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What You Should Look For in Your Cosmetic Doctor

top tips Feb 09, 2020

If you are considering going under the needle, Dr Qian Xu offers you her 9 top tips for deciding who to trust your face with.

1. Get a recommendation from a trusted source.

It’s always better to get a recommendation from someone you trust. Don’t always believe what you read in magazines or social media. Just because a practitioner has a large following, doesn’t automatically make them better than others. Just because you go to a large, established clinic, it doesn’t always mean you will get an experienced doctor. The best aesthetics doctors are often the ones with independent practices, who you will never come across unless you are referred by someone.

2. Can you relate to the practitioner?

It’s important that you can relate to your cosmetic doctor or aesthetic practitioner. They need to understand your concerns and what kind of result you are going for in order to produce the best outcome for you. If your practitioners has had a lot of work done themselves, but you are very conservative, then their idea of subtle and yours may differ dramatically.

3. Their professional background and training.

The regulations in the UK are fairly relaxed with regards to who can train and offer injectable treatments. At present, there are Aesthetic Practitioners who are allowed to provide you with some consulting advice but are not allowed to medically prescribe a treatment for you.  This means that, if you are receiving botulinum toxin (Botox) injections from a non-prescriber, you must have a face-to-face consultation with their prescriber, otherwise, they are performing the treatment illegally.

In my opinion, and to ensure best practice, injectable aesthetic treatments should be performed by a medical professional because these carry a certain amount of risk. Sometimes, things can go wrong even if the procedure was done correctly, so your practitioner needs to be able to advise you accordingly and sort out any problems. A non-medical person who has received 2 days of training on how to inject is, in my opinion, not adequately trained enough to practice safely on their own.  In summary, it is best to go with an Aesthetic Practitioner who is also a prescriber, and these are generally doctors, dentists, nurse prescribers and prescribing pharmacists. 

4. What services do they offer?

Most aesthetics practitioners start with botox and dermal filler training, and many just stop there. This is ok if you only want lip filler or only want botox. However, if you are not sure what you need, then you need to see someone who can give you a balanced opinion. Even if you want botox, it may not be what you need to get the results that you want. So it is important that the practitioner has had training in a wide range of procedures, and can advise you based on your needs, rather than just giving you what you ask for.

5. Have you had a proper consultation?

If it’s your first time seeing an aesthetic practitioner, they shouldn’t just give you the treatment that you ask for without asking some questions. They should take the time to understand what your concerns are, what you have done in the past and what kind of results you are hoping to achieve. 

They should then be able to give you a holistic treatment plan that may involve a combination of different treatments, and also talk about how to prevent future problems. If they are happy to treat you without asking more questions, that should ring some alarm bells.

6. Can they deal with any potential complications?

Medical aesthetics procedures do carry a certain amount of risk. Although when done by someone who is appropriately trained, this risk can be dramatically reduced, it is still important to discuss these and talk about what will happen if things do go wrong. If a practitioner tells you to go to A&E, that should ring alarm bells. If they cannot or are not willing to explain about the risks, then you should steer clear from them.

7. Are they pressurising you to commit?

If it’s the first time that you are considering having an aesthetic treatment, you should be given enough time to think it over once you have been given the information, so you can make a rational and informed choice. If any practitioner tries to encourage you to commit to a procedure by offering you a time-limited discount, you should be careful. First of all, this is unethical practice. Secondly, if you have regrets about a treatment, you can’t just reverse it. You shouldn’t put yourself under unnecessary risk without being sure about the treatment first.

8. How long are the appointments?

Some busy clinics have very short appointment slots. Although the treatments themselves don’t take very long, you do need some time to ask any questions and go through the consent form. In the surgical world, consent is taken by the surgeon who performs the surgery, and I think this should apply to invasive aesthetic procedures too. Your aesthetics practitioner should talk through the risks with you in person, rather than their assistant doing it. Shorter appointments also mean a lot more pressure on the practitioner. If they feel like they have to rush, they may not be able to produce their best work, and more things are likely to go wrong.

9. Pricing

The aesthetics sector is getting more and more competitive, driving the prices lower and lower. However, there is a limit to how low the prices can go without the quality of the service being compromised.

There are 3 common reasons for very low prices:

  1. The practitioner is new or non-medical
  2. The products they are using are cheap
  3. They don’t have the right business knowledge to set proper prices.

Good practitioners charge appropriately for their knowledge and expertise, for good quality products and will sort out any potential problems at no extra cost to their clients. If you want quality, safety and peace of mind, then don't just compare the price, but compare the value instead. Paying appropriately for a responsible and experienced practitioner will actually safe you money in the long term.

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