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Planning for 2023 - What skin goals link to success?

In December each year, historically, my children and I plan some time off during the summer school holidays during which we reconnect.

For me, as someone who is (mostly) super organised, it is an annual tradition to plan my upcoming goals and aims for the year ahead in 4 domains:

- personal
- familial
- professional
- business

Personal is obviously a huge category, emcompassing my personal and spiritual goals; health and fitness goals; skin and aesthetic goals, relational goals and more.

So while I am behind on this goal setting for 2023, I find it soothing to have a plan, and a way to track my progress and to keep me accountable.

With this in mind, I thought I'd share my top tips for helping you with your skin and aesthetic goals if you're not usually a planner and what I've seen work, time and time again, for my most successful patients over the years. 

After all, as a Specialist GP with niche training and interests across several areas, including mental health, I find great joy and satisfaction in helping people who want to do better, simplify so they can see the results they say they want to see while holding them accountable; after all, as the saying goes, what is not measured, cannot be improved. 

One of my longstanding patients said to me today, when times have been lean for her, she's prioritised the things that have given her the biggest bang for her limited buck so she could save for the more expensive things when things weren't as lean.

1. That is why at Skin Essentials, we focus so much on the initial consultation to understand your goals and aims, but also to give you a realistic picture of what we need from you to help you attain those goals, and over what timeframe.

2. It is why we hold you accountable to booked appointments, and will ask you if you are truly in the right frame of mind to invest in yourself if you regularly reschedule or cancel. In our experience we know this will not yield best results and the token late fee really does not pay our overheads. 

3. Without trust there can be nothing - so the initial and subsequent consultations are designed to help determine fit - it has to be a two-way street, without which we cannot proceed. My patients I know, can see that I would never suggest anything that is not in their best interest, no matter how much money they have to spend on it. Equally, I don't work to your budget. I tell you what you need to budget, and you decide if you will find the money and how. 

4. Lastly, realistic expectations are everything.

So what are some realistic expectations I discuss with you and which we must align on if we are to work together? 

  • I cannot help with significant lift - that is the job of a plastic surgeon. I can help with everything else - tone, texture, volume loss, even some tightening, but not lifting. 
  • I cannot be oncall for you between appointments. This does not apply to emergencies obviously, in the first 24-48 hours when we touch base with you regularly if a treatment is new to you or you are new to us. Thereafter we do expect that if you have pressing concerns you will make an appointment online via video call or face to face to have your concerns addressed or make a note of it to discuss it at your next appointment - this especially applies to concerns to do with skin, skincare and changes which take months, not weeks to begin to show. 
  • there is a mandatory wait period post injectables such as anti wrinkle and fillers, before which we will reassess you to address unevenness, lumps and bumps and more. There is a sound reason for this, and as I always say, medical aesthetics is for the patient patient. 
  • Most medical aesthetics is entirely discretionary spending so it is important to me that you understand what your initial upfront cost will be, and also that you are prepared to budget and to commit so as not to waste your money and our time together. Equally, while we all have things come up occasionally, we also know that frequent cancellations and rescheduling of appointments will mean that you will end up with subpar results. As someone who prides herself on ethical care based in accountability, this is frustrating for me especially when significant sums of money and time are involved. 

So as we round out 2022, the patients who've made the most progress and had the most gains have managed to: 

  • stay on track
  • communicate their changed goals if this applies, especially in view of current inflation and rising costs 
  • remain compliant with at-home care, no matter how simple it is
  • remain on schedule with all booked appointments
  • remained patient with outcomes, understanding and accepting that it will take a minimum of 3 months, and often as long as 6 to 9 months to really begin to see progress
  • communicated disappointment if I've said something to upset them, and likewise taken feedback on board when they've likewise because we have understood that boundaries help us stay in the therapeutic relationship. 

So my advice with respect to goals, for my patients in 2023, if we are to continue working together to improve your skin, are: 

  1. Simplify your skincare, with expert help if needed and then stick to it.
  • you don't need much, but the basics will make a massive difference OVER TIME and with diligence.
  • once you know what that looks like for you, stick to it especially if you have sensitive or problem skin. 

     2. Less is more

  • the media is constantly trying to sell you lots of STUFF
  • everyone has an opinion on what will make your skin woes go away, yesterday.
  • stop, ignore and press pause.
  • if you have skin problems, you need help from someone qualified to advise and often the first step is to pare back to basics, and add from there. 

    3.  It need not be fancy or expensive to give you results, just formulated well. 

  • if you can't budget for the fancy or expensive stuff yet, don't skimp on the basics.
  • spend on the things that will give you the most bang for your buck till your circumstances improve.
  • my most successful patients maintain the basics even when life causes them to drop away for 6, 12 or 18 months till they are ready to return. That way we aren't starting from scratch, but  building on an established foundation. 

    4. Longterm planning is key to avoid looking odd, weird or overfilled. 

  • find someone who will map out the next few years for your skin and face, and work with them. (It does not have to be me)
  • as long as there is trust, there should be the ability to respect and observe boundaries, even if you occasionally disagree.
  • your clinician should always have your best interests at heart.
  • I make my intention clear early on
    • there is no point beginning if you are likely to bail because it gets uncomfortable;
    • my view is, for best results, we need a combination approach that involves skin, injectables (including fillers to replace volume) and then maintenance of the results with collagen induction techniques. That is the trifecta, but we can work around it with 1 or 2 of them; it just  won't yield as good results. 

    5. Lastly the basics are THE most important part that are non negotiable 

  • daily sun avoidance;
  • eating mostly well;
  • sleeping enough;
  • exercising;
  • taking care of your mental health and...
  • for me, gratitude has been a lifesaver many years in a row, when it all seemed very bleak. 

So there you have it! Not sexy, not trending, but classic, tried and true tips that work. Medical aesthetics is for the patient patient; the calm patient who understands that skin takes time and the patient with realistic expectations. 

You may pay tens of thousands of dollars for plastic surgery in one hit but still have to wait weeks to months to see final results. In non surgical and minimally invasive surgery, there is usually minimal downtime, and costs can be spread out over months, but it still relies on you showing up, and being patient. There is no other way. 

What are your skin goals for 2023? Reply to this email and tell us! 

Thank you for your support in 2022, it's been wonderful meeting many of you as new-to-us patients this year, we hope we have met and even exceeded your expectations and given you a glimpse of what ethical medical aesthetics can look like. Stay safe, be sunsmart, always and we look forward to continuing to serve you and to work with you in 2023. 

See you next year, from me and my team at Skin Essentials. 

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