We’ve all been there: you walk into a salon excited for a fresh, new look, only to later find yourself staring in the mirror and wishing for someone to invent a time machine so you can erase the mistake you’ve made. While Olaplex and time can solve almost any hair crisis, not all beauty treatment mishaps have such a simple solution.
The popularity of beauty and aesthetic treatments, such as dermal fillers and eyelash extensions is rising rapidly- and therefore so is the risk of them going wrong. This is why it’s more important than ever to do your research on the treatment and practitioner before taking the leap and sitting down in their chair.
We only get one face after all and a botched experience is something that no one would hope to have!
With this in mind, we partnered with Saveface to investigate which aesthetic treatments are being complained about the most to raise awareness of these issues and promote safety within the beauty industry.
For the second part of our study, we analysed online search volumes across the UK to find which locations suffer the worst with beauty and aesthetic treatments.
- 93% were not aware that any serious complications could occur and believed that the treatments were low-risk beauty treatments.
- 92% did not have a face-to-face consultation with a licensed prescriber.
- 89% of complainants did not know Botox is a prescription-only medicine.
- 84% were ignored/ blocked by their practitioner when it went wrong and they tried to seek help.
- 82% did not know what product was used for their aesthetic treatment.
- 80% of practitioners were believed to be uninsured.
- Over 20% of cases are believed to have been given unlicenced/ counterfeit Botox.
- Facial lasering is the most complained about beauty treatment in the UK.
- Laser hair removal is the most popular treatment in the UK, with 90,500 online searches each month.
The most complained about aesthetic treatments in 2022
In 2022, 2,824 complaints were made overall regarding unregistered practitioners, with 80% of the practitioners believed to be uninsured and 93% of the clients not aware that any serious complications could occur, believing that their treatments were low risk.
A huge portion of the patients making complaints were female, at 97%, meaning just 3% were male. The treatments seem to be more popular among the younger generation too, as 47% of the beauty and aesthetic treatment complaints made in 2022 were from people aged 18 to 25 and 37% were from people aged 26 to 35.
Dermal fillers were the most complained about aesthetic treatment of 2022
Lips were the dermal filler location with the most complaints in 2022
Of the 2,824 aesthetic treatment complaints made, 1,948 were about dermal fillers. Lip fillers made up 69% of the complaints made regarding filler.
Lip filler can migrate to unwanted areas when too much is injected into the lips or when injected into the incorrect area, creating the infamous “duck lips” look. The complications can go further than an undesirable look, as overfilled lips can be extremely painful and can even block blood vessels, causing bruising, blistering and bleeding.
Ironically, social media which once raised the demand for the treatment also is raising awareness of the potential complications, as #lipfillergonewrong on TikTok has 91.3M views across 820 videos.
Cheeks were the second most complained about location of dermal fillers in 2022
The second most complained about location of dermal fillers was the cheeks at 12%. This procedure involved injecting filler into the cheekbone area to plump the cheeks and restore lost volume or provide a more contoured effect to the face.
Where were the rest of the dermal filler complaints about?
The remaining dermal filler complaints were compiled of non-surgical nose jobs at 8%, a notoriously risky procedure that can lead to trouble breathing through the nose. Tear troughs followed making up 6% of complaints, chin filler claimed 4% of complaints and jawline filler completed the complaints at 3%.
24% of all treatment complaints were from Botox
Botulinum toxin, more commonly known as botox, was the second most complained about aesthetic treatment of 2022, with a whopping 677 complaints made. Botox is known for its ability to undo, and prevent, signs of ageing- think Disney’s Mother Gothel and the magical flower… but in a syringe.
Botox has this effect by relaxing the facial muscles and temporarily preventing skin from folding. However, while that all sounds pretty magical, like all of these “tweakments”, botox comes with its risks, from uneven eyebrows to the commonly known “frozen” face.
Not only is ensuring the correct measurements are administered in the correct places important, but finding out what product is used is crucial to ensure a safe procedure.
Botox is a prescription-only drug, so if your practitioner is legit, they should be able to provide you with prescription records or lot numbers for the products they plan to use.
Of the 677 complaints made, 81% of complainants did not know what product was used and over 20% of cases are believed to have been given unlicenced/ counterfeit Botox.
118 complaints were made about Thread Lifts
The third most commonly complained about aesthetic treatment is the Thread Lift, a.k.a “the lunchtime lift”, and the “fox eye thread”. The procedure is the faster and less invasive cousin of the facelift, consisting of “threads” (barbed sutures) hooking onto tissue in the face, neck or eyebrow and lifted up, providing a more youthful appearance.
Thread lifts on the eyes soared in popularity in recent years, amassing 182.4 M views on TikTok after the “fox eye” trend boomed, inspired by the likes of supermodels Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner.
However, while this may be a quick fix, the results are not long-lasting, yet the sutures are permanent so sometimes as soon as a few years later, people have seen them protruding from under the skin.
What happened post-complaint?
What did the practitioners do post-treatment?
In the age of social media, it comes as no surprise that 89% of clients complaining had found their practitioner on social media, and the most shocking part is, it seems that ghosting is the common outcome as 84% was ignored or blocked by their practitioner when they tried to seek help.
Seeking medical assistance
When these clients took the matter of solving these beauty crises into their own hands, only 8% of the 34% who turned to the NHS for assistance received treatment with 6% of cases being misdiagnosed as infections.
The most complained about beauty treatments in the UK
To find which beauty treatments are going wrong the most, we analysed the number of online searches across the UK for beauty treatment queries in relation to them going wrong and having bad reactions.
|Beauty treatment||SV each month|
|Laser hair removal||1,460|
Which aesthetic treatments are the most popular?
To find out which aesthetic treatments are the most popular across the UK we analysed which treatments people are searching for the most online.
|Beauty/ aesthetic treatment||Search Volume each month|
|Laser hair removal||90500|
|Buccal fat removal||18100|
Laser Hair Removal is the most popular beauty treatment in the UK
Waxing is painful and irritated razor burns are no better, so it comes as no surprise that our research found laser hair removal is the UK’s most popular beauty treatment. While no one is expected to be totally hairless from the eyelashes down, silky smooth legs on fresh bed sheets do provide an unmatched sensation!
Each month, 90,500 brits are searching online for the treatment laser hair removal, which consists of a laser emitting a light that is absorbed by the pigment in the hair and when the light energy is converted to heat, it damages the hair follicle delaying future hair growth- so, yes, a little more complex than your classic laser tag machinery.
40,500 people are searching online each month in the UK for Lip Fillers
Lip filler has been the aesthetic treatment on everyone’s lips for some time now. 2015 was the beginning of a notable spike in the trend, with some believing that Kylie Jenner spearheaded the movement.
Interest has been plumping up since then, as now there are 40,500 monthly searches for the treatment in the UK and over 3.3 Billion views on #lipfiller on Tiktok.
Trending treatment: Buccal Fat Removal soars in popularity
The treatment that is currently trending is buccal fat removal, which has seen a 400% increase in online searches in the past 12 months. Popularised by a mass of viral TikToks and familiar-faced celebrities emerging with these less familiar tweaks, this treatment involves removing fat pads from the cheeks to permanently contour the face and achieve a hollowed-out, modelesque look.
The most popular treatments in each region
|Region||Most Popular Treatment||Search Volume each month|
|Greater London||Laser Hair Removal||22,200|
|West Midlands||Laser Hair Removal||4,400|
|Greater Manchester||Biab Nails||4,400|
|West Yorkshire||Laser Hair Removal||3,600|
|Hampshire||Laser Hair Removal||1,900|
|Essex||Laser Hair Removal||1,900|
|Kent||Laser Hair Removal||1,600|
|South Yorkshire||Laser Hair Removal||1,300|
Greater London is the city searching the most for beauty treatments
Greater London is the city searching the most for beauty and aesthetic treatments, with 109,690 online searches in total each month! With 400% more monthly searches for their favourite beauty treatment than the West Midlands, who followed second place. Greater London residents search a whopping 22,200 times each month for “laser hair removal”, the most searched-for treatment in the UK!
Laser hair removal has 1.6 Billion views overall on TikTok and 90,500 searches online each month across the UK, so it isn’t only Londoners enjoying laser hair removal!
Greater Manchester is the city searching the most for biab nails
Biab nails are the second most searched for treatment in the UK, this is a nail extension that is less harsh than the classic acrylic as it is much thinner when applied to the nail and therefore less heavy, allowing your natural nails to grow and remain healthier underneath.
Greater Manchester is the region searching the most for this treatment, with 4400 online searches each month. Biab nails are soaring in popularity and have seen a 49% increase in interest across the UK after being popularised on TikTok, with #biabnails currently boasting 210.9M views!
South Yorkshire is the UK city searching the least for beauty treatments
South Yorkshire is the UK city searching online the least for beauty and aesthetic treatments, with their most searched for treatment being laser hair removal, at 1300 online searches each month for the popular topic!
There are plenty of alternative options!
There are plenty of ways to temporarily achieve the look of these beauty and aesthetic treatments without the fuss, from plumping lip glosses to transformative eyeliner styles- shop our full range of makeup and give them a try!
We collaborated with SaveFace to investigate data regarding beauty treatment complaints. We then looked into the most popular beauty treatments and the most complained about each month using Keywordtool.io.
- Analysed the TikTok views, hashtags and videos made of beauty and aesthetic treatment-related videos using Exolyt data
- We have examined over 2,824 beauty and aesthetic treatment complaints made to SaveFace in 2022.
- Analysed search volume data for the most popular treatments in the UK and each regions.