Botched beauty treatments can leave their mark; and not in a good way. That’s according to skin specialist Dr. Rosemary Coleman, who’s been speaking to Claire Byrne about her fears for people getting beauty treatments from unqualified therapists who may be using inferior products. The dermatologist says she is worried about younger people starting "anti-aging" treatments before their faces have fully developed, let alone show any signs of aging. Dr. Coleman lays out the worst effects of badly done procedures in grisly detail, whilst detailing the health and beauty benefits of treatments carried out by qualified practitioners.

Doctor Rosemary Coleman wants greater regulation of products like dermal fillers. Fillers are substances which can be injected into the skin to plump up areas like the lips. When used correctly, they usually dissolve after a period of time. The problem is, Rosemary says, that "fillers" purchased online may be wildly unsuitable for human use:

"There are other products, particularly black-market products, which are shipped in or bought online, which are composed of all sorts of absolutely horrible ingredients, Claire, that you wouldn’t put into a dog and they can cause all sorts of nasty allergic reactions."

Hyaluronic acid is used as a filler and it breaks down over time, but can have horrible effects if over-used, Dr. Coleman says.

"If it’s injected in very high volumes, which is what we are seeing at the moment, it will stretch and dilate the skin. And when it does that, it can stimulate collagen production. People might think that’s a great idea - it’ll last longer. But you can actually be left with flabby, permanently distended lips or cheeks or chin, long after the actual product has broken down."

Anyone can set up a filler clinic because of light regulation, Dr. Coleman says. There is no way of knowing what materials they are using and what the qualifications of the practitioners are:

"That’s the big problem. Fillers are implants and they are not classified as a drug. So, it is not illegal for you to set up a filler clinic tomorrow, Claire. Your gardener could do it. Anyone can do it."

Dr. Coleman says people come to her in their late teens and early 20s looking to get their "anti-aging" regime started early, before they have a single line on their face. She says she often tries to talk them out of it:

"First of all, they are beautiful. Because youth is beauty. And I’m trying to point out to them that they’re not aging. They are trying to reverse something that hasn’t even happened."

It's a myth that starting botox when you are very young can delay or even totally prevent aging, Dr. Coleman says. She says there is no medical research to back up claims that it will keep you looking younger for longer:

"They are being brainwashed into believing that the earlier they start Botox and fillers, the more likely that they will be able to delay aging or never age. And you see the influencers are being paid lots of money to encourage people to have Botox and fillers."

Our faces and bodies continue to grow and mature into our mid-twenties, Rosemary says, and you could be interfering with your natural development if you start too early:

"At 21, your face isn’t even fully developed. It doesn’t really develop fully until 25 or 26 and your muscles will affect your bone development. So, if you start putting muscles to sleep or wasting them at the age of 18, 19 or 20, we have absolutely no long-term reassurance that you are not going to do permanent harm or waste your muscles permanently."

Another trend Claire raised with Dr. Coleman is the so-called ‘Tinkerbell nose’, which involves injecting a little ball of filler in under the tip of the nose to give it an upturned look. Dr. Coleman says that the nose is one of the trickiest areas for using filler:

"It’s possibly one of the riskiest areas that you could inject filler. It’s really, really high risk. It’s so high risk that although I have been trained and gone to numerous training and teaching session on how to inject the nose, I wouldn’t inject it if you paid me."

Rosemary says that if her patients ask for this procedure, she sends them to a nasal specialist. If potentially life-changing complications arise, only a specialist surgeon can fix them immediately, she explains:

"The nose area is very high risk and should really only be injected by an ear, nose and throat surgeon, who is very, very familiar with the anatomy and is able to operate instantly if a vessel is blocked because it can even need to blindness."

The danger of sight loss is very real, Dr Coleman says:

"Not to terrify people, but there have been over 200 cases of blindness reported in the world with fillers, most commonly when treated around the eye area."

Speaking about the celebrity trend for very full lips, Dr. Coleman says there are risks associated with repeated top-up treatments:

"If you over-distend the area, my analogy is that it’s like putting the contents of a black bin bag into a little sandwich bag. The sandwich bag can’t take it. The contents will spill over."

And if turning your face into an over-stuffed trash bag doesn’t make you pause for thought, Rosemary says wandering fillers can also change your face beyond the injection site, and this damage can be permanent:

"What happens is the filler migrates above the lip. So, you’ll often see these people with a funny sort of a shelf above the lip itself. That’s the filler that has moved, that has gone out from where it was injected because eating and smiling and laughing is putting pressure on; so, the filler will migrate. That has to be dissolved out, if they haven’t used cheap nasty filler that can’t be dissolved."

Dr. Rosemary Coleman says she is in favour of safe procedures with proven health or beauty benefits carried out by qualified practitioners. She is looking for more regulation to restrict access to what she says are harmful products that are too easy to buy:

"You, yourself should not be able to buy this product on Amazon and inject a friend in your kitchen."

Not wanting to dictate which trends people should follow, Dr Coleman says each generation has its own aesthetic and is entitled to decide on beauty standards. But she wants people to think twice about the long term effects of using cheap materials to sculpt their bodies in pursuit of a passing fad:

"When the fashion has gone, they are stuck with the damage and they can’t be fixed."

If you want to hear more about what can go wrong with badly done treatments to the lips, nose, chin and eyes, including the infamous "fox eye" treatment, as well as examples of safe and beneficial cosmetic surgery, it’s all in Dr Rosemary Coleman’s full interview with Claire Byrne here