A PRIVATE GP practice has been branded “vile” after telling patients a side effect of cosmetic treatment could be “more Facebook likes”.
YourGP, a private medical practice, has placed the controversial advertising board outside its surgery in an upmarket area of Edinburgh.
The full advert, located in Dean Village, Edinburgh, states: “Medical cosmetic treatments available here. Come on in. Side effects may include more likes.”
Facebook’s logo also features prominently in the advert.
Procedures offered by the practice include dermal fillers, skin boosters and laser hair removal.
Top doctors have slammed the practice for their “irresponsible” advertising.
They point out that the real side effects of cosmetic treatment can include infection, blindness and even death.
Healthcare charities have also accused the business of targeting young “impressionable” social media users, and promoting an “unhealthy body image.”
YourGp charges £249 for a single skin booster treatment, £235 for dermal fillers, and a minimum of £35 for laser hair removal.
They state on their website: “When it comes to cosmetic treatments, it can be difficult to know what is right for you. Still with virtually no regulation in the cosmetics industry, you also want to be certain that you are getting the best of care from highly trained and expert hands.
“With us, you will be advised and treated by medical professionals regulated by the GMC, so you can relax in the knowledge that we are ethical and safe practitioners.”
But Charles Durrant, a Consultant plastic surgeon and member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons slammed the advertisement.
He said: “To suggest a cosmetic procedure will improve your online profile is cynical and irresponsible. It’s taking advantage of the pressures of social media. I find it vile.
“Side effects of cosmetic procedures are rare but can be devastating. There are reported cases of people becoming blind from fillers.
“It makes the side effects seem like benefits but they can actually include infection, scarring, and potentially even death – although of course this is rare.
“Furthermore, there is no proof that side effects actually include more likes.
“It is worth pointing out this is cosmetic medical treatment, not cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is regulated; cosmetic treatment is very unregulated. We’ve been campaigning for more regulation for years.”
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of The Patients Association, said: “It is really concerning to see the way in which increased social media popularity is portrayed as a reason for patients to embark on cosmetic procedures.
“We are concerned that by focusing on the superficial, advertising campaigns such as these may promote an unhealthy body image.
“As social media is such an integral part of people’s lives nowadays, we are particularly concerned of the effect of this advert on young people and teenagers who are typically particularly impressionable during this stage of their lives.”
“The Patients Association advocates patient choice in their medical treatment, including cosmetic procedures.”
A Facebook user posted an image of the sign last week with the caption: “Change how you look so you get more facebook likes. Really healthy.”
Social media users echoed his sarcastic comment, with one writing: “Wow, so low.”
Earlier this year, Raquel Santos, a Brazilian model, suffered a cardiac arrest and died after having fillers injected into her face.
The fillers were intended to remove “laugh lines”.