Superdrug rolls out controversial Botox and fillers to second store

Superdrug rolls out its controversial Botox and fillers to second store as NHS announces all clinics offering the cosmetic procedures are to screen customers for mental health problems

  • The retailer drew criticism when it started offering the services last August
  • Now it has revealed its Manchester Piccadilly store will offer the treatments 
  • Botox will cost £99 and fillers between £125 and £349, Superdrug said

Superdrug has announced it will begin to offer its controversial Botox and lip fillers at another one of its stores.

The high street retailer triggered a storm of criticism when it started offering the services to customers at its flagship London unit last August.

Now it has revealed its Manchester Piccadilly store will offer the treatments as of next week, with Botox costing £99 and fillers between £125 and £349.

It comes as clinics providing the cosmetic procedures have been told they must check the mental health of patients before offering them.

The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) agreed to introduce new rules for its members following a meeting with NHS England.

Staff at some clinics will also be trained to spot conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder and refer customers to NHS services when necessary.

However, the JCCP is an advisory board, meaning nurses working for clinics, including Superdrug, do not have to follow the guidelines imposed.

But Superdrug has insisted all four of its nurses, who are members of the 100-strong organisation, will follow the protocols.

The high street retailer triggered a storm of criticism when it started offering the services to customers at its flagship London unit last August

NHS England’s medical director Professor Stephen Powis demanded the retailer check for mental health conditions when it started offering the services.

Professor Powis welcomed the extra checks, but warned that providers who are not members of the council will not have to comply with the code of practice.

He said: ‘Cosmetic firms bringing in tighter controls to protect young people’s mental health is a major step forward.

‘But voluntary steps on their own mean mental health too often will still be left in the hands of providers operating as a law unto themselves.

‘We know that appearance is the one of the things that matters most to young people.

‘And the bombardment of idealised images and availability of quick fix procedures is helping fuel a mental health and anxiety epidemic.’

Professor Powis added: ‘We need all parts of society to show a duty of care and take action to prevent avoidable harm.’

Superdrug said the average age of its customers seeking aesthetic treatments is 54 – despite original fears it would be bombarded by young women seeking fillers and Botox.

Following the initial intervention by Professor Powis last August, Superdrug agreed to put in place extra safeguards to protect those suffering from mental health conditions.

It said the checks, developed by psychologists, would be conducted by the same nurses who carry out the cosmetic procedures.

Superdrug said ‘strong customer demand’ prompted the decision to extend its Skin Renew Service to Manchester

Questions include how often somebody feels anxious about certain parts of their body and how often they look at the part of their body they hate.

Other questions focus on how often anxiety about their body interferes with day-to-day activities. The same checks will apply to the Manchester store.

Superdrug said ‘strong customer demand’ prompted the decision to extend its Skin Renew Service to Manchester.

It is only available for over-25s and customers are only treated if they bring ID to prove their age with them after booking an appointment in advance.

Michael Henry, Superdrug’s healthcare director, told MailOnline: ‘We want people who choose to have Botox and fillers to be treated by qualified practitioners in a clinical environment. 

‘It can lead to dangerous outcomes when offered in the wrong hands and in unlicensed premises.’

Kitty Wallace, from the Body Dysmorphic Disorder foundation, said it was ‘great to see’ the NHS tackling the emergence of cosmetic treatments.

She said: ‘Cosmetic procedures like Botox, now widely available on the high street, are putting people at risk and can have a damaging effect on the mental health of young people.

‘We know that people with body image problems are more likely to turn to ‘quick fix’ procedures with body dysmorphic disorder.’

‘It’s great to see the NHS and professionals leading the sea change, but we need all parts of society to change their attitudes and take action to protect vulnerable individuals.’

Body dysmorphia causes distress and significantly impacts on quality of life, the charity said. Figures suggest it affects one in 50 people.

Dr Pixie McKenna, a Superdrug ambassador, said: ‘The popularity of anti-wrinkle treatments has increased dramatically in recent years.

‘Whether your goal is to turn back the clock, boost confidence or simply explore non-surgical aesthetic options, many patients undergo aesthetic treatments.

‘Unfortunately, in tandem with their increase in popularity we have seen an increase in the number of people claiming to be ‘expert’ practitioners in the field.

‘It is surprising how many people engage in these services, without having a full understanding of the qualifications or competence of the person carrying it out.’

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘Superdrug takes a responsible approach to cosmetic procedures.

‘And their emphasis on making sure no-one undergoes a treatment that isn’t suitable for them is to be commended.’

They urged anyone considering Botox, fillers or other cosmetic procedure to ensure they find a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner.

Superdrug said it already turns away about a fifth of people if nurses feel ‘facial aesthetics are currently not appropriate for them’.


Lip fillers are usually made of hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring substance found in the skin and other bodily tissues. 

Hyaluronic acid injections are generally safe but can cause redness, swelling, bruising, itching and tenderness at and around the site of the injection.

Side effects may affect people differently and should be discussed with a specialist before the injections are done.

If someone gets cold sores it can trigger an outbreak, and the injections may not be suitable for people who are at risk of keloid scarring – when scars become large and grow out of control.

Lip fillers can get infected when: 

1. Unregulated cheap products are used which cause a reaction with the tissue leading to a secondary infection

2. When treatment occurs in unsanitary conditions like the back of a gym or a patients sofa.

3. When there’s poor aftercare for example use of make up immediately after treatment.

4. Syringes are shared. This is poor practice but common in areas where people want to minimise cost by sharing syringes between patient. 

How to get safe lip fillers:

1. As per NHS England advice ensure your practitioner is a registered medical professional.

2. Ensure treatment is within a clean clinical environment such as a clinic.

3. Check you practitioner had the appropriate insurance and is experienced at the procedure and treating complications.

4. Always ensure you have a follow up appointment available to you as part of your treatment.

5. Adhere to aftercare and ensure you have emergency contacts for your practitioner.  

Sources: Save Face and NHS 

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