Animal welfarists have blasted high street giant Superdrug after it announced it will start offering Botox injections.
The treatment will be offered as part of Superdrug's new Skin Renew Service, which will be offered to people aged 25 and over. Customers will first have a telephone consultation then be treated in-store by a nurse practitioner.
Prices for the service, which will be launched in the Strand store before rolling out nationwide, start at £99.
According to Caris Newson, Head of Health and Wellbeing services at Superdrug, the retailers is launching the service 'in response to customer demand for anti-wrinkle and skin rejuvenation treatments'.
She added: "We're listening to what people are telling us they would like which is the reassurance that if they choose to have aesthetic treatments then it will be administered by highly qualified nurse practitioners in a private consultation room.
"We know from our research among 10,000 customers that feeling confident about how you look is linked to a person’s wellbeing, and that’s different for all of us. For some it might mean having their eyebrows threaded or getting their nails done, for others taking new vitamins or getting fitter, or it might be about smoothing out fine lines."
But the company has come under fire for offering Botox - which is tested on animals - running contrary to Superdrug's cruelty-free ethos. Welfarist group the RSPCA tweeted: "We are extremely disappointed to hear that Superdrug will be offering Botox-type injections as an anti-wrinkle product. Many people shop at Superdrug due to its 'cruelty-free' ethos which makes this all the more disappointing."
Barney Reed, Senior Scientific Manager at the RSPCA added: "Most people having these injections are probably unaware of the animal suffering the testing of these types of products can cause. They would no doubt be horrified to find out that their desire for a wrinkle-free face may lead to lab animals experiencing suffering."
A Superdrug spokesperson said Allergan, the company which manufactures the product it will use, is working towards creating cruelty-free Botox.
They added: "Botox is a medicine and as a medicine it is highly regulated. The regulations set out by the MHRA require medicines to be tested at an early stage on animals.
"We have chosen to work with market leaders Allergan, who are developing a cruelty-free test for their products. Their aim is to have 100 percent cruelty-free products ahead of the rest of the market."