’t know how to recognise a complication or deal with it and don’t have the support of medical professionals to fall back on. There is enough work for everyone and my concerns are entirely about safeguarding patients.”

Dr Shotter added, “As doctors we have a duty to protect public safety, and as such we must speak out when we have concerns to this degree. I am not afraid of local ‘competition’ – I suspect Jenkins’ client base will be very different from my patients, but I am very concerned about the possible impact on public health from someone with minimal qualifications performing treatments which could require expert medical help to correct.”

This month, the British Association of Aesthetic Nurses (BACN) updated its Code of Conduct to make it clear that it does not support the training and prescribing of beauty therapists, which also reflects the stance of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine.

The training and prescribing of beauty therapists in injectable treatments such as botulinum toxin and dermal fillers is also not supported by the UK’s voluntarily registers, the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) and Save Face.

Professor David Sines, executive chair of the JCCP commented, “The idea that non-medical practitioners can be seen to be competent to provide injectable and filler treatments after a few days’ training and be able to fully diagnose a person’s needs and deal with any complications that occur is ridiculous. The JCCP urges all potential patients/customers seeking these type of treatments to fully investigate the credentials and qualifications of those persons offering these services’.”

Professor Sines added, “The JCCP operates a Professional Standards Authority-government approved register for non-surgical practitioners and maintains a register of approved education and training providers in this area. The JCCP position is that it will not register any non-medical practitioners delivering advanced treatments such as injectables and fillers. It would also not give approval to any training body offering training to non-medical practitioners to deliver injectable and filler treatments.”

Ashton Collins, the director of Save Face added, "It is terrifying that a lay person can undertake a training course and emerge a few days later offering a range of complex and advanced non-surgical treatments. What is scarier still is that the training course itself is being legitimised and promoted via social media to an audience that has been accrued because of a reality TV appearance, an audience that has been conditioned to think that having cosmetic procedures is normal and risk-free because of programmes like Love Island."

Collins added, "We firmly believe that injectable treatments are safer in the hands of trained healthcare professionals for a verity of reasons, not least their professional accountability, which ensures that patients have access to redress should a complication occur. Because non-healthcare practitioners are unaccountable, they can be uninsured, untrained, unethical and unsafe and continue to operate with impunity."

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