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Dr Michael Aicken, from Visage Aesthetics, is in the Treatment Chair

In the last three years aesthetics has made headlines for the wrong reasons. Rather than it’s positive impact on our lives we hear way too often about bogus practitioners offering cut price treatments.

Something I state over and over in this blog is to do your research regardless of your procedure. Ensure you choose the right practitioner with the credentials and experience you need.

Recently it has been enforced that only medical professionals with training can conduct aesthetic treatments. But in my experience you must remember that someone who is qualified is not necessarily skilled. Aesthetics takes more than the ability to carry out a medical procedure it takes an eye for detail, an understanding of face, the patients requirements and a passion for the industry.

This month, I am starting a series of blog posts interviewing some of the top professionals in the

industry, who I have received treatment from and can personally vouch for. I start with Dr Michael Aicken from Visage Aesthetics.

Welcome Mike, thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

Tell me about yourself, your qualifications and how you got into the aesthetics industry?

Hi Gina, thanks for having me on your blog. My name is Dr Michael Aicken. I’ve been an Aesthetic Doctor now for 10 years and for 8 years of that I have been training others in the use of Botox and Dermal Fillers. Along the way, I have also spent time as a trainee cardiac surgeon and also time working In Emergency Medicine and I am now also part-time GP.

Wow, a cardiac surgeon! Sounds impressive and exciting, what made you want to enter the world of aesthetics?

I didn’t plan to get into Aesthetics - a friend asked me to work with him back in 2007 as he had just setup a ‘Botox’ business in Belfast. It was something that I thought only happened in America - my only knowledge of Botox being what I had seen from watching ‘Nip-Tuck’ when I was a medical student.

My business partner then moved to Australia and I inherited the business as a whole. With the rise in demand for treatments I realised that the first thing I needed was more practitioners, and good ones! I figured it would be more efficient to train medical professionals myself and to my standards. Now, 10 years on I regularly fly to London with my wife Ruth (clinic coordinator) to train others on a highly organised, extensive and heavily endorsed course.

You have been in the business 10 years plus and have built your practice from a clinic to a academy, so you must be rather fond of aesthetics, is that so?

Mastering dermal filler and realising that I can confidently affect a subtle but definite improvement in someone’s appearance instantly - that is what makes me passionate about aesthetics.

Of all the professional hats I wear injecting filler is till my favourite job. Patients see the instant results and I love to share the knowledge I have. Some of the best results I’ve been getting recently have been with Tear Troughs - and I think this treatment will continue to become more and more popular in 2017.

I also enjoy being there to clean up other people’s mistakes - it doesn’t pay well, but it is satisfying to dissolve lumps and advise on other practitioners’ complications once in a while, and help people see a resolution.

That is s good point Mike. Often patients who have no experience of injectable treatments do not what to expect and assume that things like lumps, non-symmetry and so on, are all usual side effects. You not only educate the medical professionals but you can educate the patients as well on best practice and what they should expect.

The last treatment I had with you was for cheek augmentation, Botox to my crows feet, oh and some lip filler (why not!) You used a new filler on me and I have been very impressed, can you tell me more about it?

Yes! I used our very own brand, Dermal Revolution. It is a filler used for marionette lines, nasolabial folds and cheek augmentation. It can also be used for nose-hump correction. I use a different filler for finer parts of the face like the lips, usually Restylane, Emervel or Belotero. My Botox of choice is the original by Allergan. There are cheaper alternatives on the market but I highly recommend the original.

I choose my brands of injectable products based on two factors; firstly the effectiveness of the product (does it do the job? how long does it last? is it easy to handle?),

I also take an interest in moral and ethical side of the industry.

For example, Allergan does not use the cruel methods of animal testing and that is a major bonus over other brands, especially cheaper Botox alternatives.

So Dermal Revolution is your own creation?

Yes, but it is not just a filler.

I worked hard to create a product that worked well for practitioners and patients. I designed the syringe with a specific needle size and length which will give the best results and assist the practitioner. We have seen positive feedback on the design of the product. As for the actual filler, it does not contain Lidocaine, a numbing drug. Many filler brands on the market include unnecessary added ingredients. Our filler contains pure hyaluronic acid, a substance found naturally throughout our bodies in skin and in our joints. We have seen that a more pure product minus the lidocaine has resulted in better and longer lasting lift in patients’ folds and areas of volume loss.

Some people who are nervous of injections will prefer lidocaine in the injectable but if results are better in the long term it sounds like a good compromise?

Our patients do not have to worry about that at all. We always administer numbing cream before any procedure. It’s less invasive and wears off quicker than other methods of numbing.

So what is in store for the Visage team?

We want to expand and fulfil our vision of Dermal Revolution. The idea is to develop it into a ‘club’ more than a brand. It will be seen as a trusted source of information and support for practitioners. Along with this we want to streamline the patient recordings and provide better customer service. In all this helps independent clinics and we work hand in hand.

Visage Aesthetics is based in Belfast, Mike does regular London based clinics throughout the year. See more about Mike and the team here.

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