Looking to turn up your glow with a filler here or an injection there? In a largely unregulated industry these are the questions you need to ask first.
Fancy freshening up your face but don’t want to look like you’ve stepped off the set of Love Island? Join the club. Subtle, non-surgical cosmetic procedures – like Botox injections, fillers and anti-wrinkle treatments – are booming.
Maybe not yet quite as commonplace as a trip to the dentist, a trip to an aesthetics practitioner has well and truly hit the mainstream. Hell, even John Lewis offers anti-wrinkle injections now.
The trouble is, anyone can administer filler. You can even buy a syringe of dermal filler online and do it yourself (if you’re stark raving mad obvs). Medical aesthetics is still an unregulated industry which means doing your research is absolutely essential. You want to feel in safe hands, right?
I chatted to Dr Ohla Vorodyukhina – a practising dentist, aesthetic practitioner and international speaker. Ohla is at the top of her game, having treated more than 1,000 patients and trained more than 500 professionals in medical aesthetic procedures. With her own practice, Angels Twelve in Nottingham, she is one of the top experts in anti-ageing medicine in the UK.
Ohla is big on safety in and regularly talks on an international stage to industry professionals about how to maximise safety in the beauty industry. If anyone knows the questions to ask before you consider aesthetic treatments, it’s her.
‘You can’t stop ageing, but you can take control,’ says Ohla. ‘At Angels Twelve we rebuild and reconstruct the face in a nice, subtle way and it’s really important customers are reassured. We go above and beyond to ensure patient safety and we like to show that to our customers. Medical aesthetic treatments are more widely available now, but we still hear horror stories and the industry is still largely unregulated. It’s really important to ask questions first.’
So, what to ask? Here are Ohla’s top five.
1. What are your credentials?
‘At the moment you can attend a one-day course and go straight out and practise,’ says Ohla. ‘Finding a reputable practitioner is important.’
There are a few ways of doing this. First ask questions at the clinic. ‘A medical background is paramount,’ says Ohla. For injectables, the practitioner should be a trained doctor, dentist or nurse. For both treatments you should be asking how long they’ve been using the products for, and for a record of their experience.
‘They should have training in aesthetics and medical practitioners should be registered with the GMC or GDC or CGNC which means they can be checked and show they provide good care to their patient,’ adds Ohla.
There are three major platforms to check. You can search the Care Quality Commission (most advanced clinics offering medical aesthetics will be registered here). There is also the directory Save Face, which inspects clinic and the practitioner. Finally, try listings directory Safety in Beauty, which lists medical aesthetic clinics and beauty clinics.
2. Do you have a bricks and mortar clinic?
Because anyone can administer these treatments, there are plenty of less than satisfactory mobile practitioners offering to treat you in the comfort of your own home. Bad idea says Ohla.
‘You can call yourself an aesthetic practitioner with no qualifications whatsoever,’ she explains. ‘Dermal fillers can be freely bought online by anyone and often people will work as a mobile practitioner. If things go wrong, it can be very hard to track them down. You need to find a physical clinical practice where there is consistency.’
3. What products do you use?
Be clear on what products the practitioner is using and where they come from. ‘You don’t want them to be using an Ebay product or grey market product as it could lead to problems,’ says Ohla. ‘If you do have complications, it could be life-altering.’
So, don’t be shy about asking where the product comes from? ‘It should be coming from an aesthetic pharmacy or directly from the manufacturer,’ says Ohla.
4. What can I expect?
It’s really important to manage your expectations if you’re a newbie to aesthetic treatments. Make sure you understand what will happen during the treatment and how you can expect to look and feel immediately afterwards. If you’re expecting to look in the mirror immediately afterwards and see you from 10 years ago and you actually see a bright red, swollen face staring back, it can be something of a shock.
5. How would you deal with complications?
‘Every treatment has side effects,’ explains Ohla. ‘Even just using medical grade skincare can require down time. It’s important that is explained to you so that you are clear what to expect and that you ask if and how they are able to deal with side effects.’
The same goes for potential problems – it’s important to ask what support you will get if anything goes south. ‘There is nothing wrong with asking what the practitioner would do if a complication arises,’ says Ohla.
And if you’re not happy with the answer, try elsewhere.