September 9, 2018

Aesthetics on the High Street

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest news in the world of aesthetics (or even just my social media updates!), you will have heard that high street giant Superdrug are now offering aesthetic treatments in store for as little as £99. Dubbed as their “Skin Renew Service”, it’s due to launch at their flagship store in the Strand in London, and will be rolled out nationally provided the move is a success. Superdrug claim this offering is in response to customer demand, but the announcement has been met with significant criticism by several high-profile aesthetic experts and the industry in general. So, what is all the fuss about? Allow me to explain…

The Ethics of High-Street Procedures

On the surface, it may seem that Superdrug are committed to providing a comprehensive, quality treatment. They have promised patients a safe and trusted environment, and will only offer treatment to customers over the age of 25. A medical questionnaire and consultation with a qualified nurse are all prerequisites to the treatment. However, it is the overall nature of a ‘high street’ approach to aesthetics and the potential lack of a holistic approach and ongoing patient care that has raised concerns.

Whilst imposing an age limit on injectable treatments, there is no denying that Superdrug caters to customers as young as their early teens. With brand partnerships with tween idols such as online superstar Zoella under their belts, the morals of advertising treatments such as botox and fillers next to brightly-coloured eyeshadows and body glitter are murky. This dilemma is even further heightened by Superdrug’s sponsorship of Love Island, a show which was also highly criticised for promoting an unhealthy body image among young girls.

Whilst non-surgical procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers can be life-altering for those who suffer with insecurities in their appearance, acting as an invaluable confidence booster, it is important to remember it is not a quick-fix. Visiting a dedicated aesthetics doctor for an in-depth consultation will help to manage expectations and gauge what kind of results you can expect, helping you decide if the treatment truly is right for you.

Safety in Aesthetics

Unfortunately, the regulation of non-surgical aesthetics here in the UK is not as strict as it could be. Whilst Botox legally must be prescribed by a medical practitioner, there are no compulsory qualifications needed to actually administer injectable treatments, and dermal fillers can be ‘ordered’ and administered by anyone. Whilst Superdrug are promising that trained nurses will be on hand to carry out injectable treatments, due to the nature of it’s chain-store branding, it will be next to impossible for patients to do adequate research on who will actually be injecting their faces. If a portfolio of previous works aren’t available, as well as reviews from former patients (good or bad), how are you expected to trust practitioners with your own treatments? Given the dramatic rise in the number of botched procedures, this is something I find particularly worrying.

Although Botox and dermal fillers are non-surgical procedures, they are still no small matter to undertake, and carry very real risks if not administered correctly – from infection to incorrect injection technique, which can lead to unevenness, paralysis, and other significant issues. As such, it is crucial that injectable aesthetics treatments are carried out in an appropriate, sterile setting with a qualified practitioner who can deliver an ongoing level of care. In my view, a busy, high-street store with a large level of foot traffic simply cannot stand up to the service and quality of dedicated aesthetic clinics.

In the wake of this news, my advice to anybody looking to undergo Botox or dermal filler procedures is to ensure they visit a dedicated aesthetic practice, and check that the administering professional is medically qualified (i.e. listed on the GMC, NMC, GDC or surgical registers). It’s crucial that patients receive the right support before,during and after procedures, and that their needs are approached holistically and never as a ‘quick fix’.

If you would like more information on finding a safe, qualified practitioner – or how as a clinic you can push your high standards, settings and levels of care – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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