I was fortunate enough recently to have been invited to spend 5 days in Jordan teaching several groups of Doctors and Surgeons on the use of Juvederm Voluma. Whilst travelling I had the time to reflect on some 15 years of my own personal experience of treating clients with cosmetic injectables alongside coaching practitioners and being involved in advisory groups and masterclass sessions. It’s been a fascinating journey, and I have learnt so much over the years and met so many interesting clients and skilled Doctors and Surgeons from all over the world, which have made my time in aesthetic medicine truly rewarding. However, over recent years – like many of my more experienced colleagues, I have become concerned about where our industry is heading. Lack of any practical regulation has led to a sharp rise in injectors from different medical and non-medical backgrounds who are now offering facial injectables in salons, hairdressers and hotels. Podiatrists are “training” podiatrists, and beauty therapists are now wielding prescription drugs with no support from the suppliers of Botox (Botulinum toxin) and dermal fillers. In addition, medical indemnity insurance from brokers and underwriters may not provide complete protection for the customer in the event of a problem due to the controversies surrounding the issuing of remote prescribing that is required in order for these practitioners to get hold of a prescription drug. Yesterday finally saw some clarification from the General Medical Council (who regulate all private and NHS Doctors) to ban remote prescribing of Botox by Doctors. The practice of a small minority of Doctors and Dentists issuing prescriptions to non-prescribing nurses and non-medical practitioners has grown into a major problem within the industry where we now have potentially thousands of practitioners including podiatrists, physiotherapists and even beauty therapists using this prescription treatment illegally in the Birmingham area. I have had increasing numbers of patients seeking help with problems being caused by inexperienced non-medically qualified practitioners using Botox and dermal fillers. I have been campaigning against this for years (even being involved in a Central TV news article on this subject a couple of years ago) and am delighted that the GMC have finally clamped down on this totally unacceptable rogue practice to protect unsuspecting consumers.” “Botulinum toxin is the most common cosmetic injectable used in the UK with an estimated half a million people having undergone treatment for lines and wrinkles since its introduction over 18 years ago. It has many medical uses and is also licensed for the treatment of migraine and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) - where I have experience in using it for over a decade. My concern is that non-medical practitioners could also start to use this product for more serious medical indications if handed access to the drug by unscrupulous Doctors or Dentists wishing to make money by issuing prescriptions. Inexeperienced practitioners who are not supported by the industry regarding advanced training and access to a support network have low overheads and compete in the market on price alone – using bargain basement tactics in a desperate attempt to try and generate customers. A wide range of price points and providers make it increasingly difficult for people seeking facial rejuvenation to understand how much they should be paying for cosmetic injectables and exactly who they should be going to for advice and treatment. The reality is that buying cosmetic injectables from the cheapest provider can increase risk by putting you in the hands of non-medical practitioners operating against regulations, but is also often a “false economy” in terms of the results and the longevity of the results that can be achieved by a skilled and experienced medical practitioner. Doctors who have invested tens, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds in their own training alongside building a specialist “medical aesthetic clinic” providing a complete range of anti-wrinkle and skin rejuvenation solutions will provide a totally different approach from a beauty therapist who has been on a one day Botox or filler training course and operates from a beauty salon that may also be promoting sunbeds that accelerate skin damage and wrinkle formation! Short term marketing incentives used by many practitioners selling cut price treatments may result in them using inferior products, or lowering the amount of product that they use so that you get inferior results that do not last very long. This does not give a good initial experience to people new to the potential rejuvenating benefits of facial injectables. Experienced practitioners can assess someone’s facial anatomy, skin health and individual needs in order to recommend appropriate treatment to get the maximum aesthetic result for each individual’s budget. Visiting an experienced practitioner will often mean that you get much better value for money as they won’t underdose with Botox, and they also have the skills to ensure that they can utilise every drop of dermal filler in the appropriate area to maximise a natural looking aesthetic result and the duration of it. Experienced practitioners also have access to advanced techniques where more can be achieved with less dermal filler product; and they also know when to stop to ensure that you have a natural look, rather than something that “looks a little odd”. In this market, more than any other, buying cheap can be a false economy and can significantly increase the risk of a result that you don’t want and a problem that can’t be dealt with effectively by the practitioner due to their lack of understanding and knowledge. In the right hands, and with the right products, subtle, natural and truly rejuvenating results can be achieved. In order to maximise your chances of finding the right clinic and practitioner I recommend that you look for the following: 1) Ensure that the practitioner you visit for a consultation can legally prescribe and store the drug themselves (even Independent Nurse Prescribers are not allowed to store botulinum toxin – they need to see you first, and then write a prescription which should be delivered for your next visit). 2) Ensure that the clinic is registered with the Treatments You Can Trust Scheme (helps to ensure that the right clinical environment is in place alongside insurance and proper access to a complaints procedure and redress in the event of any problems that are not dealt with effectively by the clinic). 3) Do they use branded quality products – (there are many cheap versions of injectable cosmetic products – ensure that you only get the best) 4) Ask the practitioner who is treating you for evidence of MULTIPLE training certificates in a wide variety of different techniques and that they can show you before and after pictures of their own work (not photos from other doctors). 5) Does the medical practitioner own the clinic, or is he/she just an employee. Injectable treatments are not a “one off” and developing a long term relationship with someone who understands your needs is important. If they own the business, they will usually be there for the long term. 6) Finally follow your “gut instinct”. If the practitioner doesn’t seem to be listening or fully interested in your needs, walk away - even if all of the above is in place! You need to have someone who is a 100% devoted to getting the best possible result that you are looking for (rather than what they think is right for you). It’s your face, invest in it wisely – shop around, ask the right questions and you can get fabulous results in a safe environment whilst still getting real value for money. Dr. David Eccleston For treatment advice or if you are a member of the media looking for information or quotes please telephone 0121 667 4587.
MediZen Clinic Blog
Established in 1999, MediZen are a multi-award winning medical aesthetic clinic based in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. Over the years we've helped literally thousands of our clients to feel more confident about the way that they look. We're NOT a Beauty Salon and we're NOT a Cosmetic Surgery Clinic - we specialise in offering carefully researched treatments that can make real, natural looking improvements to your appearance without disruption to your normal lifestyle. Our number one priority is to give you more confidence in your skin with visible, natural looking improvements that you can see reflected in the mirror.