The winds of change are upon us! At last! Since joining the world of aesthetics as a medical professional, the sheer lack of regulation, guidance and accountability has astounded me as well as a good many of my professional colleagues. But change is here!
Aesthetics is often so misunderstood, the processes, treatments and products are often an unknown to the client and unfortunately, there are practitioners who have taken this to their full advance. For example, how many people know that Botulinum Toxin Type A, used to treat lines and wrinkles, is a prescription only medicine? You MUST have a face to face full consultation with a Doctor or Nurse Prescriber first to assess your suitability and the appropriateness of treatment as well as whether you are medically suitable. Botulinum Toxin Type A is a potent neurotoxin, there are risks associated with it (as with any drug), and I’m sure you agree that assuring this is the right treatment for you is of the upmost importance. Another point of note here is that if the above process hasn’t been adhered to, the practitioner who is injecting you is NOT INSURED. Worth remembering!
What are the other issues? Well, something I see an awful lot of is miss use or inappropriate use of product. Quite often a new client to me who has had treatments previously will tell me they have no idea what product was used, they weren’t shown a vial or made aware of the product and even that it was simply in a syringe (so it could have been anything!) Cheap treatments are cheap for a reason! There are many cheap products that practitioners use, in order to increase their profits, but the quality is compromised and there are often complications with there products. Another trick used by practitioners trying to cut corners is the sharing of products! Always ask to see your unopened product before use, always ask at your consultation which product the practitioner intends to use and then do your homework on it! Remember, a good practitioner is open, honest and transparent, so they will never mind you asking these questions!
So, what’s changing? Well for those of us who sit under regulatory bodies and who are members of esteemed organisations such as the BACN, we adhere to a code of high standards, both within our practice but also regarding advertising. It has been an uphill struggle having to compete against unscrupulous practitioners who offer cheap products at cheap prices, with incentives, offers and unethical advertising, enticing clients in to get bums on seats and make money. But I have always taken the stance that advertising should reflect both me and the type of clinic I run, and so I have taken great care to ensure we promote a very holistic view and perspective on facial aesthetics, to promote good health and skincare and the importance of good mental health and self-awareness. I have never gone in for cheap promotions or gimmick advertising, I have always endeavored to maintain the quality and standard of the practice we offer, and for that we are very proud. There have always been guidelines set by the Advertising Standards Agency as well as our governing bodies on how we may advertise, but these have been updated and will now be subject to electronic scanning and tougher punishment if caught.
It is illegal to advertise a Prescription Only Medicine (POM), which means Botulinum Toxin type A! That includes any reference to products, treatments, pictures, logos, testimonials as well as discrete references to the suggestion of the use of a POM. This also includes any advertising of prices in relation to any treatment that is POM. A practitioner may not use any celebrity of any other endorsement, so no use of Kim Kardashian in order to promote the treatment in relation to a POM.
What does this mean? We hope this means an end to the unethical and poor practice shown by so many practitioners in their advertising. The hope is that this creates a level playing field for all practitioners who continue to maintain the very best standards in the best interest of their clients to maintain safety and compliance. So, you will notice that our website now has very limited information regarding the use of this treatment, with only a reference to the consultation we offer in the treatment of lines and wrinkles, and no prices are available online. We have echoed this throughout our social media.
This is a fantastic step in the right direction for aesthetics! It encourages discussion, inclusion and concordance within consultation, which is so important in the decision-making process between client and practitioner regarding the appropriate treatment. Open and honest discussion, which includes information and understanding allows the client to make an informed decision alongside their practitioner, it is after all a partnership! And most importantly, it is a huge leap forward in client safety within aesthetics.