Aesthetic or non-surgical beauty treatments, such as botox, micro-needling and thread lifts, have surged in popularity over the last few years. This has coincided with an increase in the number of training courses that teach practitioners how to administer these treatments. But aesthetic training courses are almost entirely unregulated. The government does not require an aesthetic practitioner to have any mandatory qualifications, even though some treatments involve needles and can cause serious complications. Anybody can go on a training course and get qualified. With no compulsory standard, the quality of an aesthetic training course varies hugely. In the city of Liverpool alone, BBC Three found 26 cosmetic training academies offering courses ranging from £150 to £5,000. These courses lasted anywhere from a couple of hours online to a couple of days of face-to-face training.

In April this year, BBC Three sent a nurse, undercover, to a Liverpool-based training academy called Boss Babes Uni. The nurse, who we’re calling Jemma to protect her identity, attended a course that teaches students how to perform a non-surgical facelift using surgical threads. The treatment is sometimes referred to as a thread lift. The process involves using a thread similar to the thread surgeons use to stitch wounds. Using a needle, the thread is inserted into the skin and is pulled upwards, creating the illusion of a facelift. A leading cosmetic doctor, Dr Vincent Wong, argues that a thread lift is the most dangerous procedure an aesthetic practitioner can do. “So many things can go wrong, more so than any other injectable treatment,” he says. “This is because threads stay in the skin for a long time and you can’t pull them out. “If it works, the results are incredible, but you can cause long-term irreversible damage.”

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