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Monday, December 12, 2016, 18:49

Beauty service: Govt urged to tighten conditions

By Dara Wang

Beauty service: Govt urged to tighten conditions
In this undated photo, a girl receives a doctor's review in a hospital in Chengdu, Sichuan province, before going through a cosmetic surgery. (Photo / China Daily)

HONG KONG – The city’s consumer rights watchdog has urged the government to introduce licensing and competency requirements for performing medical beauty services to better protect the rights and safety of consumers.

The Consumer Council announced on Monday that it received 202 complaints against beauty services by October this year concerning service quality, safety issues and sales practices.

Consumer Council urged introduction of licensing and competency requirements for performing medical beauty services

Complaints included 10 people who were injected with botox and had difficulties in standing, speaking and even breathing.

The complaints raised severe safety concerns over beauty service regulations in which Hong Kong has fallen behind, said chairman of the council’s publicity and community relations committee Michael Hui King-man.

According to the Medical Registration Ordinance, 15 procedures of beauty services involving injections and mechanical or chemical exfoliation of the skin are restricted from being performed by registered medical practitioners, Hui said.

READ MORE: Unscrupulous fitness and beauty operators should be punished

In an on-street survey of 602 respondents conducted by the council in June and July this year, 91.3 percent of the consumers said their medical beauty services were performed by beauticians while only 3.2 percent said they were registered medical practitioners.

The council urged the government to introduce a licensing system and set competency standards for services classified by the types of surgeries, drugs and devices. They reference practices in seven countries and regions including the states of California and Florida in the US, the United Kingdom and the Chinese mainland.

The watchdog also urged the government to introduce a legal definition of medical beauty services in order to clarify the boundaries for regulating the behavior of all people undertaking the services and help educate consumers on risks involved.

The council found that 81.3 percent of users considered medical beauty services with potential safety concerns as “ordinary” beauty treatments in the on-street survey.

Over half of the 1,004 respondents in a telephone survey by the Consumer Council claimed that they had not used any medical beauty services – while in fact they had used at least one of the listed services.

Hui said the survey results showed that consumer knowledge on beauty services is insufficient. He urged the government to strengthen consumer education to avoid serious consequences and irreversible impacts on the health and well-being of beauty service users.

Other recommendations include establishing registry mechanisms and a problem-reporting system for devices, as well as introducing an advertising code and a cooling-off period. The cooling-off period is to allow consumers to withdraw within a reasonable time frame after having made a prepayment.

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