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Education on the Aesthetics Industry: Part One

The first instalment in our Aesthetics Education series of blogs, designed to help educate the public and potential clients, and maintain high standards of professional practice within the aesthetics industry.

by Charlotte


The aesthetics industry is booming, at times it feels like all we need to do is merely think about an aesthetics treatment and before we know it every advertisement that flashes up on our phones is informing us of where we can get the best deals in town.


Whilst on the surface this might seem like great news for potential clients looking to preserve the youthful appearance of their skin, the scary truth is that the rapid rise in the number of salons and clinics offering injectable cosmetic treatments is driven by the fact that aesthetics training has never been more easily accessible, and worryingly not all training is created equal in the beauty industry.


Here at Evoke we pride ourselves on our professionalism in everything we do, so we’re writing this blog as an educational post to share our knowledge and help clear up some of the myths that are frequently misinterpreted as truths in this mind-boggling industry.


Where to start?! Perhaps the most important things for a potential client to consider when choosing an aesthetics practitioner, are the level of knowledge and skill that a practitioner possesses, and the quality of the products that they use. We’ll come back to the acquisition of knowledge and skill in a separate blog, but for now let’s concentrate on products…


Did you know that the toxins used in many aesthetic procedures are prescription only medications? (This is frequently abbreviated to POM.) POMs cannot legally be sold or supplied without a prescription from an appropriately qualified healthcare professional. This is not to say that a healthcare professional must be the one to administer the medication, in the case of the toxins in question, administration of the POM requires subcutaneous or intramuscular injection, and there are many skilled injectors out there who are not from a healthcare background. However, what it does mean is that for a practitioner to acquire that medication legally, a healthcare professional has to have generated a patient specific prescription, and the POM then needs to be obtained from a licenced pharmacy, and only used to treat the client for whom it was intended, i.e., whose name was on the prescription.


Seems simple enough, right? Unfortunately, not! Many of the aesthetics training providers around currently offer their delegates “exclusive” opportunities to bypass the prescription process and purchase POMs directly from themselves, often at significantly cheaper prices than those offered by legitimate and registered pharmacies. The practitioners can obviously then pass on those savings to clients and thus, the too-good-to-be-true aesthetics procedure is born!


Admittedly, we all love a bargain, especially with the cost-of-living crisis, and the added stress of the economic uncertainty we are currently living through makes that little treat to ourselves even more desirable. So, what is the harm of bypassing the prescription and pharmacy to save a few quid? Truthfully, we literally don’t know. What we do know is that it is not possible for anyone other than doctors, dentists, and licenced pharmacies to purchase POMs as stock, either for personal use or for resale. In simple terms this means that anyone claiming to sell POMs who is not a doctor, a dentist, or a pharmacy, is either selling genuine products that they have somehow managed to acquire for a fraction of the price the manufacturer supplies them at (unlikely, let’s face it!) or they are selling non-genuine products and passing them off as the real thing… Terrifyingly, very likely.


For medications to be licenced in the UK they need to go through a lengthy development process, pass lab testing and clinical trials, then adhere to rigorous safety controls when they eventually reach mass production. Every POM is identifiable by batch with a lot number, and as long as the correct processes are followed an end user can trace their medication right back to the production line it came off of; a process designed to create a sense of accountability amongst professionals, and ultimately keep people safe. It probably goes without saying that imitations of genuine products are not regulated in any way, and going back to what we mentioned above, could quite literally contain anything, thus we don’t really know what the risks could be, because we can’t even be sure what’s in the products, where they came from, or what safety controls (if any) they have endured.


It’s quite probable that if you’ve read this far, you’re just as horrified by all of this as we are, and rightly so, but being appropriately informed about the risks of any procedure is all part of ensuring that potential clients have all the information necessary - both the good and the bad - to make an informed decision. In addition to being armed with this knowledge, there additional steps those seeking treatments can take to ensure that the products their practitioner uses are genuine…


If you’re reading this as a potential client looking for a reputable salon or clinic to provide your next treatment using a POM, here is a checklist you can use as a guide to help ensure that the products your provider uses are the real deal:

  • * Your practitioner is either a prescriber themselves or is able to offer you a consultation with a prescribing healthcare professional prior to your treatment.
  • * Your practitioner is open and honest about where their POMs come from and ideally, can prove that they have been obtained from a registered pharmacy.
  • * Your practitioner is happy to show you the unopened product prior to the procedure taking place, and then opens and prepares the medication in front of you.
  • * Your practitioner is able to provide you with the patient information leaflet that comes inside all POMs, and is happy for you to keep this if you want it.


If your practitioner is unable or happy to fulfil any one of the actions in the list above, it is definitely worth asking why, and seriously considering whether you are still happy for them to carry out your treatment.


It’s not all doom and gloom, there are many reputable practitioners out there and we hope that after reading this blog, anyone on the hunt for an aesthetics treatment is now better equipped to find the right practitioner for them!


If you found this blog useful then keep a look out for our next blog in the Aesthetics Education series, which will take a more in depth look at the myriad of options currently available for those wishing to train in aesthetics, and the loopholes that enable pretty much anyone who fancies having a go at it, to become “qualified” in the profession.



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