Next up in the Glowday Practitioner Spotlight series is Dr Ciara Abbott of Barstable Medical Clinic, who talks to us about the joys of working in a family-run business, and her thoughts on why aesthetics is such a growing industry.
Hi Dr Ciara! What’s the story behind Barstable Medical Clinic?
My mum is a nurse, and was one of the first people to get Botox about 20 years ago. She used to come back with so many bruises, and one day she came back and said, “You know what, I could do this, and I could do it better.” She did all the relevant training about 15 years ago, and set up the clinic. She’s a powerful feminist and is really into trailblazing for women. She feels that aesthetic treatments should be an empowering thing for women, not something to hide behind. It’s something that makes so many people feel good.
My sister and I are both doctors and it was a natural choice for us as hands on, practical and surgically-minded medics to become involved in aesthetics. We’ve now been in the industry for about 10 years and together have helped grow the clinic to what it is today.
We are a family business, and we work really well together. We do everything ‘in house’ from booking appointments to handling admin queries and giving advice over the phone, right through to performing a wide range of aesthetic treatments. For us, it’s about providing natural treatments that make people feel better about themselves and boost their confidence and self esteem.
My mum is a powerful feminist and is really into trailblazing for women. She feels that aesthetic treatments should be an empowering thing for women, not something to hide behind. It’s something that makes so many people feel good.
What’s your ethos as an aesthetic practitioner?
Our ethos is 100% natural. The majority of men and women who come for treatments just want to look fresher and brighter, and a bit younger. We steer away from trends and treat each individual person in a unique and bespoke way. This is the only way to achieve natural results and it takes years of experience. You can’t make everyone’s face the same. It’s not ‘one injection fits all’. For us, it’s about being a perfect version of yourself. We know there’s a line and we don’t cross that line, even if that means we have to turn people away.
My sister and I are perfect examples of people who have lots of aesthetic treatments done ourselves but still look natural. It’s all about looking at what an individual actually needs to see what will make them the best possible version of themselves.
Our ethos is 100% natural. The majority of men and women who come for treatments just want to look fresher and brighter, and a bit younger.
What’s your favourite aesthetic treatment to perform?
I absolutely love tear trough filler. It’s not the sort of treatment you can give to everyone - it can make some people look worse. For example, if they have a lot of skin laxity or bags in the under eye area, its just not going to work. But on the right patient it's incredible, so patient selection is key. The outcome can be so dramatic from using just one ml of filler that I’ve had some patients almost cry when they look in the mirror afterwards because they look so amazing. Using a cannula for this, there’s very little downtime too, which is great!
What’s your favourite treatment to have done?
Profhilo! I love it! After I have it done, people always tell me I look so fresh. I have so many people asking me if I’ve changed my makeup when I’m not even wearing any, or asking if I’m pregnant because my skin is glowing so much! I have it every three months without fail.
It does hurt a bit but the sting only lasts for about 20 seconds, and the whole procedure only lasts about 5 minutes. The results far outweigh the pain.
Why is aesthetics such a growing industry?
You see so many celebrities now who look so good and, thanks to social media, people want to emulate that look. We’re living so much longer now, and, as a result, we want to look younger for longer.
Treatments are so accessible nowadays. In the past, only rich people or celebrities had them, so it’s great that they’re available to everyone now - as long as they’re performed by someone who is adequately trained.
It's also great to see now that a lot of men also want to look better, and age well, which is a really positive thing. We treat loads of men in our clinic, and it’s not just a certain type of man. We see all men from young rugby playing lads to more mature city types; I even treat a cage fighter!
The UK is one of a very few number of countries that still allows non medically trained people to administer aesthetics treatments and this needs to change to ensure patient safety and wellbeing.
I think the aesthetics industry will continue to expand because there’s so much research being done now and so many powerful pharmaceutical companies that are really driving research into products. I think we can expect to see some incredible advancements in products over the coming years. It will also be interesting to see where technology and machinery take us.
I also think we’ll see a lot more products for men, and a lot more variations on Profhilo, as it’s so outstanding. The big question is always around regulation. Since COVID-19, it seems that there’s been a huge push for practitioners who have a medical background. I’d love to see tighter regulations, because I have seen so many patients who have been to me after seeing a non medical injector, and I’ve had to ‘fix’ them. The UK is one of a very few number of countries that still allows non medically trained people to administer aesthetics treatments and this needs to change to ensure patient safety and wellbeing.