The Vampire Facial has grown hugely in popularity since Kim Kardashian’s 2013 grisly photo of herself midway through treatment, with over 232 thousand mentions on Instagram and 37.6 million views on TikTok. The treatment combines microneedling with platelet-rich plasma derived from the clients’ own blood; and it’s been claimed that the procedure can give a youthful appearance that rivals that created by injectables like Botox or filler.
How Is The Treatment Performed?
Step One – The Blood Draw: The blood is usually drawn from the arm, then placed into a centrifuge and spun to separate the red blood cells and the platelet-poor plasma from the Platelet-Rich Plasma.
Step Two – Facial Cleansing and Numbing: The clients’ face is cleansed and a numbing cream is applied to lessen the pain from the microneedling process.
Step Three – Preparation: The Platelet-Rich Plasma is drawn into a needleless syringe for ease of applying small quantities to the clients’ skin during the facial, and the microneedling device is prepared for use.
Step Four – The Facial: The Platelet-Rich Plasma is smoothed onto sections of the face, followed by the microneedling device. The microneedles push the plasma deep into the epidermis, alongside creating tiny controlled injuries to the epidermis that trigger skin healing and stimulates collagen production.
Downtime From the Vampire Facial
Although the Vampire Facial is ‘non-invasive’, this isn’t necessarily a treatment that clients can fit into their lunch break. It can cause swelling and redness for up to twelve hours following the procedure due to the microneedling process, so clients may prefer to make this an after-work treat.
Results From the Treatment
There isn’t a massive body of research on Vampire Facials. Still, practitioners and clients have reported that after a course of three treatments; the appearance of fine lines, acne scarring and skin roughness are much improved. The results from a course of Vampire Facials should last a client up to 12 months.
Risks of the Vampire Facial
Microneedling alone presents some risk to clients. Bacterial infections can occur if the skin or the machine is not cleansed properly. Clients with darker skin tones are also at risk of Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH), which leaves darker patches of skin in the treated areas.
When blood is added to the microneedling procedure; other, scarier risks come into play. Two clients at a New Mexico salon in the USA contracted HIV after having Vampire Facials, potentially as a result of cross-contamination. Although this may be an isolated case, it is still something that clients should be aware of before undergoing the treatment.
At MATA, we see non-ablative laser treatment as a safe alternative to the Vampire Facial, improving the appearance of fine lines, scarring and skin texture without breaking the skin or requiring blood handling. To register your interest in our newly restructured Laser and Light qualifications, please complete this webform.
Is the Vampire Facial Here to Stay?
Although the Vampire Facial may have become popular due to a celebrity endorsement, almost ten years on it is still a favourite; available in clinics across the UK and the world. As such, it would seem like the procedure is here to stay. As always, we recommend that clients are made fully aware of the risks and rewards of the treatment. In the case of this particular treatment, we’d also recommend that the procedure takes place in a suitable setting and is carried out by a practitioner with experience in the safe handling of blood products.
In a world filled with filters, Facetune and PhotoShop; it’s becoming more and more likely that clients may visit your clinic with unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved with Botox and dermal fillers. As a responsible aesthetic practitioner, you have a duty to ensure your patients understand whether the results they have in mind are possible and to adjust this to a more realistic level if needed. It can be difficult to know how to accomplish this, so to help, here are MATA’s top five tips for managing client expectations in aesthetics.
1. Maintain An Honesty Policy
Although of course having a book filled with clients is an admirable goal, there is no substitute for having and keeping a reputation of safe, responsible aesthetics practice. If a client comes to you with an impossible request, then be confident in your ability to tell your client exactly what you as a practitioner can achieve with aesthetic injectables, and refrain from overselling what you or the product can do. Even the best practitioner has limits, and it will only benefit your clinic to make sure your clients understand this.
2. Have a Real Conversation with Your Clients
Although consent forms are a legal necessity for your clinic, they should never take the place of a real conversation with your clients which covers the risks and rewards of their chosen aesthetic treatment. This conversation will not only allow you to identify any unrealistic expectations and manage them appropriately, but will also ensure that your clients commit to the procedure from a fully informed position.
3. Make Use of Visual Aids
It’s likely that you already have a stock of before and after photos from your existing clients to allow you to provide treatment continuity. If you have the necessary permissions to use these images for business purposes, then these before and after shots can give prospective clients a real look at the changes that are possible with aesthetic injectables.
Having a Lookbook of before and after images covering a variety of treatments will also help illustrate that some looks take time and multiple visits to accomplish. Clients may visit you with the expectation that lips can go from thin to Jenner-style voluptuous in a single treatment. Being able to show them that this isn’t possible, with reference to real cases, will often make your client far more receptive to building a treatment plan with you.
4. Be Aware of Apps, Influencers and Advertisers
With the rise of apps that allow the face and body to be heavily filtered and reshaped, even in video; influencers and advertisers have been in the spotlight for promoting looks that are unrealistic or even physically impossible. Maintaining a professional awareness of image-editing apps, the effects they can create, and even having a bank of unedited vs edited images available, can all help you manage client expectations in your aesthetics practice.
5. Feel Comfortable Saying No
It’s inevitable that during your career in aesthetics, some clients will simply not listen to your advice regarding treatment. Although it may be tempting to carry out the procedure; when the results inevitably don’t match expectations, these clients can and will cause problems for your business. In the end, it is far better to let these clients go than to lose your reputation as an aesthetics practitioner.
Despite the overwhelming rise in popularity of aesthetic injectables, legislation and regulation of the aesthetics industry has not kept pace. This has led to botched dermal filler treatments going viral on social media and to a growing demand from practitioners and the media for greater government oversight of aesthetic injectables practice. In 2019, an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing was formed and in July 2021 they published their concluding report. This featured a number of recommendations for legislative action and regulatory oversight, including a call to reclassify dermal filler as a prescription-only medication.
Current Dermal Filler Classification
At the moment, Botulinum Neurotoxin is a prescription-only medication, only available from a trained prescriber after a face-to-face consultation with clients to ensure treatment suitability. In contrast, Dermal Fillers are currently classed as a medical device and are freely available for purchase and use by non-medics, with no need for a prescriber to assess clients beforehand.
This lack of medical oversight is a point of concern not only the APPG, but for voluntary bodies within the aesthetics industry including the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners and the British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology; who have highlighted that “risks of fillers are significant and arguably even greater than those posed by botulinum”.
These risks have been on full display across the media over recent years. Leah Morton, a 26 year old woman from Liverpool, was left at risk of losing her nose after a practitioner caused and then failed to recognise a vascular occlusion during a non-surgical rhinoplasty. Dr Tijion Esho, an experienced aesthetic practitioner and medical professional, shared a clip that showed him treating lip cysts caused by superficial filler placement. Meiska Mamajeski, a 53 year old woman from Leeds was blinded in one eye when her practitioner injected directly into her eye rather than the skin around the eye in 2015.
Dermal fillers must be performed under the oversight of a prescriber who has gained the accredited qualifications to prescribe, supervise and provide remedial medicines if necessary.All-Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing
The APPG has recommended that dermal filler be reclassified from Medical Device to a Prescription Only Medication, with the view that this would “remove a significant danger to the general public.” It would make it necessary for all dermal filler providers to ensure that their clients are seen and assessed by a medical prescriber before treatment, helping to ensure that clients are suitable for treatment and that medication such as hyaluronidase can be quickly accessed should the procedure go wrong. This would allow for rapid treatment of vascular occlusions, should the practitioner have the skill to recognise and treat this complication.
MATA was established with the aim of standardising training in aesthetic injectables within the UK Aesthetics Industry, and as such we welcome greater legislation and regulation. Making dermal fillers prescription-only would be a positive step in the direction of establishing a properly monitored aesthetics industry.
Still, we must highlight that medical and aesthetic professionals have been seeking greater oversight of aesthetic injectables for years. Sir Bruce Keogh noted in his 2013 report that “dermal fillers are a crisis waiting to happen” and suggested that they be made prescription-only; yet almost a decade later, fillers are still freely available and the aesthetic industry is still under-regulated.
It remains to be seen whether the UK Government will work with the MHRA and Manufacturers to reclassify dermal fillers as prescription only. For now, we will continue to train our delegates to a high standard in both the theory and practice of aesthetic injectables through our Level 7 Diploma in Facial Aesthetics, ensuring that they enter practice with the skills they need to recognise and manage complications. We are also committed to supporting the activity of voluntary bodies in the aesthetics industry in their work to regulate and monitor our industry.
BBC 3’s recent documentary, “Under the Skin: The Botched Beauty Business” has highlighted the dangers of the unregulated aesthetics industry. Over 30 minutes, the host meets clients who have suffered poor treatment by poorly trained practitioners, and investigates Training Academies which provide inadequate tuition in aesthetic procedures.
At MATA, we are all too aware of these circumstances. We were founded with the goal of improving standards in the aesthetics industry, and originated the Level 7 Post Graduate Diploma in Facial Aesthetics. This is regulated by OFQUAL, accredited by the JCCP and provides the highest industry standard in aesthetic injectable education.
Benefits of MATA’s Level 7 Diploma
Our Level 7 Diploma takes nine months to complete and is only open to medical professionals, making it a far cry from the one-day courses or even virtual courses which have sprung up across the UK. Through extensive e-learning and written assessments alongside a minimum of six practical training days, we ensure that our delegates enter the aesthetic industry with the education and practical training you need to provide long-lasting, safe aesthetic treatments that are centred around the needs of the patient.
We provide 150 hours of online learning, designed to deepen and develop your understanding of the theory behind aesthetics practice. This will be cemented by written assessments that ensure you have full knowledge of risks in aesthetics practice, the literature and research within aesthetics, and that you are able to take a client from consultation to treatment, and to aftercare and follow-up.
Our practical training days are overseen by an expert practitioner with a minimum of three years experience in the aesthetics industry, in addition to their studies and experience as a medical professional. Furthermore, our training days are conducted in groups of no more than six, to ensure that you have the support you need as you carry out treatments.
In addition to online and practical learning, as a MATA delegate you will have access to an exclusive online community which will allow you to share best practice, receive the latest industry news, and to network with your fellow delegates.
If you have taken a one-day course and feel that there are gaps in your practice or understanding of aesthetic injectables, contact us today to discuss beginning your Level 7 Training Journey with MATA.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where an individual spends a large amount of time worrying about problems with their appearance that are often completely unnoticeable to others. Anyone of any age can have BDD, however it is most common in teenagers and young adults. Approximately 80% of individuals with BDD experience lifetime suicidal ideation and 24% to 28% have attempted suicide.
In a clinical aesthetics setting, the population of patients with BDD can reach up to 53%. Given this, it is highly important that aesthetics professionals have both a sound understanding of the disorder and a plan of how best to manage clients who show signs of BDD.
Symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body Dysmorphic Disorder features a range of symptoms with which aesthetics professionals should become familiar. Individuals with BDD may:
- Be extremely preoccupied with a perceived flaw in appearance that to others cannot be seen or appears very minor
- Strongly believe they have a defect in their appearance that makes them ugly
- Believe that others take special notice of their looks in a negative way
- Engage frequently in behaviors aimed at fixing or hiding the perceived flaw that are difficult to control, such as checking mirrors, skin picking, and adjusting clothing or hair.
- Attempt to hide perceived flaws with clothes and make-up
- Constantly compare their appearance to others
- Frequently seek reassurance about their appearance
- Have perfectionist tendencies
- Avoid social situations where they could feel their flaws are ‘exposed’
- Seek aesthetic procedures with little satisfaction
Treating Clients with Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Although as aesthetic practitioners and medical professionals we must respect the patient’s choice to seek aesthetic treatment, we also have to bear in mind that providing treatment to clients with BDD can actually make their condition worse. It is highly likely that they will see the results of the treatment you provide as unsatisfactory, even if the procedure and outcome all went perfectly, and will seek repeated treatment and ‘fixes’ for flaws that only they can see. Even if the client is happy with the outcome of their treatment, this will only give them temporary relief before fixating on another perceived flaw. Aesthetic treatments cannot help the underlying psychological issues that perpetuate a clients’ body dysmorphia.
Screening for Body Dysmorphic Disorder in Your Aesthetics Practice
There are a number of Body Dysmorphic Disorder screening questionnaires available that you should incorporate into your consultation practice, for example the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Questionnaire (BDDQ) and the Dysmorphic Concern Questionnaire (DCQ). The Aesthetic Journal highlighted the following questions as a helpful starting point for screening your patients:
- Are you worried about how you look? (Yes/No);
if you are, do you think about your appearance problems a lot and wish you could think about them less? (Yes/No)
- How much time per day, on average, do you spend thinking about how you look?
(a) Less than 1 hour a day.
(b) 1-3 hours a day.
(c) More than three hours a day.
- Is your main concern with how you look that you aren’t thin enough or that you might become too fat? (Yes/No)
(a) How has this problem with how you look affected your life?
(b) Has it often upset you a lot? (Yes/No)
(c) Has it often gotten in the way of doing things with friends, your family, or dating? (Yes/No)
(d) Has it caused you any problems with work or study? (Yes/No)
- Are there things you avoid because of how you look? (Yes/No)
The Aesthetic Journal notes that as practitioners, you should suspect BDD if the patient answers yes to Question 1; (b) or (c) to Question 2; yes to any part of Question 3 and yes to Question 4.
What Should Aesthetic Practitioners Do If They Believe a Client Has Body Dysmorphic Disorder?
The key question is whether you as a practitioner believe that the client has complete capacity to choose aesthetic treatment. If following screening you do not feel comfortable providing treatments for a client, then follow your instinct and say no; explaining your thoughts regarding the possibility of BDD to the client and their treatment options if you feel it is appropriate to do so. The client may seek out another provider, but in our opinion, choosing not to treat a client you suspect may have Body Dysmorphic Disorder can only help to preserve your reputation as a responsible aesthetics practitioner.
With so many companies offering training in aesthetic injectables, it can be difficult to know who to choose. At MATA, we believe our Harley Street-developed practical aesthetics training gives delegates the best possible start in the aesthetics industry for the following five reasons:
1. We Provide Real Models
We provide live model patients who have been pre-assessed to ensure their suitability for treatments. We believe that this gives delegates the best opportunity for a wide breadth of learning; as all clients will vary in their treatment needs, their skin and anatomy, and even their pain thresholds and comfort levels during the Botox or dermal filler procedure.
2. We’ve created a Worthwhile Curriculum
Our curriculum has been developed from our home at No.1 Harley Street by a team of medical professionals led by a plastic surgeon with over two decades of experience in the field, and we have worked to ensure that our hands-on training allows delegates to perfect their technique in the most popular Botox and dermal fillers treatments in the UK, which will only enhance their success on entering the aesthetics industry.
3. Our Courses Are Delivered By Experts
MATA’s trainers have all worked in the aesthetics industry for at least three years and have extensive training and qualifications; with many owning and operating their own aesthetic clinics in addition to training for MATA. This level of expertise allows them to deliver incredible hands-on training for our delegates.
4. Our Class Sizes Are Small
At MATA, we will not register any more than six delegates on a course. This ensures that every delegate is able to both practice and observe Botox and dermal filler treatments; alongside having the opportunity to meaningfully network with fellow attendees.
5. We Only Accept Medical Professionals
Although current regulations in the UK allow anyone to study towards and carry out aesthetic injectable procedures; at MATA we only accept medical professionals onto our courses. This is because we believe that only medical professionals, with their wealth of clinical experience and years of education in anatomy, vasculature, musculature, medications and contraindications have the appropriate skills to provide aesthetic injectable treatments and handle any emergencies that could occur. This selectiveness in admission is beneficial for our delegates, as all will operate at similar levels of skill which will allow classes to progress at a speed comfortable for all attendees.
Join a MATA Training Course
Whether you’re new to aesthetics or have experience in providing Botox and dermal filler treatments; MATA will have a course to suit you. Our Level 7 Diploma in Facial Aesthetics is perfect for beginners, taking delegates to the level of advanced practitioners over the course of nine months. For experienced practitioners who currently hold a training certificate, then our Masterclasses are an ideal way to enhance and perfect your technique in particular treatment areas. Why not get in touch today and begin your training journey with MATA.
At MATA, we pride ourselves on providing plastic-surgeon led aesthetic injectable training that focuses on patient safety. We only accept doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, pharmacists and paramedics onto our courses, as we believe that only those working as medical professionals have the underlying education and skills needed to be able to work safely in the aesthetics industry.
This belief has been proven by a story shared by the Consultant Clinic over the course of the last week. A client had attended an unnamed Liverpool-based beautician for non-surgical rhinoplasty, and suffered a vascular occlusion which wasn’t detected until four days after the initial injections. The client had had a full 1ml of filler injected, far above the recommended volume for this type of procedure.
On attending the Consultant Clinic, their medically trained staff immediately administered hyaluronidase to dissolve the filler, however the client had to be taken to Accident and Emergency as the tissue in the nose was showing signs of necrosis. The Consultant Clinic team pushed for treatment, and the hospital placed the client in a Hyperbaric Chamber to hopefully prevent the loss of her nose. As of yet, it’s unknown what the longer-term implications will be for this poor young woman – she may still lose part of her nose, she will likely have scarring, and it’s only thanks to the actions of the medical professionals at the Consultant Clinic that the situation wasn’t worse.
A Need for Greater Industry Legislation and Regulation
These circumstances highlight the need for greater legislation and regulation in the aesthetics industry. A study by Save Face showed that in 2018, 46% of botched filler treatments that required repair had been carried out by beauticians. Medical professionals have the opportunity to gain a huge amount of experience in a clinical setting, not to mention years of education in anatomy, vasculature, musculature, medication, contraindications and clinical practice. Non-medical aesthetic practitioners simply cannot match this level of expertise. Given that mistakes made with dermal fillers can cause tissue necrosis, blindness, and even death; it is our opinion that only medical professionals should be administering aesthetic injectables, to prevent risk to clients.
MATA was launched with the intention of improving training within the aesthetic industry, and we will support measures to make a safer, more regulated industry a reality. In the meantime, we will continue to provide patient-centred training to medical professional; ensuring our delegates leave us with the advanced injecting skills that will prevent severe complications, and the confidence to manage any emergency that may arise.