Aesthetic doctor’s dos and don’ts of cosmetic treatments

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Once stigmatised, cosmetic procedures have soared in popularity in recent years, sparking booming demand for injectables and dermal fillers among South Africans seeking to enhance their looks. But there are a few key do’s and don’ts to be aware of if you want to achieve the best-looking results, states aesthetic expert Dr Reza.

Owner of the Anti-Aging Art medical aesthetic and holistic wellness centre in Johannesburg, Dr Reza notes that in parallel to the growing popularity of cosmetic treatments, he has also seen an uptick in patients seeking to fix issues with their fillers and injectables.

“Aesthetic medicine is really a blend of art and science, and it takes time, knowledge, and skill to become a specialist in the area much like any other field of medicine. Many patients have approached doctors who don’t specialise in the field. Then, when they are dissatisfied with their results, they realise that they should be more discriminating and rather consult professionals who have specialised in aesthetics and practice it full-time,” he says.

“Ultimately, the practice of aesthetic medicine is about much more than getting dermal fillers or botulinum toxin injected to reshape your appearance. The end goal is to look and feel healthier and more beautiful, not to distort your facial features, look artificial or show that you have obviously had cosmetic work done.”

When asked about the do’s and don’ts of cosmetic treatments and fillers, he immediately emphasises that patients should take a gradual approach and avoid supposed “quick fixes”.

“Don’t look for drastic transformations – the best results come from consistent, gradual changes. To maintain a pleasing and natural appearance, treatments should target different layers of the skin over time.”

As a result, he has trademarked the concept of Timeless EleganceTM to educate consumers on the ideal focus and outcome of aesthetic medicine.

“To explain the Timeless Elegance philosophy, consider buildings that were constructed in the 1970s or 1980s. You can immediately tell that they were built in line with the fashions of the day, where today they appear quite dated. But, like classical architecture, the Timeless Elegance approach focuses on slowly optimising your looks for a timeless result that will always be attractive.”

For example, the old-fashioned approach to injectables involved injecting large volumes of filler into the lips, cheekbones, or even eyebrows, creating the unnatural, overinflated “doll lips” or “fox eyes” looks that could be created with make-up instead.

Meanwhile, in accordance with the Timeless EleganceTM approach, Dr Reza notes that most patients require a maximum of one to two-millilitre fillers for a more subtle, sophisticated result. Patients can then consider additional treatments aimed at improving their skin texture and stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies, redermalisation, and chemical peels.

Additionally, while it is illegal for non-medical practitioners to treat patients with dermal fillers or injectables in South Africa, not all countries are as discriminating, he warns.

“Do not consult someone who is not a medical professional for injectables simply to save money. The first risk is that the product may be counterfeit or a grey import, which could lead to a major infection or permanent damage.

“And second, the person who is injecting you needs to understand the science behind the filler, how it interacts with the tissue, the possible side effects, and how to manage these effectively. By simply injecting the wrong way, an untrained professional could cause stroke, blindness, or a range of other serious consequences,” he concludes.

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