Health inspectors are to go undercover in an attempt to identify rogue beauty clinics that are offering therapies without a certificate of registration.
Around 3,000 unregistered clinics offer laser treatments to remove facial hair and skin blemishes and a further 3,000 operators, including many hairdressers, are believed to offer treatments such as anti-wrinkle skin fillers and BOTOX® injections without a license.
However, many leave women with irreparable damage due to incorrect administration and poor safety procedures.
The Healthcare Commission revealed that it receives around 50 complaints every year from members of the public who have suffered damage at the hands of so-called 'backstreet operators' carrying out procedures to remove facial hair and skin blemishes.
Kate Lobley, head of operations at the Healthcare Commission, commented that too many healthcare service providers are currently operating outside the law and insisted that something had to be done to improve the situation.
"Patients and the public want reassurance that services are safe and meeting minimum standards," said Ms Lobley. "People should steer clear of clinics and doctors who are operating illegally."
According to media reports, the Healthcare Commission will now send in mystery shoppers as part of a covert surveillance operation to determine which clinics are offering treatments without undergoing official safety checks.
At present, clinics offering cosmetic surgery, including liposuction, are required to register with the Healthcare Commission but those carrying out BOTOX® injections and skin fillers do not need a certificate.
Experts recommend that patients research clinics to check whether they have a practitioner's Healthcare Commission certificate, which lists the various services they are licensed to perform, and, in the case of anti-wrinkle procedures, people are advised to check the provider's qualification.