Cosmetic Treatments Information Guide


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There are many reasons why people turn to cosmetic treatments, the non-surgical alternative to cosmetic surgery.  In today’s society it is becoming more accepted that people have cosmetic or aesthetic treatments, almost making them part of everyday life.

Cosmetic treatments are not the same as cosmetic surgery and the term includes all treatments that are non-surgical and non-invasive.  Some of these treatments might be the applications of creams, lasers or certain chemicals, and others may involve injections to enhance certain features.  However, the point of cosmetic treatment is that it isn’t as invasive as surgery, and won’t involve general anaesthetics and scalpels.  This is often very appealing to certain individuals, be it due to the financial commitment or the risks that surgery can often pose. 

Cosmetic treatments can change the appearance of your face and body quite dramatically. However, cosmetic treatments are often not permanent, lasting in general around a few months and will need to be re-done in order to create a long-lasting effect.  This is something to seriously consider before having a treatment, as sometimes over the years the cost of having continuous treatments might add up. 

Where can you have Cosmetic Treatment?

Due to the non-surgical nature of cosmetic treatments they can be performed in many different settings, such as day-spas, health centres, Facialss or specialist aesthetic clinics.  These can be accessed very easily, often high streets will feature some form of cosmetic clinic.  There are likely to be many places near to you where you can have some form of cosmetic treatment.

Regulation of Cosmetic Treatment

The regulation of places that offer cosmetic/beauty treatments has been widely disputed, and for certain procedures there are specific guidelines and regulations that clinics or centres need to adhere to. 

Certain cosmetic treatments involve the use of laser and intense pulse light application and any clinic which offers these services have to be registered with the Care Quality Commission, and will have ordered inspections by this body.

Other forms of cosmetic treatments will have their own regulatory needs regarding the clinic supplying them and the professional administering them.  Clinicians tend to hold certain qualifications and training experience. There are still many treatments that are not subject to these rules however, and in these instances it is wise to do your homework before having a treatment.   

Clinician/Therapist Qualifications

Each cosmetic treatment is different with regards to who can apply it.  Some, for instance Botox, needs to be practised by a registered doctor, dentist or nurse.  Many other treatments, like face peels, do not need to be carried out by an individual from the medical profession, and instead can be performed by a fully trained beauty therapist instead.  There are no checks on this, however, so it is up to you to ask about the therapist’s relevant training and experience before having the treatment.    

Asking questions about the treatment and about the beauty centre should not be uncomfortable. If anything they will wish to put you at ease and prove their experience to you before you have a treatment.  Ask about their training, their facilities and registration if this is necessary for the treatment that you are having. 

What to do before Cosmetic Treatment

Before having any form of cosmetic treatment it is vital that you ensure that the reputation of the clinic that you have chosen is good, that they hold any relevant qualifications and that they have all of the equipment necessary.  It would be a good idea to ensure that you know:

  • Who will be performing the treatment
  • How long the treatment is meant to last
  • What the treatment will cost
  • What the other treatments could be for your problem
  • What pre and post treatment actions will need to be taken
  • What to do if the treatment is not what was expected

Cosmetic Treatment Expectations

It is very important to discuss your expectations of your treatment with the person who will be performing it.  You need to be realistic about what can be achieved with non-surgical methods, and be open to other techniques that might be more appropriate for you than the treatment you have chosen.  Some fairly dramatic results can be achieved with cosmetic treatments so long as the right treatment is used, the person performing the treatment is properly trained or qualified and you follow the instructions given by your specialist before and after the treatment.

Results & Side Effects

Cosmetic treatments do not tend to be permanent, and as a result you are likely to require multiple treatments in order to maintain your new appearance or to continue to fight the signs of ageing.  Most treatments will have a lasting effect for around six to eight months, although this does depend on the treatment and can be longer or shorter for different individuals. 

The result of your cosmetic treatment will be enhanced by using a properly trained specialist who, when necessary, is registered with the Care Quality Commission.  By using the correct specialist you seriously reduce the risk of any unwanted side effects from occurring. 

There is always some form of risk involved when having a treatment, which involves foreign materials being injected into your body or the use of man-made substances to enhance your skin or appearance.  Some of the side effects can include sagging of the skin, bobbles under the skin, sore and painful areas to touch, infections or allergic reactions.  Most of the side-effects of the treatments will dissipate within a few days/weeks, however some, such as infection, might need further treatment to help you to combat them.  The risks of any procedure that you have will be discussed with you before the treatment so that you are properly aware of what can happen and how best to deal with it. 

Types of Cosmetic Treatment:

Bio Skin Jetting

This is a procedure used to help smooth out wrinkles. A probe is used to agitate the skin cells within the wrinkle to then produce more collagen.  This collagen subsequently pushes out the wrinkle helping it to appear less defined than before.  Bio skin jetting can be carried out by a trained beauty therapist, and each session will last around an hour.  The result may not be seen for a few days after the treatment, however soon after you ought to notice a smoother appearance to your face. Depending on the individual several treatments may be needed to produce the desired effect, and the result will not be life-long.  More treatments will be necessary to continue with a more youthful appearance. 

Thermage

Thermage is a new treatment to help stimulate the collagen in the top two layers of skin using radiofrequencies.  The method cools the surface of the skin while the areas being treated are heated and targeted with radio-waves, so kick-starting the natural healing process of your skin, which includes the creation of more collagen, helping to plump out the skin and reduce signs of aging and can also help with fat breakdown and cellulite. Thermage is a relatively new treatment, and ought to only be used by those fully trained and qualified.  Due to the use of radiofrequencies your practitioner will need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission as will the clinic where thermage will be performed. 

Sculptra

You can get cosmetic treatments to help aid in the visible effects of acne, be it current or scarring, and often these are the same as those used to help reduce the effects of aging, such as wrinkle or fine lines.  Sculptra is a volumising method for the face, first developed to help reduce the appearance of scars.  It is now used often to help with the signs of aging such as sunken cheeks or deep lines as well as for scars and acne treatment.  Sculptra is an injectable fluid containing poly-l-lactic acid as well as other skin enhancing ingredients that help to plump out the face and smooth down wrinkles.  Clinicians trained in the use of sculptra can administer the injections, usually a course of 2 or 3 treatments that can have a lasting result for up to two years.  The effect is gradual, your skin and appearance will slowly change over a six-week period so the change is not too dramatic.

Aphrodite Gold

By placing a small gel insert underneath the wrinkle, Aphrodite gold smoothes out wrinkles or small lines and can also be used to plump up the lips or to reduce the appearance of scars especially those caused by acne.  A clinician who has had specific training has to perform the Aphrodite Gold treatment due to the complexity of the procedure.  The clinician will create channels underneath the winkle or line by slowly moving a needle back and forth along the line where the gel is to be inserted.  The gel is a mixture of materials including collagen, and will help to start your body’s healing processed, which in turn will plump out the area and reduce the wrinkle.  On average it will take around 2 or 3 months before this process is completed.

Unlike other filler techniques or wrinkle treatments Aphrodite gold generally only needs a couple of treatments to produce very long lasting results.

Botox/Botulinum Toxin (also known as Vistabel, Dysport and Neurobloc)

Botox is a well-known treatment for wrinkles and for other uses, such as to pronounce better certain facial features. Generally Botox is used for wrinkles within the top half of the face although can be used in conjunction with other treatments to target all wrinkles.  Botox works by altering the brains signals to certain muscles within the face.  Muscles that are targeted don’t move when you feel certain emotions, although this shouldn’t affect the way you appear, instead making your wrinkles seem smaller while you continue to express yourself as before, using the muscles untouched.  Results are not immediate, you may have to wait up to two weeks to see the full effect and the result ought to be the same for around 3 or 4 months.  After this time you can have repeated treatments to maintain the appearance it has given you.  Botox is applied through injection, and this has to be administered by a registered doctor, dentist or nurse due its nature.   There are risks to having Botox and these ought to be discussed with you before you have the treatment.  Sometimes the injections don’t have the desired effect on certain muscles, sometimes leading to drooping eyebrows or other unwanted side-effects. 

Myobloc

Myobloc is an alternative injection system to Botox and works in a very similar way, by affecting the brains messages to the nerves within certain areas.  The use of myobloc or Botox is very similar, and the preference depends upon the doctor administering it.  Myobloc does tend to be cheaper than Botox, but other than that the differences are very minimal. 

Collagen Lip Injection

Collagen is injected directly to the lips by a doctor in order to plump them out, making them appear bigger.  You will need to have a skin test in order to gauge your reaction to collagen, as a very small percentage of the population are allergic to the substance.  Generally a collagen lip injection will last around a year and a half, but will need additional treatments if you wish to make the results long-lasting as your body will eventually break up the additional collagen placed in the lips. 

Dermal Fillers

Fillers are used to slightly plump out the skin, placing a synthetic substance beneath it in order to lift it and smooth out creases.  This method can also be used to enhance features such as the lip, or to help reduces the aesthetic glare of some small areas of scar tissue.  The material used as a filler has to be in line with the Medical Devices Directive and it is generally acknowledged that medical professionals ought to administer fillers.  Types of fillers used include those with collagen or hyaluronic acids.  Collagen fillers will need to be skin tested before use.  Fillers are applied through the use of injections, which add small quantities of the filler underneath the skin.  The area is then massaged gently, sometimes you may have an anaesthetic gel or cream applied to the area before the injections are used.   Results from dermal fillers can usually be seen within a few days, but after treatment you will need to follow the advice of your beauty therapist and avoid alcohol, hot drinks and direct sunlight for 24 hours. The type of dermal filler that you choose will be discussed between you and your cosmetic treatment centre.  There are many available all with different qualities.  Some examples are:

  • Juvederm.  A gel like dermal filler which uses hyaluric acid in conjunction with a light anaesthetic called lidocaine to make the application very pain free.  Generally Juvederm is used for wrinkles around the mouth and nose.
  • Hydrafill.  This is a dermal filler made using hyaluric acid, a natural substance found within the skin that helps to improve the skins elasticity and general tone.
  • Restylane.  Usually used for wrinkles around the eyes or forehead, this filler also uses hyaluric acid and ought to be re-applied after around six months.

Which filler you decide on will depend on cost and relevance to you.  There is much information about fillers online, and your beauty practitioner ought to be very happy to discuss your options with you.

Electrolysis

Electrolysis is used as a hair removal alternative to shaving or waxing, and can help to permanently remove hair from unwanted areas on the body.  Your beauty technician will apply heat to the roots of the hairs, affecting their growth by disrupting the follicles.  Sometimes there will be some growth of hair in the treated area after electrolysis due to the hairs being inactive at the time of treatment.  Because of this often you will need a few sessions to ensure no re-growth.  It is essential that electrolysis is performed by a trained and experienced electrologist, the risks include scarring due to burning of the skin.

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Using lasers to remove the top layers of skin, laser skin resurfacing allows the skin underneath to grow without any scars, skin discolouration or other blemishes.  Typically this treatment is used for those looking to correct acne, birth marks and serious sun damage.  The following skin regime is very important and rigorous, and must be followed.  For six months after the treatment your skin will be pinker than normal, and you will need to cleanse and moisturise the skin up to 7 times a day.  The procedure takes around half an hour and can be painful, often a local anaesthetic is applied before it is started.  Laser Skin resurfacing is a serious treatment and you will need to think carefully about it before you decide to go ahead.  Only a fully trained and registered laser operator can perform laser skin resurfacing, and then only within the registered clinic. 

Light Rejuvenation

Light rejuvenation can be used to help reduce wrinkles and to even out any discoloured skin.  The technique uses lasers, pulsed light or light/heat applications to stimulate the middle layers of skin to produce more collagen in order to even out wrinkle or small lines.  Due to the use of specialist laser equipment only a qualified and registered laser technician can carry out light rejuvenation.  Scarring and blurred vision can be risks if the appropriate safety measures are not carried out, or if the therapist is not properly trained. 

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion can be applied in many different strengths, the one which will work best for you will be decided on through a consultation, as different skin tones and types will react differently to the severity of the treatment.  The method involves almost blasting the top layer of skin with a light covering of crystals that smooth down any rough areas, removes dead skin cells and helps to increase the amount of collagen that your skin is producing.  Often microdermabrasion will be conducted before any other light or laser skin treatments.  A fully trained operative must conduct the treatment, however who performs microdermabrasion depends on the severity of its use. For lighter cases a beauty technician can perform microdermabrasion, however for more intense treatments you will need a doctor or nurse.

Microsclerotherapy

This treatment is used to reduce the appearance of reddened veins, also known as ‘thread’ veins.  A sclerosing solution is injected into the vein, which immediately starts to affect the outer surface of the vein, triggering your body’s natural healing methods which then alter the colour of the vein. Only a doctor or nurse can administer the solution used in microsclerotherapy. 

Skin Peels

Skin peels are a way to even out the skin on your face, and can be modelled to suit you, either being very strong or quite weak.  Skin peels are typically used to even out skin tone, reduce marks made by acne or to counter the effects of aging.  Usually a skin peel will take anything up to 30 minutes, the length of the treatment depending on the intensity required.  Minor skin peels which affect only the top layer of skin can be performed by beauty therapists, although any peel which will affect the middle layers of skin or deeper will need to be administered and monitored by a doctor or nurse.  A very deep peel will need a surgeon present. 

Obagi Skin Peel

This is a skin peel using ‘Obagi’, a blue coloured cream that is applied to the face or area being treated.  Obagi or bluepeel can be used on other areas than just the face, and is a form of skin peel that can be manipulated to any skin type or problem. 

Treatments at Beauty Salons:

Massage

Massage is the active manipulation of muscles through the use of hands or other instruments helping you to relax and gain a sense of well-being.  There are many different forms of massage that you can opt to have, targeting different areas and for either stress or muscle relief. 

  • Oriental Massage
  • There are many different forms of oriental massage, and they can be utilised for many different problems.

    • Shiatsu.  Japanese massage involving the fingers, hands and thumbs only that focuses on the central autonomic system, the hands, feet and lower back. 
    • Tui Na.  Chinese massage meaning ‘push/pull’ that works on easing your aches and pains. 
    • Chakra.  Tibetan style massage typically used during yoga involving deep breathing and smells to help relax you.
    • Therapeutic Massage. Therapeutic massage can be sought for a variety of reasons but all for some form of healing, be is muscular or emotional.  Therapeutic massage can be tailor made to suit your needs, focusing on specific areas or certain forms of relaxation.  
  • Relaxation Massage
  • A lot of people seek massage for relaxation purposes, to help them de-stress and relax during hectic lifestyles.  Massages of this type can be used as a regular part of your life, and can help you with stress or life management.  Usually a relaxation massage will be a full body massage incorporating oils and scents to help you fully recharge and de-stress. 

  • Rehabilitative
  • Massage can be used to help you recover from injury, for example deep tissue massage.  If you have an injury you can have a sports massage or a deep tissue massage to help aid its healing, although usually these are performed by physiotherapists. 

Nail Care

Pedicure is a procedure that aims to improve the appearance of the feet and toe-nails by removing dead skin cells and shaping the nails to help prevent any fungal infections or disease.  Pedicures also incorporate some form of foot massage to help relax you, as well as to soften any hard skin. 

Problems a pedicure can help with:

  • Hard skin
  • Callouses
  • In-growing toenails
  • Small infections
  • Comfort when walking
  • Stress/Relaxation

A pedicure usually lasts around half an hour to an hour, and the cost will depend on factors such as where you are having the pedicure, who is performing the procedure, what oils and other massage tools they use and whether you are having your toenails painted as well.

A manicure is a feel-good treatment that can transform you hands and nails, removing dead skin cells and shaping the nails.  Typically a manicure will involve:

  • Bathing the hands in warm water, sometimes in oils or with added scents
  • Some massage to the hands to increase blood flow and promote health
  • Exfoliation and moisturising of the skin on your hands
  • Shaping and cleaning of the nails, often they are also varnished

Your manicurist will talk through what they are going to do before the procedure and will usually be able to tailor make your manicure to incorporate what you want.  Beauty therapists don’t need any special qualification to perform a manicure, however many will have had some training

Facials

There are so many different types of facials now offered by spas and beauty salons across the UK, they can use a variety of methods but basically speaking all serve to promote better skin around the face.  Facials help to treat any areas of bad skin and can often make your skin feel firmer. 

Aims of a Facial:

  • Exfoliate the skin to remove dead cells
  • Cleanse the pores to prevent spots
  • Improve certain areas of problematic skin so the texture is consistent
  • To moisturise the skin
  • To help you relax and leave feeling refreshed and full of energy

There are so many different forms of facial, and if you are unsure what your facial will involve it is always best to ask your beauty therapist for a precise overview before you have that facial. 

  • Mini facial.  This is a generalised facial method that involves all of the basic features of a facial and lasts around 30 minutes.  You will have your skin treated and maybe a small period of massage
  • Prescription facial.  This form of facial is tailor-made for your skin type, and will look to balance out your skin tone.  It is likely that you will have a previous consultation before this form of facial
  • Oxygen facial.  This is a normal facial but also involves blowing oxygen combined with other vitamins and minerals over your skin.  Collagen is one of the added nutrients, and can help to smooth out wrinkles and rejuvenate skin
  • Micro-current facial.  During your facial you will also have a small current of electrical energy applied to the skin to stimulate the muscles and to enable the skin to embrace the products being applied

There are no real risks to having a facial, but it is a good idea to let your therapist know if you are pregnant or have any allergies to products.  If you are unsure about a specific procedure it is also best to talk this through with your beauty consultant.

Body Treatments/Wraps

There are many different treatments that aim to help with skin or to tighten or tone your muscles.  You can be massaged across the body and have different oils or creams applied, be wrapped in specific body treatment substances such as clay or be placed in a specific substance such as treated water or algae.  People seek body treatments for many different reasons, to target specific areas for toning, to detox or for relaxation.

Body treatments are often quite expensive, and many different salons will offer different treatments at different costs.  It is up to you to find out exactly what the treatment entails. 

Hair Removal

In modern society hair is an unwanted by-product of evolution, and often women get fed up of removing hair through shaving or by other means at home.  Some beauty salons will offer hair removal services, be them waxing or electrolysis. 

  • Electrolysis.  Therapists are not beholden to join the Institute of Electrolysis but membership does prove relevant training, (NVQ level 3), as well as an entry examination.  Electrolysis involves the use of a small electric current to remove hairs and dissuade them from growing back.  Often more than one treatment is needed for permanent results. 
  • Waxing.  This is the most popular salon based hair removal method, and involves the use of a sticky wax substance applied to the hairs, which are then removed.  The process can be quite painful.
  • Bleaching.  Instead of hair removal this acts to lighten the colour of the hairs so that they appear less visible.

Tanning

Often beauty salons will offer some form of tanning method, although the products provided will vary across salons.

  • Sunbeds. Sunbeds are a popular way to expose your skin to some UV light in order to promote a darkening of the skin.  To have a sun-bed treatment you have to be over 18,
  • Spray tans. Often beauty salons will provide a spray tan facility, using either a hand held spray or a tanning booth to apply a substance that creates a browner pigment to your skin.  These are not permanent and only last a few weeks. 

Makeover

Beauty salons often provide make-up services, applying make up before a special event or to help you learn which tones and colours suit you and how best to apply the cosmetics.  


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