ONCE the preserve of the rich and famous, facial aesthetics have soared in popularity as their costs have fallen and many women now regard them as an extension of their beauty routine.

But there have been increasing horror stories in recent months about cosmetic procedures that have gone wrong.

According to latest research, 70 per cent of plastic surgeons in the UK have treated patients with problems resulting from temporary skin fillers used to fill in wrinkles and crows’ feet, create fuller cheeks and pouting lips.

But Austin Brewer, who runs a registered practice in Bourne-mouth, says usually it’s the practitioner that is at fault rather than the product.

Until now there has been no formal regulation of the industry, but the Independent Healthcare Advisory Service has launched a pioneering, government-backed scheme in the form of Treatments You Can Trust website.

This is a register which allows consumers to find a practitioner who has extensive training and insurance and meets the rigorous criteria that acts as a safeguard when searching for a professional and qualified practitioner.

“It should be compulsory,” says Austin.

“If it were, I think we’d have a lot fewer practitioners.”

He adds: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, ask to see their medical registration card, check their certificates and training records are extensive, find out how long they have been practising in aesthetics and check that they have proper liability insurance.

“And if an offer sounds too good it probably is, as Botox isn’t a cheap product to buy.”

So before you book your next appointment, check your practitioner is registered with the Treatments You Can Trust website at treatmentsyoucantrust.org.uk.