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Should I See a Cosmetic Doctor?

Thinking of getting a chemical peel? How about dermal fillers or botulinum toxin? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, there’s a high chance that you’d still say no if you were offered these treatments by your hairdresser, beauty therapist or tattoo artist. Or would you?

Due to the regulations surrounding non-surgical cosmetic procedures, unfortunately the line between who should and who shouldn’t be carrying them out is incredibly blurry. You certainly don’t have to look hard to find people offering discounted or package treatments, even some from the ‘comfort’ of your own home. But what’s the difference between these guys and the professionals? Anyone can call themselves a ‘cosmetic’ or ‘aesthetic’ practitioner.

Know the Terms

Cosmetic dermatology – a subspecialty in the field of dermatology, an area of medicine that specialises in the treatment of the hair, skin and nails. Unlike medical and surgical dermatology, which concentrate on the treatment of disease with medication or surgery, cosmetic dermatologists treat these areas of the body in order to improve the way they look.

Dermatologists must be on the specialist register, which can be checked at www.gmc-uk.org. However, there is no specialist (GMC) register for those dermatologists who practice cosmetic medicine.

Cosmetic doctor/physician – not a recognised title but describes the practitioner as a qualified doctor who specialises in cosmetic medicine.

Cosmetic/aesthetic nurse – a registered nurse who specialises in cosmetic medicine

Prescribing pharmacist – These are different from dispensing pharmacists. The government has recently approved prescribing pharmacists as appropriate providers of prescription medications. They may work independently and are regulated to do so by their professional body.

Cosmetic practitioner without ‘nurse’, ‘doctor’, ’physician’ or ‘dentist’ in the title – this term could be applied to anyone, with any background, who offers non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

It is not against the law for anyone to administer these treatments, but unless they are doctors, nurses, dentists or prescribing pharmacists, they must do so under the direct supervision of an appropriate provider.

Use the Registers

You are able to verify whether your provider is qualified to offer these treatments by checking the professional (statutory) registers.

  • NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) for nurses. NB. Not all nurses are qualified to prescribe and the prescribing qualification is noted on their registration.
  • GMC (General medical Council) for doctors and surgeons
  • GDC (General Dental Council) for dentists
  • General Pharmaceutical Council (GphC) for prescribing pharmacists

Why does it matter who provides my treatment?

Qualified and experienced cosmetic doctors as described above, bring a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience to underpin the training they receive which is specific to non-surgical cosmetic procedures. They are accountable to their statutory body to comply with professional codes of conduct and they alone have access to reputable suppliers of genuine products and educational events.

Don’t take chances – use qualified cosmetic doctor.