Performing cosmetic procedures

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Do you want to perform cosmetic procedures, such as injecting botox and fillers? You must be qualified and competent. You must keep to the Individual Healthcare Act (Wet op de Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg, BIG act).

What constitutes a cosmetic procedure?

A cosmetic procedure (also called plastic surgery, medical cosmetic treatment, or cosmetic surgery) is an intervention to make someone look better. This treatment often is medically unnecessary and is often performed without anaesthesia or with a local anaesthetic.

Examples of cosmetic surgery are:

  • eyelid correction
  • breast enlargement
  • liposuction

Examples of cosmetic treatments are:

  • injection of fillers (wrinkle fillers)
  • injection of botox (muscle relaxants)
  • laser treatment to remove, for instance, scars or pigmentation
  • IPL treatment (laser treatment with light flashes) to remove hair

Who can perform cosmetic procedures?

To perform cosmetic procedures you must be qualified and competent (in Dutch). This means, among others, that botox and fillers may only be injected by a competent physician, and not by a beautician. Your patient must be at least 18 years old (in Dutch).


Cosmetic procedures are medical treatments with accompanying risks. Some procedures have great risks for the patient if they are performed by someone without the right training and experience. The BIG act names 14 such reserved procedures (in Dutch). For example:

  • cutting (surgical procedure)
  • injecting

5 professional categories can perform reserved procedures independently. These are:

  • doctors
  • dentists
  • obstetricians
  • physician assistants
  • nurse specialists

If your occupation falls into one of these professional groups, you must be registered in the BIG register. This means that you meet the proper requirements for certification and have the right professional qualifications. Clients/patients can look you up in the BIG register.


The BIG registration informs (prospective) clients/patients if you are qualified to perform your (medical) profession. To perform (cosmetic) procedures, you must also be competent. Your competency states if you are experienced in cosmetic treatments. You can gain competency in cosmetic treatments by, for example, completing special cosmetic training.

Who cannot perform cosmetic procedures?

If you are not qualified and competent, you cannot perform cosmetic treatments that require you to perform reserved procedures (such as cutting and administering injections). Examples are:

  • Beautician is not one of the professions that can perform reserved procedures. A beautician is therefore not authorised to administer injections and cannot inject botox or fillers.
  • Dentist is a profession that can perform reserved procedures, such as injecting. But a dentist is only authorised to administer injections in dental treatments. A dentist is not allowed to inject botox or fillers as a cosmetic procedure. A dentist is not competent to do so.

Are you allowed to perform laser or IPL treatments?

Laser treatments to remove, for example, scars or pigmentation and IPL treatments (laser with light flashes), to remove hair, are not reserved treatments. As a beautician, you may perform laser treatments. You must however offer good-quality care under the Care Sector Quality, Complaints and Disputes Act (Wet kwaliteit, klachten en geschillen zorg, Wkkgz).


Are you not qualified and competent, but you do perform cosmetic procedures? You are punishable by law under article 96 of the BIG act (in Dutch) which states that causing (a significant risk of) harm to a person’s health is a criminal offence. The Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ) monitors and will report if necessary. You can be fined or get a prison sentence. IGJ is also the supervisory authority for the Care Sector Quality, Complaints and Disputes Act (Wet kwaliteit, klachten en geschillen zorg, Wkkgz). This act states that care must of good quality. The act also covers reserved procedures.

Complaints about a treatment

Does your client/patient have a complaint? They can file a complaint with the National Healthcare Report Centre (Landelijk Meldpunt Zorg). If you are registered in the BIG register, patients can also bring disciplinary proceedings against you with a medical disciplinary board (Tuchtcollege voor de Gezondheidszorg). A disciplinary board can give a warning, reprimand, or impose a (temporary) professional ban.

Questions relating to this article?