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Posted 3rd Sep 2021

Aesthetics Marketing: Refusing Treatment

Refusing Treatment Aesthetics Marketing Advice

The final instalment of our 10 Tips for Marketing Your Aesthetics Practice is all about refusing treatment. 

Yes, we promise this is still about marketing!

Knowing when not to treat a patient is a critical skill for aesthetics practitioners as it has so many potential ramifications. Here we explore the key considerations when deciding if a patient is suitable for treatment, when refusing treatment is the best option and how these decisions affect your reputation as an injector.


Refusing Treatment Aesthetics Marketing Advice

There are many reasons for refusing treatment to potential aesthetics patients. Those that tend to be most widely discussed involve medical, ethical or moral considerations.

Unsuitable for treatment due to anatomical or physiological reasons (includes where aesthetic treatments are unlikely to have any meaningful positive effect).

Psychologically unsuitable for treatment (includes reasons such as suspected Body Dysmorphic Disorder).

There are a number of other reasons that seem to be less talked about. Yet these are problems aesthetics practitioners come up against on a regular basis – especially when first starting out.

Whilst these reasons for refusing to treat a patient may involve a hint of the categories outlined above, they certainly centre on a need to protect yourself and your reputation. So, let’s look at a few of the scenarios where refusing treatment is an aesthetics marketing power move...

A patient requests a look you are not comfortable with

From duck lips to pillow face, aesthetics trends are still going hard on the overfilled look. Whether it’s lips, cheeks or chin filler – or anywhere else – if the patient is asking for a look you are uncomfortable performing, politely decline treatment.

Every patient’s face is a page in your portfolio, a walking billboard for your skills and services. Why would you advertise something you don’t agree with or simply don’t want to become known for?

There is an unrealistic expectation of results

When a patient has an unreasonable expectation of results, you will not be able to make them happy. A red flag to look for here is whether they have a history of regularly changing injectors due to not achieving the results they want.

If you cannot give them the results they are picturing, you risk damage to your reputation. This could come in the form of bad online reviews or via word of mouth, both of which can be extremely problematic for a new small business. It could also escalate to legal action – whether warranted or not – so the safest thing here is to refuse treatment.

The patient has a big event coming up and wants to look their best

Weddings, birthday parties, receiving an award – we all want to look our best for the big occasions. It’s likely you’ll have people enquiring about injectable treatments in order to shine for these milestones.

First off, check the time frame. Is there sufficient time for your patient to recover from potential issues such as bruising? If the treatment goes wrong, is there enough time to correct it? If there is not enough lead time, say no.

Again, it comes back to managing their expectations. If you aren’t confident you can deliver the results they want to the timeline they need, explain the situation to them. Demonstrate your medical training, your thorough complications knowledge and your ethical stance by talking them through why it is not a good idea for them to have treatment so close to a big event.

This honest approach marks you out as knowledgeable and trustworthy. Also, by not taking their money for this particular treatment, you may gain their respect and a loyal client who refers others to you.

You are asked to treat a famous or well-known person

For some, being a celebrity aesthetics doctor is the dream. For others, it can be a nightmare.

One thing to take into consideration before agreeing to treat anyone in the public eye is how important their appearance is to them and their brand.

Are they constantly filmed or photographed? Do they have public appearances coming up that may coincide with issues such as swelling or bruising following treatment? Will they be able to travel to a clinic or do they expect you to perform treatments in a hotel room, for example. Are they likely to come under criticism or public scrutiny for any work they have done? And are you prepared for how this may reflect on you?

Your decision to treat should largely rest on the standard patient consultation and medical criteria. However, if there is anything about the scenario that doesn’t sit comfortably with you, it’s worthwhile refusing treatment.


For further reading on this subject, we highly recommend reading the insightful article by our director of education and filler specialist, Dr Kalpna Pindolia: Dealing With Difficult Patients.

Remember: your reputation is everything as an injector. It takes years to build and is the most powerful aesthetics marketing tool you have; yet with the wrong decision, it can be gone in a second.

We’ve said it before but, as a medical professional, your intuition is likely to be highly developed. Learn to trust your gut and go with those instincts.

That and always putting the patient’s safety and best interests first – even when they appear not to – will stand you in good stead for success throughout your aesthetics career.

This article concludes our aesthetics marketing advice series, we hope you’ve picked up some useful tips along the way and do let us know how you get on if you put any into practice!

Leave us feedback on our exclusive student platform, the Harley Academy Comma, or over on our Instagram account.

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