Have you been considering an aesthetic treatment? Here Dr Kalpna Pindola runs through some of the things you should ask and expect from your practitioner.
The decision to have an aesthetic treatment is not a simple one. There are many concerns like:
- Will it hurt?
- Is it expensive?
- Will I get a natural result?
- What about the horror stories associated with treatments?
It is certainly puzzling process to find a practitioner with the right knowledge, skills and training for you.
So I would suggest asking first:
- Is it safe?
Wrinkle relaxing and dermal filler treatments have been poorly regulated for many years in the UK. This means that anyone can inject fillers and Botox at the present time, if they can find a supplier. Not all aesthetic practitioners are medically trained.
This is a problem because all these treatments come with some risks. The incidence of serious complications is low if performed by a medically trained professional.
What are the risks?
In very rare cases, fillers can cause permanent blindness if inadvertently injected into a blood vessel. They can also cause skin death by the same mechanism, but this is reversible if managed well.
Anti-wrinkle injections like Botox can, for example, cause temporary drooping of the eyelids if it diffuses into the wrong spot. It can also cause the brow to feel heavy.
All treatments come with potential complications whoever does the procedure. But these real risks can be reduced by using a well trained medical practitioner.
Here are a few tips on selecting the right practitioner for you.
- Are they a Medical professional?
Are they a registered doctor, dentist, nurse prescriber or pharmacist? They are accountable to you by law. You can check their governing body to ensure they are actively registered. For instance, doctors can be found on https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/the-medical-register/a-guide-to-the-medical-register/find-a-doctors-record. Check if they are fully insured and can present you their policy.
- Are they well trained in Aesthetic Medicine?
Some practitioners may have done a weekend course – perhaps just a one day course in aesthetics, so it’s worth checking exactly what they have done. Ideally they should have further aesthetic qualifications such as a Level 7 qualification in Non Surgical Aesthetics, which is the vocational equivalent of a masters’ university degree.
- Can they manage an emergency should one happen?
Not all medical professionals can prescribe so ask if they prescribe or have support in the face of an emergency or complication from treatment. They should have on hand hyaluronidase, the enzyme that is injected to break down filler fast if it is accidentally injected into a blood vessel. They should also have an epipen in case there’s an allergic reaction. If they don’t, it is important to find out what their plan is if something goes wrong because quick action is important.
- Always have a Consultation First.
Your provider should consider you as a unique individual. This includes discussing your goals, expectations and concerns. A consultation will include consideration of your medical history and a facial assessment. You can ask any questions you have about them and the treatment process. Develop trust in their abilities and ethics. Sometimes treatment may involve alternative treatments, or not treating at all.
- Do some research.
Before and after photos can give you an indication of their skill and the effectiveness of the treatments. Reviews and testimonials can also help. Word of mouth is so valuable, so ask your friends and family for recommendations.
- Has consent been considered?
Have you been consented for treatment verbally and in the written form? You should understand your treatment and have you had your questions answered to your satisfaction. Do you know that you can change your mind?
- Do you feel pressured to have treatment?
This should never be the case. Avoid time limited deals, however tempting, if you are not ready for treatment. Discount vouchers such as Groupon and Wowcher should not be used to select your practitioner as cheap treatments are not necessarily synonymous with quality treatments. You are worth so much more than that. Also, there should never be a hard sell.
- What your practitioner should do in front of you
They should have a clean and sterile set up area and wear a set of clean gloves when handling the products and injecting. Your practitioner can show you the unopened box of the product they are using and take the product out of that packaging in front of you.
If they have to mix the treatment, such as with Botox, they should do this in clear view.
Why? Bad practitioners have been known to show you a popular product and then substitute it for another one. Medical professionals are liable for the sourcing of reputable products, so this ensures you are being treated with safe product.
Have you been offered a follow up service and has the practitioner given you contact details in case there is an emergency? Always ask for these. If they are not provided, have second thoughts about the practitioner.
He or she should also provide you with aftercare advice to help reduce the risk of post treatment problems and list what products have been used and where they were injected. Again, this is in case something goes wrong and you need emergency treatment.
- The Harley Street Myth
For many years Harley Street has been famous for offering health services. While it is the home to some of the most revered and experienced practitioners, there are also a plethora of therapists who practice there by simply hiring treatment rooms by the hour. So being based in Harley Street, contrary to popular belief, is not necessarily a mark of quality or safety. Bear this in mind.
Undergoing an aesthetic treatment is a big decision. Most of the time, these treatments go well and without any problems. But, as there is a small risk of significant complications, they should be carried out by medically trained practitioners. Also consider if you feel instinctual trust in your aesthetic practitioner, and whether they are adequately qualified.
This is your body, your self-confidence and your self esteem that we are helping you move forward. You deserve to be treated by safe medical practitioners who are there to serve and value your beautiful self!