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How do I choose an aesthetic or cosmetic treatment practitioner?

Victoria Reynolds
February 27, 2021
By: Victoria Reynolds
Min Read

Choosing your aesthetics practitioner can be a difficult decision to make. There are some incredible guides and now there is a lot of information out there if you have the time to look. It’s worth spending time on some key points prior to making a decision. This is what I would recommend looking for if I wanted to have a treatment.

To narrow down your search I would recommend choosing a registered medical professional for aesthetic treatments who is an accredited practitioner in a regulated clinic who has links to a supportive network. I would be looking for Registered: nurse NMC, doctor GMC, dentist GDC, pharmacist GPC registered professionals with Save Face, ACE and / or the CMAC, Aesthetic Entrepreneurs and Consulting Rooms, iin addition you may look for memberships such as the BACN and BCAM for example there are others, these are the ones I recommend. If clinics are regulated by CQC they’re going to be offering medical treatments. In order to provide certain medical treatments clinics must be CQC registered. These treatments would include weight loss medications and services, thread treatments, soft surgery and medicines such as Vitamin shots including B12 injections. If you are having these treatments in a clinic or by a practitioner who cannot demonstrate their medical registration, memberships and regulation find another practitioner who can.

Education check the practitioner is a registered medical professional. Within aesthetics check they are either a Doctor, Nurse, Dentist or Pharmacist, that they have advanced education in aesthetics. There are a great deal of courses out there. Check where they trained and the qualifications. Save Face and Consulting rooms have written guides on educational standards. I have advanced and university education specific to aesthetics. This includes university and professional training at Masters level, which includes level 7 certificate, diploma and am just completing my dissertation for my Masters degree in non-surgical aesthetics by researching complication management.

Look at patient reviews, Google reviews and video reviews. Check their social media and any groups they run. You are looking for honest, up to date reviews that demonstrate safety, approachability and a caring attitude. I would recommend looking for honesty and integrity and you feel some kind of rapport with the clinician you choose.

Location is important. If you’re going to have regular treatments, or a treatment plan you need to know you can get to the clinic and should you have any problems that you can contact and see your practitioner. Though problems are incredibly rare, you need to know you practitioner is available to you and has the capacity to see you when you need them.

Communication needs to be honest, they should be available during their working hours and provide you with the information on how to call you if you had any problems (very rarely would a problem arise) but you need to have the assurance they are available to you when you need them for the treatment plan duration and after care. If they were not available personally, such as they are on holiday (post Covid lockdown) they will have a supportive network in place to ensure your treatment and service is continued safely.

What does regulation and accreditation mean for me?

When a clinic is regulated and/ or accredited, let’s take Save Face accreditation for example, this means that Save Face who are recognised by the government have inspected the clinic, the practitioner, the policies, protocols, insurance, suppliers, training, education, registrations and experience of the practitioner among other things. They’ve inspected the property it’s safety and cleanliness as well as the integrity and background of the practitioner. CQC in addition gives the clinic or practice a rating. There is a great deal of work to be done in order to achieve accredited and regulated status, these things take months and years to obtain and it is a process that continues. Inspections are carried out by Save Face and the CQC every year.

Insurance

Check with your practitioner that they are insured for the treatment you are requesting. If they are accredited with Save Face and regulated with the CQC this has already been done for you. Insurance is a minefield and your practitioner should be able to explain their insurances with you.

Suppliers

Check with your practitioner where they get their supplies, products, prescription items and especially dermal fillers. Vitamin shots are usually prescription items and the person prescribing them must be an independent prescriber and the person administering them should be a registered medical professional. Toxins (Botox, Azzalure, Bocouture, Dysport) are all prescription only medicines and should be only prescribed following a face to face consultation. Dermal fillers such as Teosyal, Belotero, Restylane, Profhilo, Juvederm are dermal fillers and classed as medical devices, they are not prescription only. Some fillers are not recognised as safe in this country nor Europe and there are hundreds of them. Regulated pharmacies are able to track every single item they buy and provide to clinics. Some distributors and importers cannot provide this assurance so ask your practitioner where they buy from and why. Media reports have recently demonstrated theft of some toxins, unregulated toxins being brought in to the UK. Dermal fillers should only be administered by a medical professional who is trained to administer the fillers, buys from regulated pharmacies and can provide the highest level of safety.

Complications (will be discussed more fully in another post, these are rare!)

Your practitioner also need to have training in RECOGNISING and TREATING complications and have a pathway to manage them, a network to support and medication and equipment for the same. Ask your practitioner to demonstrate this knowledge and planning.

Consultation you should be offered a pre-treatment consultation. If you are considering injectables, threads, soft surgery or weight loss the safest, high standard for aesthetics is a face to face consultation prior to your treatment carried out by the treating professional. This should help you to understand the anatomy of the problems you feel you have, assess your medical, surgical and trauma and aesthetic history, your lifestyle, sun exposure and health. You should then be given options for treatments and education around the options available to you. This takes a significant amount of time and you should expect to pay for your consultation.

Covid 19 they should all have policies and protocols for reducing the risk of Covid 19 for you and the staff. In addition evidence is emerging that we should avoid aesthetic treatments for at least two weeks prior to after vaccines and after Covid infection. Though this evidence is new and only just emerging delaying treatments would be sensible. Covid vaccines are a priority, never delay this in favour of aesthetic treatments, but make your practitioner aware of your vaccine dates and any recent infection or contact prior to attending your appointment.

Cool down once you’ve had a consultation you should be offered a cooling off period to digest the information, consider the options and ask any questions about the treatment plan. You should not feel any pressure to have treatments and you should feel confident and supported by your practitioner.

Holistic you should feel that your practitioner has addressed your problem and treatment plan in a holistic manner. Solving your problem is what you practitioner should be focussing on. Sometimes, it may be inappropriate to have the treatment you initially wanted to have. Your practitioner should explore why you would like that treatment, the safety and risk around the treatment and present you with options to solve the problem. This takes time, patience and understanding. You should have options and occasionally a referral to another practitioner or service may be the most appropriate path.

Lifestyle is so very important and this will be explored during your consultation and ongoing treatments. Your plan should include lifestyle advice such as nutrition, hydration, sleep, UV and blue light exposure, smoking/alcohol advice and stress management. These things all have a bearing on your confidence, health and skin. Your practitioner should make every episode of care count and you should feel confident that you can ask any questions related to your health.

In summary to choose your practitioner check the following:

  • Registration
  • Regulation
  • Accreditation
  • Network
  • Education
  • Reviews and social proof
  • Insurance
  • Suppliers
  • Consultation
  • Cool down
  • Lifestyle
  • Holistic practice

There is a lot to consider, most of all, trust how you feel when you speak to them and when you have your consultation.

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