Posted on 8 July, 2015
Following years of minimal governance, the aesthetics industry in the UK has undergone some scrutiny over the past few years as a result of the breast implant scandal.
Aesthetics is an industry that has exploded in a very short space of time. There are many complex reasons for this but affordability and our increasing obsession with self-image and looks are at the forefront. At one time there were only a few procedures available. These procedures were available to a very select group of high earners and celebrities. Nowadays, you will be hard pushed to sit in a bar or restaurant in London where there is not a single person who has undergone some kind of aesthetic procedure. However, the lack of regulation has seen a range of practices along a spectrum ranging from downright dangerous right up to the absolute pinnacle of excellence.
Choosing a practitioner therefore, can be a minefield. For those who have never had any treatments before, it can be hard to know what to look for: like many things in life we tend to learn through experience.
There will be a number of factors, which affect your decision; practicalities such as location and pricing will clearly be considerations. Some will select on price alone.
Accessibility makes it more confusing
The advent of discount businesses such as Groupon and Wowcher make the treatments even more affordable and accessible. The original concept of these types of services was to provide a new form of marketing. Offer a treatment at a highly discounted rate to get people through the door, with the hope that they may become returning clients or become interested in purchasing other services.
For beauty treatments, restaurants and other services this is a perfectly acceptable advertising strategy.
Why not so in aesthetics? The time pressure on special offers mean that the individual must make a hasty decision about undergoing a treatment without the space to give full consideration to any potential risks involved. This is deemed as an inducement that is inappropriate for what is effectively a medical intervention.
The Harley Street Myth
For me the Harley street myth is one of the most misunderstood concepts in London. Harley Street is famous for offering health services and has been for many years. While it may be said that Harley Street is home to some of the most revered and experienced practitioners, there are also a plethora of therapists who are neither of those things. Harley Street, like anywhere else hires out treatment rooms to practitioners from all different backgrounds and levels of experience: being based in Harley Street, contrary to popular belief, is not necessarily a mark of quality or safety.
Given that choosing the right aesthetics practitioner is a challenge, here are a few pointers to help you out:
1. Most importantly please be aware that when having injectable treatments you should be assessed and cared for by someone who is a fully qualified and a registered medical professional. The regulatory bodies with which you can check registrations are the NMC, for nursing, the GMC for doctors and for dentists, the GDC.
2. There are also some industry bodies that will only register qualified experienced practitioners. To name a few the BACN (cosmetic nurses), BACD (cosmetic doctors), the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Save Face.
3. You might consider what type of clinic you would like to visit: a large chain type clinic or a small clinical practice.
4. You should read about other peoples experiences. Many websites will hold testimonials from their clients or you may prefer to visit independent review websites such as Whatclinic or Save Face so that you can feel confident that the reviews are genuine.
Trust your Instincts
Lastly, if and when you take the plunge always listen to your gut instincts if you feel uncomfortable or simply change your mind, you should have every right to do that within the clinics cancellation policy. Feeling apprehensive before treatment is normal as long as there is anticipation and excitement too, if overwhelmed by anxiety then it probably not the right time or place for you. Take your time to find out about the clinic that best suits your requirements and that way you will feel confident about your decision.