I recently spoke with Sue Lumley, aesthetic nurse at Manchester Aesthetics, and she was kind enough to fill me in on what she loves most about working in aesthetics, her biggest client transformation, and what needs to change within the industry. Sue, who’s a registered nurse, is a born carer, and has been working within aesthetics for the past 10 years.
Practitioner Spotlight: Sue Lumley
Hi Sue! What’s your favourite aesthetic treatment do you love doing?
I really love PRP; it’s just so clever, and can be used in so many ways. But I don't have one particular favourite treatment. For me, it really comes down to sitting with a client, finding out their problem areas and then finding the right treatment - or treatments - for them. Watching them look in the mirror afterwards and seeing them smile, or even cry, with happiness - that’s what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if it’s a single anti-wrinkle injection, a bit of filler or a whole face of filler, it gives me satisfaction to see a client’s well-being, self-esteem and confidence grow.
What do you love most about being an aesthetic practitioner?
It's knowing that you're making people feel better. It's so easy - especially as a woman - to feel very down on yourself, particularly with the influence of social media. There are mirrors everywhere and images of 'perfect people' - but at Manchester Aesthetics, our motto is ‘Be your own kind of beautiful’, because ‘perfect’ really does not exist. We make people feel better about themselves, and we like to watch people grow and become more confident.
We are a little bit like counsellors too, and we sit and listen to people. People often think this isn't a type of nursing, but it is. Making people feel better is a huge part of it, and what we do can help improve mental health.
What’s the biggest transformation you’ve seen in one client?
There are so many examples, but the one that stands out the most is an older lady who came to me a few years ago, after her husband’s death. She was very down and had stopped looking after herself for a while, so she wanted to start looking better again. She came in and we arranged a treatment plan. She had a little bit of filler, a little bit of Botox, some threads and skin treatments, and she now looks 10 years younger than she did when she first came in. The transformation is clear, not just on the outside, but in her self-esteem too.
What aesthetic treatment could you not live without?
I’m in need of some botulinum toxin at the moment, but I can live without Botox. I cannot live without fillers though. A few years ago, I lost a lot of weight, so I had a lot of volume loss. And I’m in my 50s now, so I also have volume loss from ageing.
I have temple fillers, cheek fillers, jawline fillers, marionette fillers and lip fillers. A little bit of everything. I’m 51 years old and I’d look strange if I didn't have a single line on my face, so I always try to stay looking natural. I do also love a microneedling session for boosting collagen, but I can’t live without filler.
What has changed since you started working in aesthetics?
I think that what people are having done has changed, but I also think that the way we are doing things has changed too. When I first started, if someone came to us with a line, what we did was fill the line, but we now look at it from a more holistic view. So we don’t just fill the line; we actually look at what is causing it.
I also think people’s awareness has changed as well. Some young people now relate aesthetics to going for a spray tan rather than a medical treatment, which is not good. I would blame the increase in a younger audience attracted to aesthetic treatments on things like Instagram. We get a lot of people coming in with pictures of celebrities, saying things like “I want Kylie Jenner’s lips”, but I have to explain to them that those are Kylie Jenner’s lips, not theirs, and that theirs will never look exactly the same. I tend to refuse a younger audience or anyone who seems to have body dysmorphia. It’s all about education and making sure they understand the consequences and costs.
What’s the future of aesthetic treatments?
I think that someone has really got to sit up now and take notice of the lack of regulation in the industry. There are so many petitions going into parliament, so they need to take notice and start protecting people.
There are so many websites selling counterfeit products, and, as a consequence, there are lots of people out there who are injecting their own faces or those of others without any knowledge or proper training, which is really scary. So this needs to stop, and medics also need to stop prescribing for non-medics. We need to make sure that people are properly trained and can fix issues if they come up. After all, this is people’s faces we’re injecting, and that carries many risks if treatments are not performed properly, or if complications are not managed.
If you're a medically qualified practitioner and would like to be featured in the Glowday Practitioner Spotlight series, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram @victoria.glowday