Download a PDF version of the Fact sheet: Supporting a safe choice about cosmetic injectables (76.1KB)
You are entitled to safe cosmetic services. This factsheet includes information about cosmetic injectables, also known as anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers. It can help you understand some of the potential risks and what to look out for if you are considering a cosmetic procedure and where to go if something goes wrong.
No matter how simple it may seem, every cosmetic procedure or surgery carries risk. Even if you’ve had a procedure before, it’s important that you think carefully about your decision every time. If you decide that a cosmetic procedure or cosmetic surgery is for you – be safe first. Know which questions to ask and what to look out for, so you can make an informed decision.
Before going ahead think about:
The two main types of injectable substances used are:
These types of injectables are prescription only medicines (schedule 4 medicines). This means that only authorised registered health practitioners can prescribe them.
First, make sure you consult a registered health practitioner who is authorised to prescribe injectables. Usually, this is a medical practitioner, dentist or nurse practitioner1. Before the procedure can go ahead, they must consult with you, take your full history and ensure the procedure is safe for you. They must also explain the possible risks and seek your informed consent. Make sure you discuss your expectations. The practitioner should have processes in place in case of complications or medical emergencies. Before going ahead, ask yourself if the procedure is right for you.
Questions you can ask include:
If you have concerns about any of the above, you can contact Ahpra to make a notification.
After prescribing the medicines, the authorised registered health practitioner might administer the injection themselves. They can also prescribe the injectable for another person to carry out the procedure. However, the prescriber must make sure that the person carrying out the cosmetic procedure is authorised to administer the injectable under the relevant state and territory drugs and poisons legislation and has appropriate qualifications, skills and experience. This is usually a registered nurse or an enrolled nurse under the supervision of a registered nurse.
Anyone claiming to be a doctor, dentist or nurse, must be registered to practice in Australia. Check the national online register of practitioners on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) website at www.ahpra.gov.au. This is where you can make sure the practitioners involved in your procedure are registered in Australia.
However, registration may not be enough to ensure the person carrying out the procedure is qualified, skilled and experienced to carry out the procedure.
Ask questions such as:
It’s very important that any medicine or health product used in the procedure has been assessed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for safety, quality and efficacy. Counterfeit products imported from overseas are illegal and dangerous. They can also be difficult to identify.
Cosmetic injections use potentially dangerous medicines that are regulated and must be approved for supply in Australia by the TGA. State and territory health departments regulate the supply, storage, prescription and administration of these medicines.
Make sure the injectable used for your procedure is a legally sourced product that is prescribed by an authorised registered health practitioner in Australia. You can check by asking the prescriber about this. The brand and substance of cosmetic injectables cannot be advertised, so make sure you ask the prescriber for this information.
If you have the brand name of the injectable you can search for the product on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) on the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) website. This will tell you whether that product has been approved for use in Australia.
You may want to ask to see the vial before the procedure to make sure the product matches with the information you have been given.
If you have concerns about the product used, you can contact Ahpra or the TGA.
The place where you are having your procedure must, at a minimum, meet infection control standards. Unsafe premises can increase the risk of you getting an infection from the procedure.
The person prescribing the medicines must be familiar with and ensure compliance with relevant legislation, regulations and standards. They are responsible for the condition of the premises and should ensure that the premises are appropriately staffed and equipped to manage possible complications and emergencies.
If you see that some of the infection control or safety precautions are not in place, you should reconsider where you have the procedure and contact Ahpra.
Remember that all procedures carry risks; nothing is completely risk-free. We want to help you understand the risks so you are aware of them before having a procedure.
Make sure you that you know what to expect before, during and after the procedure. This includes knowing that a registered health practitioner will provide you with appropriate after care, especially if you experience any side effects or complications.
There are many possible side effects and complications associated with cosmetic procedures that involve an injectable substance.
Ask questions such as:
This table includes some of the possible side effects or complications for the two most commonly used products. More information is available in the consumer medicines information leaflet included in the packaging.
For more information see the cosmetic procedures resources section of the Ahpra website or contact us, see www.ahpra.gov.au.