The dermal fillers story in Ireland

by Content, Facial aesthetics

A lengthy feature by has documented the rise in demand for lip and facial fillers in Ireland along with growing concerns about rogue operators.

The piece covered a lot of ground, which we’ve condensed below. If you provide dermal fillers in Ireland (or indeed the UK) there’s plenty here you can use to contextualise your position as a safe practitioner, and boost enquiries at the same time. Talk about this stuff in your blog and video content. Mention it on social media, in posters and advertisements in local print media. Remember, your potential patients are already interested in this story.

Fillers become scary in the media

  • Lip fillers went mainstream in 2017 when a beauty blogger received them in front of a national Late Late Show audience
  • A spike in enquiries followed the show
  • In 2019 the show hosted a former model who was left blind in one eye and disfigured after a botched filler treatment

Younger market

  • It’s no longer simply about looking younger — demand has increased from young women who want to copy celebrities like Kylie Jenner
  • Ireland’s largest chain of cosmetic clinics, Therapie, turns away a fifth of potential clients because of unrealistic goals based on social media and reality TV. It had 30,000 dermal filler customers in the past 12 months
  • There are no age limits on who can receive fillers
  • Many budget deals appear only on social media, with some clinics using a ‘like and share’ competitions to give away filler treatments in order to boost their followings

Patients exposed to low quality products and practitioners

  • Several hundred hyaluronic acid fillers are on sale in the EU, in contrast to the US where only a handful have received FDA approval
  • In Ireland (and the UK) there remains no mechanism by which to hold non-medical practitioners to account in the event of a complaint about fillers
  • UK-based trainers have begun offering training to beauticians and other non-medical providers in Ireland, provoking Professor Caitriona Ryan, a consultant dermatologist at Blackrock Clinic, to write to Health Minister Simon Harris asking that fillers are restricted to medics trained in the anatomy of facial vessels and nerves
  • Fillers are available to buy on Ebay and Alibaba for as little as €10 per 1ml syringe

When fillers go wrong

  • There is no official data to establish the extent of any problems with dermal fillers in Ireland, only anecdotal evidence
  • Several clinics say they are dealing with more fix-up jobs for botched fillers carried out elsewhere, and there have been reports of filler patients attending A&E hospital departments after suffering complications
  • Side effects include blindness (just under 100 cases were reported worldwide from fillers before 2015), skin necrosis and infection following vascular occlusion, when hyaluronic acid is mistakenly injected into a blood vessel
  • Treatment for vascular occlusion is a follow-up injection of hyaluronidase, an enzyme which breaks down hyaluronic acid and clears blocked blood vessels, but unlike the dermal fillers themselves, hyaluronidase is a prescription only drug in Ireland, which only dentists, doctors and prescribing nurses can access
  • Two thirds of the complaints logged by Save Face in the UK in 2017-18, a government approved register of practitioners, related to fillers
  • The Laser and Skin Clinic, which has outlets in Dublin, Mullingar and Athlone, is the only provider in the Republic of Ireland to have signed up to the register
  • Four formal notifications relating to dermal and lip fillers have been received in the past three years by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), second only to breast implants
  • The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has also fielded a handful of complaints relating to fillers in recent years
  • Several major insurance firms that service the sector don’t cover injectable treatments


  • Self-regulation and oversight has tried to fill the regulatory void with organisations such as the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners active in accrediting clinics and running a campaign to make fillers a prescription-only treatment
  • The Irish government is currently drafting the Patient Safety Bill, which would require any providers of ‘high-risk healthcare activities’ – even those taking place outside hospital settings – to require a licence to operate

So where does your dental practice stand on all this? And do your patients know? If you need coaching or consultancy support on marketing to get the message out you know where we are.


“There remains no mechanism by which to hold non-medical practitioners to account”

Zac Fine, content director

Author: Zac Fine