Beauty Tourism in London, UK and the Best Countries for Cosmetic Surgery

Beauty Tourism in London

When aiming to enhance your natural beauty, non-surgical aesthetic treatments have gained significant advancement, thanks to their minimal recovery time and impressive outcomes. If you are from outside the UK and contemplating Botox, dermal fillers, or other types of aesthetic treatments, finding a reputable aesthetic practitioner is essential for ensuring safe and optimal results. 

Cosmetic surgery tourism is big business, and numerous aesthetic practitioners in the UK offer treatments such as Botox and dermal fillers, who have had minimal or no training. This comprehensive guide is designed to assist you to find a suitably qualified and experienced aesthetic practitioner for your non-surgical aesthetic treatments. 

We have also included the top destinations for cosmetic tourism and information about how to find a qualified plastic surgeon abroad. Whether you’re from outside the UK and seeking an aesthetic practitioner or plastic surgeon, or if you are in the UK and considering travelling abroad; this is a must-read to ensure you receive the best care and optimal outcomes from your chosen cosmetic treatments or procedures.

Cosmetic Tourism: How to Find a Good Aesthetic Practitioner in the UK

In the UK, while stringent regulations govern who can perform cosmetic surgery, non-surgical treatments such as Botox and dermal fillers operate in a regulatory grey area. Presently, there are no formal regulations in the UK, which means anyone can administer Botox and dermal fillers, without any formal qualifications or training.

Classified as medical devices, Dermal fillers only require a CE mark and can be purchased without a prescription. This regulatory loophole allows untrained practitioners to purchase these products and inject them into paying customers without any medical expertise. 

While Botox is a prescription only drug, practitioners often circumvent this requirement by partnering with someone qualified to write prescriptions. However, many unqualified practitioners resort to purchasing cheap, unlicensed products online, posing serious risks to patient safety and results from these procedures. 

This regulatory gap underscores the urgent need for tighter controls and standards to protect individuals from unscrupulous practitioners who seek to exploit a lack of awareness when it comes to licensing regulations in the UK. Whether you are from the UK or you are here for an extended period, here are our top seven tips to help you find an aesthetic practitioner in the UK.

1. Registrations: Ensure that the practitioner is registered with either the:

    General Medical Council (GMC)
    Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
    General Dental Council (GDC)

      2. Training and qualifications: Inquire about the practitioner’s qualifications and specialised training relevant to the specific treatment you are seeking.

      3. Experience: Ask how long the practitioner has been performing the treatment and practised at their current location.

      4. Clinic: Ensure the clinic is registered and rated as Good by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

      5. Patient reviews: Reviews can offer insights into a practitioner, but it’s essential to be mindful that platforms like Google reviews lack verification, potentially compromising the reliability of the review.

      6. Consultation process: A thorough consultation should involve a discussion of your medical history and an explanation of potential risks and complications associated with the treatment.

      7. Aftercare and support: Ensure the practitioner offers a way to contact them if you have any concerns or complications after the procedure.

          Top Questions to Ask Your Aesthetic Practitioner

          Before committing to a treatment, asking the right questions can help you make an informed decision. Important questions to ask are:

          • What products do you use and where do you purchase your products from?
          • What are the potential risks and side effects?
          • What should I do if I experience any problems after the procedure?

            Seeking a cosmetic procedure to boost your self-confidence? Get in touch with us for a free, no-obligation consultation at our London, Harley Street aesthetic clinic, and allow our professionals to assist you in obtaining your desired appearance.

            Cosmetic Surgery Tourism: Recommended Resources and Professional Associations for Aesthetic Practitioners

            To further verify the credibility of a practitioner, check they are a member of one of the below professional associations:

            The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS)
            The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM)
            The British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN).

              Best Countries for Cosmetic Surgery

              There is no doubt that cosmetic surgery tourism attracts unscrupulous companies to offer cosmetic surgery packages, with no regard for patient safety. However, it is possible to find lower cost cosmetic surgery and high standards of care in countries outside of the UK. 

              Prior to paying for cosmetic surgery abroad, always check if your surgeon is a registered member of an accredited plastic surgery organisation and that your procedure will take place at a suitable registered medical facility. 

              Cosmetic Surgery Tourism: Recommended Resources and Professional Associations for Plastic Surgeons

              UK and Ireland 

              Care Quality Commission (CQC): Regulates cosmetic surgery facilities and the CQC provides four ratings: outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate. The inspection reports are available online.
              General Medical Council (GMC): Registers all surgeons; the GMC Specialist Register indicates formal training in plastic surgery. 
              Professional bodies:
              British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)
              British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS).


                  Licensed facilities: Accreditation by Joint Commission International (JCI) ensures facilities meet international standards.
                  Plastic surgeon organisations: Membership in the below organisations indicates adherence to rigorous international standards:
                  European Society of Plastic Surgery (EURAPS)
                  International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).

                        Why Choose Harley Street MD for Non-Surgical Aesthetic Treatments?

                        Founded by Dr. Chia Tan, who oversees all injectable treatments, such as dermal fillers and Botox, Harley Street MD in London is rated as Good by the CQC.  Dr. Tan is an experienced aesthetic doctor and has authored multiple papers published in academic and medical journals and holds memberships with:

                        The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS)
                        The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM)
                        Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP).

                          Why Choose Dr. Chia Tan at Harley Street MD in London?

                          Dr. Tan provides the latest treatments at Harley Street MD in London, such as non-surgical facelifts, fat loss injections and plasma-rich therapy (PRP) hair loss treatment. One of London’s leading cosmetic doctors Dr. Tan also provides non-surgical nose jobs, such as nasal bump correction and nasal bridge elevation using Hyaluronic Acid (HA) dermal fillers. 

                          Numerous positive Google reviews demonstrate Dr. Tan’s expertise in non-surgical aesthetic procedures. In addition, he teaches other trained medical professionals, such as doctors, dentists, and nurses, basic and advanced non-surgical aesthetic methods at a prestigious aesthetic academy. 

                          He serves a wide range of clients and creates individualised treatment plans for males and females that are specifically tailored to their needs. Dr. Tan’s extraordinary attention to detail, medical expertise, and experience is invaluable when it comes to safe and optimal results from non-surgical aesthetic treatments.

                          Looking for an aesthetic treatment to feel your most confident? Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation at our Harley Street aesthetic clinic in London, and let our experts help you achieve your desired look.

                          Cosmetic Tourism FAQs

                            1. When is it safe to fly following a non-surgical aesthetic treatment

                            For most non-surgical aesthetic treatments, such as Botox or dermal fillers, it is generally safe to fly almost immediately after the procedure. However, it is advisable to wait at least 24 to 48 hours to ensure there are no complications and to allow any initial swelling or redness to subside.

                            2. What are the common risks of Botox?

                            The risks associated with Botox include:

                            • Bruising or swelling at the injection site
                            • Headache or flu-like symptoms
                            • Drooping eyelids or eyebrows (if injected incorrectly)
                            • Dry or watery eyes.

                            3. What are the risks of dermal fillers?

                            The risks associated with dermal fillers include:

                            • Redness, swelling, or bruising at the injection site
                            • Infection 
                            • Skin necrosis (death of skin cells)
                            • Lumps or bumps under the skin
                            • Skin rash and, or itching
                            • Asymmetry or unevenness of the treated area
                            • Migration of the filler material.

                            4. What is the safest dermal filler?

                            Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers are considered the safest dermal fillers. They are biocompatible, dissolvable, and have a lower risk of allergic reactions. Brands like Juvederm and Restylane are well-regarded HA fillers.

                            5. When is it safe to fly following cosmetic surgery?

                            Following cosmetic surgery, it is generally recommended to wait at least five days before flying. However, it’s advisable to stay in the country where the surgery was performed for at least 10 days in case of complications and to allow time for incisions to heal sufficiently. Always consult with your surgeon to determine the appropriate time based on your specific procedure and recovery progress.

                            Evidence-Based Research and Studies

                            The research and study references we used, in addition to our internal research, have all been referenced here; most of them have an external link to the scientific publication. We work hard to bring you the most recent, impartial, factual, and evidence-based information to help you make informed decisions.


                            • Laws and Regulations for the Non-Surgical Cosmetic Industry. From: Save Face
                            • Dermal fillers are medical devices in the UK Published 21 July 2009 From: BMJ 
                            • Botox – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) From: ASA
                            • Cosmetic surgery abroad. From: NHS.

                              Founder at Harley St M.D.
                              Dr. Chia Tan is a UK trained medical doctor that specialises in cosmetic and aesthetic medicine and testosterone replacement therapy. He is qualified as a medical doctor since 2003 and has since trained extensively. He has been featured in several leading magazines as well as invited to appear on TV to discuss aesthetic medicine and the latest cosmetic procedures.
                              Dr. Chia Tan
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