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No more Before/ After photos - is it truly a loss?

In the wake of the TGA regulations around cosmetic medicine, there continues to be a lot of fear around what this will mean.

Most injectors to date have relied heavily on being able to show before/ after photos, often of a single treatment area, “before” and “after” treatment with an S4 (prescription) medication.

For example?

  • A before photo of someone frowning hard and an after photo of that person no longer able to frown. No guesses as to which class of drug is responsible for this; there is only one. 🤫
  • A before photo of someone with thin lips at rest (ie not smiling) and an after photo of that person with plump, juicy swollen lips. Again, no guesses as to which class of drug is responsible for this. 🫤

Many pages on social media are full of these images, and these injectors’ selling point, is that they treat with the drug in question for those who want similar results.

The problem with this from the TGA’s point of view?

  • it’s seen as incentivising
  • it’s advertising a prescription medication
  • stating prices, specials and packages often gets people to act on impulse and walk in to “buy” the treatment on sale as if it is an order for a burger.
  • these advertisements often trivialise the fact that these are medical procedures, risks may be low but not zero and not everyone is suitable for it.
  • these adverts may lure vulnerable people in who may have body dysmorphic disorder, unrealistic expectations and encourage injector hopping.
  • advertising typically acts on people’s emotions and desire to act now to avoid missing out, and advertisers will typically put forward their best results, rather than average results and minimise poor results.

So what is the solution now Before/ After photos are no longer permitted?

With this easy means to generate revenue curtailed the TGA is likely hoping to return to a more medical model for medical procedures, often by very inexperienced people. More and more people are studying nursing who have no interest in nursing except to inject. Similarly many doctors post the mandatory year of internship, are opting to bypass speciality training to set up as aesthetic injectors.

These people have the bare minimum knowledge of what it means to be a doctor or a nurse, much less to begin to know the ethics of medicine, and thus are at risk of falling into the retail model of providing medical services which goes against every code of medical conduct.

In the absence of photos, how are you  to choose a provider?

When we put the medicine back into medical aesthetics, we go back to basics, which should have been in place already.

How do you choose a plastic surgeon, most of whom don’t advertise their work online through before/ after photos?

How do you choose an orthodontist, most of whom don’t advertise their results? Or any type of doctor, dentist or provider?

We do it through some means:

  • word of mouth referral by friends and family who’ve seen that provider understanding someone who’s right for them may not be right for you.
  • reviews on third party sites such as Google (though may providers incentivise these eg “leave us a 5 ⭐️ review and go into the draw for X worth $300”)
  • stalk their social media pages for a while (usually months) ; observe how they work; observe their ethos, and their own face to get an idea of whether their outlook aligns with your own aesthetics and goals.

Then….make an appointment.

Go in with an open mind.

Spend the time in consultation deciding:

  • do you feel comfortable with them?
  • do you feel safe with them?
  • do you feel they get you, understand your concerns?
  • do you feel confident they can help you?
  • do you feel you can develop a longterm relationship with them?
  • are you a fit for what they need from you, in terms of the timeframe, cost and appointments needed?
  • we are still able to show before/ after photos of results in consultation with you; do the results appeal to you, and is each result optimised to the person being treated? Ie do they still look like themselves, or does everyone look the same after treatment?

If you’re an ethnic person, it’s important to look also for representation of your ethnicity, or other ethnic types in the work, so you can see that the person who’ll be treating you, understands how to treat different faces and isn’t simply following trends and fads.

Ok…I’ve attended the consultation and am ready to start. Now what?

At Skin Essentials, our Full Face Aesthetics appointments are moving to an “expression of interest” form format for those who are keen to explore this.

Why is this?

  • it’s a significant investment of time and money.
  • we have limited appointment slots for those who are ready to begin so spots are prioritised for those who are ready to begin on the day if appropriate.
  • having an EOI form is an extra step for those who are ready and serious; Dr Joshi vets them prior to taking payment for the consultation. We don’t want to waste your money or our time together if you’re not ready.
  • once we have your filled out EOI form, we’ll be in touch to advise on next steps including the ballpark time and monetary commitment and to offer you an appointment and take payment so we can begin the process.

Still keen? Get in touch with us to get the ball rolling! We look forward to meeting you soon!


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Suite 9, 42 Bigge St Liverpool 2170
02 97348845
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