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Healthcare Professionals vs. Non-Healthcare Professionals

I've been putting off writing about this particular subject as more often than not it causes uproar and controversy but upon further thought to this subject, if it means I can help people seeking aesthetic treatment to choose a safer practitioner, then the controversy, speculation and potential uproar is worth it!

I myself am a degree level qualified registered nurse, I started my aesthetics journey on a foundation day for injectables and then went on to begin my level 7 course (masters equivalent) in aesthetics with Harley Academy in London. Harley Academy's level 7 for Aesthetic Medicine is the UK's first government regulated qualification in dermal fillers and botulinum toxin (botox). Only medical professionals can apply and completion requires the following:

- 142 hours of CPD-accredited university standard online learning

- Clinical mentoring completing a portfolio of 40 observed and practiced treatments.

- A written assignment (a VERY long one at that)

- A two-and-a-half hour objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).

The facts about aesthetic treatment is that currently with the lack of regulation (which we will hopefully see tighten in the next couple of years), it really does not take much to be able to start injecting. It can be as little as a one day course in dermal fillers and botulinum toxin and away people go injecting faces. There are lots of day courses available for non-healthcare professionals, so is it any surprise that we are seeing so many botched cases? Facial anatomy is about as complex as the current Brexit negotiations. The idea that someone is running the show without even a basic understanding is horrifying...

Recently ITV News released a story about a young girl who nearly lost her lips after having filler injections by a beautician. She unfortunately experienced a huge amount of swelling and necrosis as a result of a vascular occlusion and reaction. (ITV report, 2018).

Once the client reached out to the beautician she advised her client to just take an antihistamine and go to A&E! What many are not aware of is that Accident and Emergency departments are not equipped to deal with aesthetic complications. They do not stock our emergency medication and are not trained/have experience in this field. This is why even medical professionals need to do further extensive training in aesthetics to be able to start treating people. If ever we have complications our clients should be able to come back to their treating clinician and receive appropriate treatment and/or referral rather than be told to simply take a tablet and head to A&E. It is absolutely appalling. From her experience this client said the following:

"Don't go to a beautician would be my advice. But equally, do your research, check it out for yourself, ask the questions. They will give you the answers if you ask them and if they don't then there's your warning sign. But make sure that they are medically trained to treat you if something goes wrong."

– RACHAEL KNAPPIER. (itv report, 2018).

If that wasn't terrifying enough here are some stats for you from Save Face complaints report 2017- 2018:

Number of complaints by procedure?

-Dermal Fillers: 616 and Botox:224

About the Practitioner:

- 83% of treatments which led to complaints were carried out by beauticians, hairdressers, laypeople.

- 31% of patients didn't know what qualifications or training their practitioner had undertaken.

-8 Practitioners were masquerading as healthcare professionals.

Another thing I tell anyone that comes to see me is ALWAYS know what product your practitioner is using and why. In recent months I have seen other practitioners in surrounding areas offering prices for lip injections which puzzle me greatly. Knowing how much legitimate products costs from pharmacies it would mean the practitioners would not even be making money, this begs the question as to where they are sourcing their products from! Or perhaps they are treating just from good will without trying to make financial gain, i'll let you decide.

Save Face released further stats stating:

- 84% of patients didn't know what products were used and how they were sourced.

- 5% of patients were injected with a different product to what they had paid for

- 30% of practitioners investigated were believed to be importing products via the internet.

It does also need to be addressed that there are some health care professionals who have not sought adequate training and who are also not delivering safe practice. The most important thing to do is research your injecting clinician and have a thorough informative consultation. I could continue this subject but by now I think I have made my point so I will end it here before this blog evolves into a novel.

Thanks for reading!

Reference: ITV News (2016) ''warning after lip filler injection goes wrong', available at: Save Face (2017-2018) 'complaints report', available at:

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