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France cracks down on hyaluronic acid to curb illegal cosmetic injections

France cracks down on hyaluronic acid to curb illegal cosmetic injections
France cracks down on hyaluronic acid to curb illegal cosmetic injections Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Oceane Duboust
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French health authorities made medical prescriptions compulsory to use injectable hyaluronic acid.


French health authorities have tightened safety measures around hyaluronic acid, a popular product used in cosmetic treatments that has increased in use by non-professionals.

A medical prescription is now necessary to obtain "injectable hyaluronic acid-based devices," France’s health ministry said in a statement on Friday. 

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a popular ingredient in cosmetics and can be used as an injection for everything from filling wrinkles to adding volume to lips, noses or cheeks. 

As it can be naturally found in the human body, it's less likely to cause allergies or cause adverse side effects.

‘An informal and lucrative market’

The increase in popularity of non-surgical cosmetic procedures, known as “tweakments”, has led to a surge of injections done outside medical facilities that attract consumers with low prices and ads on social media.

“For several years, an informal and lucrative market in which individuals and non-health professionals obtain and perform aesthetic injections of hyaluronic acid on themselves or others has developed,” the French health ministry said.

Several people have been convicted for practising illegal beauty injections in recent years such as two sisters in France last year and a German Instagram influencer who was sentenced to four years of prison in 2019.

The UK government announced late last year that they would seek views on making non-surgical cosmetic procedures safer to create a new licensing system. Injectables have been banned for under 18s since 2021.

Experts warned in a recent BBC report that the UK was still in a dire situation with Scotland being “the worst in Europe” for risky cosmetic procedures. Scotland doesn’t have a ban on procedures for minors. 

Unusual side effects are rare but can involve allergies, necrosis, infections or even blindness. When untrained or unlicensed practitioners do the treatments, the risks of complications or unsatisfactory results are higher.

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