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Practitioner Spotlight: Dr Lauren Hamilton

Next up in the Glowday Practitioner Spotlight series is Dr Lauren of Victor and Garth. She was kind enough to chat to us about future trends within aesthetics, as well as treatments after pregnancy, and what patients are looking for in an aesthetic practitioner.

How did you get into aesthetics?

I had trained in surgery and did an aesthetics course about 6 years ago. I’d always had a real interest in facial surgery - and this was another way of enhancing people’s features in a non-surgical way. So, for me as a practitioner, it gave me more autonomy and allowed me to set up a clinic.

The great thing with this job is that no two days are the same, so it never gets boring. It really allows me to get to know my patients on a whole new level and build relationships. It's almost like seeing friends, no matter their age, ethnicity or gender.

One of the best things about it is when you've done the treatment and your patient sees themself in the mirror - when you know you've given them that self-confidence they were missing. It's so nice to see.

Do you have any advice for anyone getting started in aesthetics?

Make sure you do your research with regard to the different training courses out there. Look at who they’re accredited with and what the syllabus and training pathways entail. There may be another course that’s more cost effective out there. Also, read reviews from past delegates and models!

Aesthetic medicine is not for those who just want to make money quickly - you have to be really invested in it in terms of your time, your skills and your patients. You've got to have the right ethos. There are a lot of people who do have that - and I think that’s why this specialty is so successful right now.

Another tip would be to join different organisations where you can ask for help and feel part of a community, as it can be quite lonely. Get to know what’s out there in terms of support quite early in your career. You’ve got to remember that you are continually learning and the best way to keep up-to-date would be to read journals and attend conferences. The field is constantly evolving so, in order to progress, you need to be intrigued by new research, treatments and products.

What’s been your biggest challenge to this point in the aesthetics industry?

For many medical professionals, we're used to being part of the NHS and the way it’s set up, but when you go out and set up your own clinic, there's a lot of things you have to learn that you probably haven't previously been equipped with.

Starting your own business requires a totally different mindset; you will have to delve into unfamiliar territory from understanding how to manage your accounts as a limited company to creating marketing strategies. For me, it’s been really exciting to broaden my skillset and learn from other female founders who I work quite closely with, but I appreciate the business aspect is not for everyone.

Being comfortable setting prices and charging can also be difficult if you’ve come from an NHS background. I feel aesthetic treatments should result in the same outcome as treatments in the NHS - people ultimately want to feel better, so you need to treat patients the same as you would there. They are always your priority.

If a patient has recently had a baby, how long should she wait before getting injectable treatments?

For my patients, I say as long as you're comfortable and not breastfeeding or pregnant again, you can come back for treatments. People shouldn't really be judging mums for booking in for aesthetic treatments; it’s a personal choice. Equally, there's no pressure to come back after pregnancy because, obviously, your priorities change.

Skin can change for the better or worse with pregnancy. For some, they get that beautiful glow, whereas others experience dry skin. It’s important to steer clear of certain products like oral vitamin A during pregnancy though. This can be a bit of a shock if you’ve incorporated it into your skincare routine and seen the benefits.

What trends do you see ahead within aesthetics?

Quite a lot of people are now coming to me for skin booster treatments like Profhilo and Juvederm Volite. Many people are more concerned about their skin and how to tackle the root of the issue. Patients are now keen to invest in medical grade skincare routines as they can see the long-term benefit.

There’s also more of a drive for the natural look, as well as treatments that are accessible for all skin tones and more appreciation of the diversity of beauty.

Non-surgical body treatments, such as body contouring, muscle contouring or minimally invasive skin tightening are becoming more common. There’s increasing awareness of what one can do with the entire body rather than just the face.

What are clients looking for in an aesthetic practitioner?

Trust is essential. I think patients want someone who is genuinely there to help them and is invested in them and not just the money. From the moment a patient gets into contact with me, I think of our relationship as a journey and do my best to think of the experience they would want.

Skill is also key; patients expect you to be able to perform a treatment as well as you say you can. As well as being able to perform it safely, you also need to know the risks and limitations of a treatment and how to rectify a complication if it does occur. I've seen a lot of patients who find themselves unable to get back into contact with their practitioner, and it's just awful. If you’ve performed a treatment, you should be there to help if something goes wrong. Medical professionals would not ignore an issue and would seek help if it was beyond their remit. We have a duty of care to help people when needed, and building such a community can only be a good thing for practitioners and patients.

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