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Safety In Beauty

This month my blog takes a more serious turn as I am looking into what it means to stay safe when considering cosmetic treatments.

Cosmetic medicine, or aesthetic medicine as it is also known, happens to be an unregulated industry. Whilst most practitioners in this field are doctors, dentists or nurses, there are also a lot of non-medical professionals performing these treatments.  Though increasing pressure is being put on the Government to intervene, and progress is being made towards regulating this industry, we are not quite there yet and the ‘Safety in Beauty’ campaign is doing a great job of highlighting where the public are being let down by untrained, unscrupulous or otherwise dangerous practitioners and practices.   You can follow the Safety in Beauty campaign on Facebook.

Media attention on the cosmetic medicine industry is also growing, and the Times recently did an investigation into Botox providers which uncovered some dangerous practices and some which were in direct contravention of General Medical Council guidelines.  It is worth mentioning here that whilst doctors working in this field are regulated by the GMC and must uphold their standards of conduct, dentists and nurses providing aesthetic treatments are regulated by the General Dental Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council respectively, and must adhere to the standards set by those regulators  You can read the full Times article here.

With safety in mind, here are my top tips for staying safe with injectable cosmetic procedures:

  • Is your Practitioner on the General Medical Council, General Dental Council or Nursing or Midwifery register?  They should have a registration number and be happy to provide it, and this can be checked against the online register.  
  • Is the treatment going to be provided in a safe environment?  By this I mean a suitable location such as a medical practice, dedicated clinic or dental surgery.  A dedicated clinic can be at a domestic property but this does not mean the kitchen or living room.  Beauty or hair salons are not really appropriate clinical environments for cosmetic procedures in my view.
  • Is your practitioner easy to get hold of?  If you have an urgent problem develop after the treatment, it is no good if they are travelling between beauty salons and won’t be back for 2-3 weeks.  For this reason you need to choose someone who is doing these treatments in one location on a very regular basis, and is ideally there most if not all of the time.
  • How involved are they in the cosmetic medicine industry?  There are many who have only done a basic Botox and filler course several years ago to top up their income and not updated their knowledge or developed their skills further.  If they only dabble in this industry, they may not have up to date knowledge or a large enough repertoire of treatments to fully inform you of your treatment options.
  • Have they been adequately trained in the procedure?  By this I mean not just have they done a course, but have they done the procedure at least once supervised, and for more complex treatments several times supervised. We all have to learn somewhere but spending 3 hours doing a course on treating tear troughs was not enough for me to feel confident to treat patients so I sought out further mentoring and treated a number of patients under supervision at the practice before I felt happy to offer it.  Your practitioner should be able to tell you how many treatments they have performed.  
  • Do they have a commitment to ongoing training and development? Good practitioners are constantly reviewing and developing their knowledge.  As per the point above, having a treatment done under supervision is probably one of the safest ways to have it, so if you get the chance to attend as a model on a course snap it up!
  • Are you being given enough time to make a decision about a treatment?  You should not feel rushed into making a decision to have treatment, and should be given enough time to ask all the questions you may have.  
  • Do they have appropriate referral pathways for procedures they can’t perform?  So for example, if you see me for a Silhouette Soft consultation but my opinion is that you really need a surgical facelift I know who I will recommend and refer you to.  And I won’t provide a treatment that I feel is not suitable for you.  

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when considering a cosmetic procedure, and this is why it is important that we all support the Safety in Beauty campaign.  I hope this is helpful, but do feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. 

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