Tweakment curious? Read this first
The Zoom boom has seen a rise in cosmetic surgery and aesthetics enquiries. In a largely unregulated industry these are the questions you need to ask first.
It’s only taken a year for me to get used to seeing myself Celebrity Squares stylee in a virtual meet up. But the wonders of technology are both a blessing and a curse. Staring at yourself on screen all day, you start to wonder if it’s not just your roots that need TLC. In fact, the Zoom boom has seen a 57% rise in men and women seeking consultations for non-surgical and surgical procedures to reboot the bits you don’t like.
I’m not really one to disappear down the botox and fillers rabbit hole, but I’ve had my fair share of vampire facials and non-surgical face lifts on Muddy. It’s all horses for courses. But knowledge is power – especially when it comes to aesthetic treatments. It’s an unregulated industry which means doing your research is absolutely essential.
I chatted to Dr Ash Soni – a fully qualified Plastic Surgeon and founder of The Soni Clinic (Windsor and Reigate). Dr Ash is at the top of his game, having worked and trained in the US, followed by a stretch in the NHS and now he’s set up his own private practice performing non-surgical and surgical procedures for both women and men.
Why specialise in cosmetic surgery and aesthetics?
Over the last several years, I’ve performed over 3,000 surgeries in plastic and reconstructive surgery. The knowledge and understanding of anatomy has really reinforced my passion for aesthetics. I have always been interested in cosmetic surgery, as it really requires so much attention-to-detail, finesse, and technical skill, in order to create natural and aesthetically beautiful results for my patients. The skills learnt when performing very complex surgeries are applied to my daily practice, and really gave me the confidence and drive to set up my own practice.
Why are we seeing a tweakment boom?
Most of my clients are looking for a boost in self-confidence – to make themselves feel more youthful and refreshed. I’m able to restore my patients’ youthfulness but in a natural and subtle way. As we age, our facial anatomy changes, and as a result, we lose definition. The majority of people I treat have never had procedures done before, but have reached a point where they don’t feel comfortable having photographs taken, or have other general self-esteem issues.
Are we pursuing an unrealistic idea of perfection, likes and follows?
Look, everyone’s beautiful in their own unique way, and the goal here shouldn’t be to become someone different. The secret to good aesthetics is NOT looking like you’ve had “work done.” My advice would be to address the concerns you have when you look in the mirror, or things you’ve noticed over time that significantly bother you. Don’t be pushed into having procedures done on areas that were never an issue. Having realistic aesthetic goals is fundamental.
What are the most popular tweakments?
At The Soni Clinic, I offer both non-surgical and surgical procedures and I have patients (aged 20 to 70) asking for eyelid surgeries for excess eyelid skin, non-surgical nose jobs, mole and cyst excisions, nipple or areola adjustments, scar revisions, anti-wrinkle injections, hydrating skin injections, and filler treatment for facial rejuvenation, help people with teeth grinding, excess sweating, to name a few.
What’s should clients think about that is rarely discussed in public?
Frequency of top-ups. This will always be dependent on the treatment, and the quality of products used. Many providers use cheaper versions of anti-wrinkle injections and fillers – and this can impact how long results will last.
Anything surgical, it’s important to know what the pre- and post-procedure instructions are, and the restrictions after surgery. Before you go down this road, this is a discussion that your provider should have with you in detail. Finally, always sign a consent form detailing all of this.
Finally, the financial aspects of your treatment should also be very carefully explained – and ensure there are no hidden fees. Your provider should be very honest with you before your treatment regarding this.
Have you ever turned a client down?
During my formative years in the States, I’ve turned down patients mostly due to a psychological element or other risk factor. For instance, I once met a patient who wanted to have work done just to please her boyfriend – not because it was what she wanted. But since I started The Soni Clinic I’ve not yet turned down a prospective patient, and I think that’s because of the time I spend at the consultation stage.
Get ready to grill! What should we be asking?
- How experienced is the provider?
- Have they had any surgical experience in the past, and in what capacity?
- What training have they had? Remember, that a lot of aesthetic providers have done a weekend training course, and have no other significant experience in this field.
- Look on their websites and see how transparent they are about who the providers are – many are not transparent, and the reason is often because they lack sufficient training or experience.
- How reputable are those clinics in the community? Ask around, and see what experiences others may have had, or what they have heard.
What are the red flags?
One thing to note, is that many providers will push patients into having procedures they didn’t consider before. For me, this is a red flag. More often than not, these providers are pursuing financial gains rather than patient satisfaction and wellbeing.
Ensure you fully understand the risks and benefits of the procedures you are about to undertake, and know that the provider is comfortable with dealing with any complications that may result.
What if something goes wrong?
Read the fine print of anything you sign. Make sure that you know everything about what procedure you are having done, the good and the bad, and any financial implications resulting from complications. Many aesthetic procedures are often done on the face, and complications that arise will cost you more than just money. If complications arise, your provider should feel very comfortable taking care of them. A lot of patients come to me from other clinics with complications the providers didn’t know how to manage.
Gah! How do I find a pro?
In my opinion, the UK aesthetics industry is not regulated strictly enough, so you do need to take care. Do your research. Know where they trained, and what experience they have had. Just being in the medical industry in some capacity is not enough. Have they performed procedures on the face?
Remember, many patients can be attracted by lower pricing. If something is very cheap, if often means they don’t have the experience and/or they’re potentially using very cheap products. If they’re not transparent on their website or social media about their training, it often means that they have something to hide. Saying “Harley Street trained” often means they just did a weekend course on Harley Street, so find out what exactly they have done.
What changes are needed in the industry?
I’m really trying to bring more awareness to the aesthetic industry in the UK, to improve patient safety and minimise the risk of complications. We need regulation on who can perform non-surgical aesthetics work. Right now, anyone can administer anti-wrinkle injections and fillers, which is a scary prospect. If products are injected into the wrong areas or with lack of understanding, you can have areas of the skin and tissue that die, and sometimes this can have irreversible consequences.
There also needs to be some quality control of the products used. So many products are available on the internet for anyone to buy.