The Illegality Of Teeth Whitening In The Beauty Industry


Most beauty treatments are cosmetic, and not particularly harmful. However, in recent years therapists have begun dabbling in more areas, and teeth whitening has perhaps been the most controversial.

Any regular attendee of the beauty trade shows will seen an influx of teeth whitening companies in the last few years. The offerings from these companies range from home kits to treatments designed to be performed by a therapist. Most of these companies offered training and plenty of assurances as to its safety record.

Many therapists took comfort in the appearance of these companies at trade shows and in the leading trade magazines. If they are allowed to exhibit here, they must be ok to use, right? Wrong!

Tooth whitening has been a grey area for a while. Some insurance companies offered cover whilst others wouldn’t go near it. The General Dental Council (GDC) made frequent calls for tooth whitening to be the practice of dentists only, but there was no law to back them up. Meanwhile, therapists signed up to offer treatments left, right and centre.

After the GDC launched several test cases against therapists who caused harm through tooth whitening, the High Court finally ruled in 2013 that it is illegal for non-dentists to carry out the treatment. That means that any salon still offering this could be at risk. If you offer tooth whitening services, contact your insurance company or the GDC for more advice.

This all seems clear enough and you would think this would be an end to it. So imagine my surprise when scouring the list of exhibitors for the forthcoming Professional Beauty London event and seeing none other than Megawhite appear. This is a tooth whitening company who have actually been sued for selling tooth whitening licences under false pretenses. Professional Beauty were unavailable for comment.

It just goes to show that an appearance at a trade show is no guarantee for legitimacy. Always do your homework before investing in a new treatment.

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