– The purpose of this paper is to help understand the extent of regulation of aesthetic medicine in various developed countries and to discuss the current pitfalls and potential strategies in regulating this area of healthcare.
– A range of published articles and press reports from bound and internet sources on aesthetic medicine in the recent five to six years were obtained to allow a better understanding of existing practices and regulatory climate. Reports from relevant authorities in various countries were also referred to for information on proposed regulatory regimes and future regulatory directions.
– The practice of aesthetic medicine has been marginally regulated, even in more highly developed countries. The main regulatory concern appears to be the practice of minimally invasive aesthetic surgery by general practitioners. Professional voluntary self‐regulation would probably not be effective in view of the peculiar nature of aesthetic medicine vis‐à‐visconventional medicine.
– There is a need for health regulatory bodies across the world to brace themselves for potentially more widespread health and social risks posed by aesthetic medicine. Statutory governance is needed to maintain safe practice standards and to manage the supply and demand of aesthetic services. In less developed countries, there is a need for better public education and empowerment to enable patients to make better‐informed decisions and assume greater responsibility for the aesthetic services that they seek.
– This paper discusses regulatory issues concerning aesthetic medicine which are rarely featured in academic journals. It offers some strategies for better regulation of aesthetic medicine which health authorities in certain countries may find useful.