My daughter is in her first year of training to be a beauty therapist – and it’s great to see how enthusiastic she is about taking the first steps of entering into her chosen career. She’s also learning to drive, so to give her some experience, I was chauffeur driven a good part of the way on our trip from Rugby down to the mecca for beauty therapists, Professional Beauty, at the EXCEL in London.
Although I have been involved in many different aspects of the medical aesthetic market for a number of years, the day was devoted to my daughter’s agenda – and what she wanted to see and buy there.
We visited the literally hundreds of stands devoted to waxing, spray tanning, and nails (core treatments in the beauty salon market) and my daughter educated me on the difference between minx and gel nails, and why she thought honey wax was better than cream wax!
Then, buried amongst the exhibitors selling these types of products, we came across a nurse offering cut price Botox and dermal filler injections from her exhibition stand. Now this is something that I do know something about, and although I have seen it before at Professional Beauty, I was hoping that the organisers, who are trying to entice in the medical community with a designated exhibition area and separate Aesthetic Medicine conference, would have restricted this type of practice.
However, this was not the case – and in the European Spa section of the exhibition (interestingly none of these companies were situated in the “Aesthetic Medicine” section of the conference), we came across two other companies selling injectable cosmetic treatments off their stands.
Aesthetic Academy were doing a roaring trade with women queuing for his services starting from just £95.00. This company appears to be run by Dr Stephen Kaldor who, according to his website www.aesthetic-academy.co.uk “is a highly experienced cosmetic Dental Surgeon who branched into Facial Aesthetics 6 years ago. In addition, he is actively involved in the teaching of Facial Aesthetics in the UK and abroad and is the first Dentist in the UK to be appointed to the examining board as a Validator and Examiner for the recently launched Vistabel(cosmetically licenced Botox).” Dr Kaldor also appears to provide cosmetic injectable treatments for Transform Medical Group and several other clinics.
If I was “shopping around on price” Dr Helena Benson, a regular at this event, might not seem so attractive as her prices for “Anti-frowning injections” started at £120, with Juvederm at £220 and a special show offer on Radiesse reduced from £500 to £390 if I handed my credit card over and popped on the couch for a treatment infront of a watching crowd.
Dr Helena Benson is the founder of the Advanced Beauty Clinic. On her website, www.advancedbeauty.co.uk, it states that “she qualified as a medical doctor in 1986 and has worked at the Hale Clinic, Harley Street and has practised natural medicine and in the mid nineties she became involved in anti-ageing.” You’ll also see from her site that you can visit her for treatment at: The Ideal Home Exhibition, Earls Court, London 16th March - 1st April 2012, Stand No: 2R62 and Vitality Boutique, Blue Water Shopping Centre, Stand No: B8 26th April - 29th April 2012
Or, if you’re looking for something a little more private - If you organise an Anti-Ageing Party “In the comfort of your own home” you’ll also receive a free treatment of your choice.
OK – You May Say – Why Should I Care!!
Well, sometimes I wonder if I should! However, there are two main reasons: whatever people say about the safety record of injectable cosmetics, there are very real dangers that can occasionally crop up and those who attend medical conferences, read medical journals and who talk to experienced practitioners and insurance companies know that these can sometimes be very distressing for the person who has been treated.
Selling medical treatments from an exhibition stand where people read and sign a consent form with minimal consultation (or presumably any follow up if there are problems) further trivialises the potential dangers involved.
We could also debate the legalities of advertising POM’s from a trade stand and the ethics of incentivising prescription treatments with special show offers.
However, and more importantly, when beauty therapists and salon owners see these treatments being offered in this way, it encourages them to think that you can incorporate these into their own treatment menu with no or minimal risk. Not only that – many are also being encouraged to “cut out the medic” and learn these treatments themselves.
BABTAC – The British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology who claim to be “the longest established and most widely recognised membership organisation in the beauty industry, representing highly trained professionals who care about their clients” is one of the organisations supporting this. Julie Speed, BABTAC Director said in the February/March edition of their members magazine “Vitality” that “BABTAC is keen to be involved in the development of a level 4/5 qualification for suitable practitioners, including therapists, to train practitioners to have all the necessary skills to carry out safe and effective injectable cosmetic procedures”.
I’m sure that the organisers or Professional Beauty will justify allowing practitioners to promote injectable cosmetics from exhibition stands by saying that it’s a closed industry event and that therapists, students and salon owners find this a popular feature. Similarly the practitioners providing the treatments will probably claim that they’ve never had a problem or complaint from anyone who has been treated off a stand in this way.
However, when my 17 year old daughter asked me if she could have Botox at one of the stands – seemingly thinking that this was akin to having her nails painted at a previous exhibition booth, it does concern me!
Sadly, it appears to me that year on year the cosmetic injectable section of the aesthetic medicine market really is now just “all about the money” rather than adhering to standards of delivery and safety that certain segments of the industry are striving for. (Links to other blogs discussing this).
If you have an opinion, why not let us know in our survey, or write a comment below.