What is a medical aesthetic clinic?

Hi, I’m Helen Western at Happy Face Dermal Rejuvenation. I specialise in using medical aesthetics to create natural enhancements and improve ageing skin. Welcome to my blog. I hope I can enlighten and entertain.

So I wanted talk about what the difference is between a non medical aesthetic practitioner and a medical aesthetic practitioner. When I refer to a non medical practitioner I refer to beauticians, hairdressers and other lay people. I’ve seen a lot of people calling themselves aesthetic specialist practitioners, but when you do a bit of digging, they are not medically trained at all.

Before I start, I don’t really want to knock the skills and knowledge of non-medical practitioners, but I believe that dermal fillers, Botox, anti-wrinkle injections are medical products and should be delivered by healthcare professionals. So no shade, but that’s my opinion.

There are three core things that may may make a non medical and medical clinic different, and they could effect the quality of the treatment and care you receive. These are things that I strongly recommend you consider before booking your anti wrinkle (Botox) or dermal filler treatments.

The first difference is price. It’s great to get cheap treatment and a lot of people seem motivated by this, but it’s not necessarily better treatment and you can end up paying three times as much to put it right. If you go and see someone else who’s going to dissolve your fillers, they’re going to charge you a lot of money. The second difference is in the medical assessment. A medical assessment cannot be carried out by someone who is not medically trained. Not everyone should use aesthetic treatments. And the third thing I want you to consider is what happens when things go wrong, because things go wrong with the most experienced healthcare professional. What happens if something goes wrong with a beautician?

Let’s get into this by discussing price. When you go to see a non medical practitioner often the prices are cheaper and that seems like a really good deal. You want to go and get your lips filled there because you can get half a mL for £90 or a whole mL for 150 pounds. That seems really great and they might have lovely photos and really good marketing, but what are you really paying for? Actually in my location I have seen many non-medical practitioners charging as much or more than the healthcare professionals for dermal fillers and anti wrinkle (Botox)treatment. However, when I’ve looked into the products they are using I find that it is often the cheapest products that a medical professional wouldn’t necessarily use.

Ask yourself, what are they putting into your face? Are they putting something that’s got really good background research, been around for years, lots of medical professionals are using it and there’s quite a lot of data on it? Or are they buying something off the internet from somewhere? You don’t really know if it’s a real product because there’s a lot of fake pharmaceuticals. Some of these products we don’t really know what’s in them because the companies won’t disclose what’s in them. So even if they look like they have good treatment effects, is that a risk you want to take with your face?

Where are they buying it from? Medical professionals should be buying their products from reputable pharmacies so you know that you’re getting genuine products. Recently in Essex there was a theft of lots of Botox from a warehouse. Where is that going? It’s going somewhere, someone’s buying it and someone’s selling it and someone’s putting it in your face. Has it stayed in the cold chain? Who knows.

Another cost is prescribing. Healthcare professionals will prescribe or pay someone to prescribe for them. Who are your non medical aesthetic practitioners getting to prescribe for them? Are they just getting a GP or a nurse prescriber with no background in aesthetics to prescribe for them? Are they even using a prescriber or are they just buying off the internet? If they have got someone who’s qualified in aesthetics to prescribe for them, are they seeing you face to face? We shouldn’t be prescribing anti wrinkle (Botox) for you if we haven’t seen you face to face. I would argue also that dermal fillers should be a prescribed medication also. Are they unethically getting the professional to prescribe a whole load of stuff for one person and using it on other people?

As healthcare professionals, we have a responsibility and we’re accountable to you and to our professional bodies to make sure the products we’re using are up to standards, we’re getting them from the correct place and we’re picking the right people to give it to. And if we don’t, we could lose our registration and then we’re buggered. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen because there are some medical professionals who do act unethically, but if this does happen you will have recourse to justice. There will be real consequences. This is not the case with non medical practitioners. The aesthetic industry is largely unregulated so they can just carry on doing what they’re doing and you’ll be left with the financial and personal cost.

Moving on the the medical assessment. When I see you in my clinic for the first time I will carry out a medical assessment. This will include your past medical history, current medications you take, allergies and a full facial assessment. With my years of knowledge and expertise as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner I will be able to decide if the treatment you desire is going to be safe for you, if you should be having any treatment at all, or if another treatment might benefit you more.

I will give you recommendations to improve your skin care. And make sure that you’re 100% happy with the plan. And I want you to be 100% sure that you wish to spend your hard earned cash investing in my treatments. For this reason I always offer a cool off period after this initial consultation. A lot of people after the consultation think, “Yes, 100% I want it, I want it”, but I always recommend a couple of days to weight up the risk/benefit/financial ratio before you decide to go ahead. Of course in this time you can ask me any questions that may be lingering in the back of your mind. Once we have passed these stages you will then be able to sign a consent form and I can be assured that I have received informed consent from you.

I am unaware of how this assessment process is done with non medical practitioners. I’m sure the quality varies wildly. As I said before you can’t complete an appropriate medical assessment if you are not medically trained.

Save Face released a stat that 83% of all of their complaints they received were about non medical aesthetic practitioners. That’s 83% in a whole year of all the complaints they received. The worst thing about this is that this 83% have no real recourse to justice. There’s nothing really you can do about it. You made the decision to go and see a nonmedical professional. You put the value of the cost over the value of your face. This is not how I feel as a lot of non medical practitioners have very slick and official marketing which makes them seem trustworthy, but in the eyes of the law that was your decision.

Which brings me to the third thing you need to consider. If you have dermal fillers or anti wrinkle (Botox) with a non medical practitioner, what happens when things go wrong? I’m a member of the Aesthetic Complications Expert Group and they have a private Facebook group for their members. Every day I see at least one (there’s possibly more that I miss) adverse event posted of patients who have had their treatment with non medical practitioners. These poor patients usually turn up in a medical aesthetic clinic and say “This has happened to me. Can you put it right?”. Sadly in a lot of cases, no, they can’t put it right because it’s not our responsibility. That seems harsh, but once we decide to take the work and put things right, everything that happens to you from that point becomes our responsibility. We can can correct our own work only. The issue isn’t that we don’t want to help it is that a lot of times our insurance will not cover this work, meaning that if you have further complications from correcting the work neither you or the clinician is protected. Obviously if you had a serious emergency, such as a vascular occlusion, I don’t think any healthcare professionals would turn you away. We have a duty of care and sometimes we have to do the wrong thing for the right reason.

Healthcare professionals have to have a good knowledge of anatomy to prevent complications, we have to carry an emergency kit with adrenaline and hyaluronidase and we have to know how to manage complications. Most of us will follow protocols published by complications experts and have these experts on call should we need them.

I don’t know what would happen if you went to a lay person’s clinic and you had a vascular occlusion. I think you’d probably end up going to A&E, possibly in an ambulance if you lose your sight. They certainly wouldn’t be able to offer you emergency treatment.

To round up, I’ve discussed is the difference between non medical aesthetic practitioners and medical aesthetic practitioners. The three major things that are different are 1. Price, because healthcare professionals have to offer prescribed quality products from trusted sources; 2. The medical assessment, which can only be carried out by a clinician with medical training; and 3. What happens when things go wrong? I hope that if and when you’re considering any dermal fillers or anti wrinkle treatment you will ensure that your practitioner is a medically trained one.

advanced nurse practitioner – independent prescriber – NMC registered – registered nurse- aesthetics – harleytrained – insured – wrinkles – dermal fillers – microneedling – skincare – frinton – lips – cheeks – marionette lines – nasolabial folds – beauty – Walton on the naze- Holland on sea – clacton- clacton on sea – Frinton-On-Sea – colchester – aesthetics frinton – filers – Obagi – skin care

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