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Posted 10th Oct 2022

Why Injectables are Medical Treatments, not beauty

Why Injectables are Medical Treatments, not beauty

“Are cosmetic injectables a medical treatment or a beauty treatment?” – We put this controversial question to three of our most senior faculty members.

Dr Tristan Mehta, founder of Harley Academy and creator of the Level 7 in Injectables

Dr Emily Mehta, medical director of both Harley Academy and STORY clinics

Dr Kalpna Pindolia, aesthetics specialist and Harley Academy director of education.

As healthcare professionals, you’ll be unsurprised to hear that they all share the consensus: cosmetic injectables are medical treatments.

This is what they had to say about why and what you should consider when making your own decision...


“So I believe that aesthetic medicine is, of course, medical. I don’t think this is beauty,” says Dr Tristan.

“I think we’re overlapping with beauty but, for me, it’s all about the people at the end of our syringe – at the end of our treatment. And that’s patients. These are individuals looking for certain treatments, based on certain psychological and aesthetic presentations. It’s our job to piece that together, to form our own assessment and build a treatment plan in partnership with our patients – and that’s what we’re practising here.”

“I believe you can reduce what we’re doing to beauty. I think if you just simply have a transaction whereby you’re doing a certain injection off a menu for a certain price, then it can look a lot like a beauty treatment,” he notes.

“It’s our job, as a profession, to keep it within the medical sphere and to maintain our professional values as we ourselves in aesthetics.”


Correct doses for injecting botox to lift the brows

Dr Emily says, “Cosmetic injectables and the practice of aesthetics is without doubt medical. Whilst it’s easy to see how, on the surface, it may look like beauty treatments, reinforcing the medical aspects is so important to improving patients’ understanding of aesthetics.”

“As healthcare professionals working in aesthetic medicine we use prescription only medications and medical devices for each of our treatments,” she notes. “We are also answerable to medical ethics boards – something beauty practitioners are not.”

“Beauty treatments are not at all invasive, making them generally safer than even the most superficial of injectables,” she cautions. “They also don’t carry the same medical requirements as cosmetic injectables. Aesthetics practitioners need a sound anatomical knowledge, must be able to competently carry out thorough facial and psychological assessments and manage any potential complications – and that’s without even considering the injecting aspect!”

Dr Emily continues, “Considering aesthetic medicine treatments to be ‘beauty’ is a viewpoint that is fairly unique to the UK. For example, in North America botox and filler treatments are widely considered to be part of the plastic surgery remit. The UK’s current lack of aesthetics regulation does not help in this regard and is one of the reasons that many of us in the industry are constantly looking to raise standards for injectables training and patient safety.”

“The more regulated the aesthetic medicine sector becomes, the more seriously patients may take it. With this, hopefully the ‘medical’ aspect and seriousness with which cosmetic injectables should be approached, should become more apparent,” she concludes.


Dr Kalpna Pindolia Harley Academy director of education

“When determining whether or not cosmetic injectables are medical or beauty treatments, I consider the following factors,” advises Dr Kal.

1. “Whether you choose to treat patients for beautification or older patients for more restorative work, you’re working with an anatomically complex face. You’re also dealing with a psychological narrative… so is it really just beauty?”

2. “Cosmetic injectables are a ‘want’ rather than a ‘need’. You can treat who you wish, so your practice is what you want it to be. For example, the majority of my patients are over 30 and are having restorative aesthetic treatments, rather than ‘beautification’ only.”

3. “To keep patients safe, surely aesthetics is medical due to the, although minimally, invasive work, potential complications management required and protection that patients gain from our accountability to our professional regulatory bodies.

4. Many other countries consider non surgical aesthetic treatments to be medical. Hence the popularity of terms including “aesthetic medicine” and “medical aesthetics”.

5. There are a number of ‘medical’ aspects to practising cosmetic injectables. These include…

  • Patient consultations
  • Examination and diagnoses to inform management plans
  • Anatomy: the facial appearance is the end result of multiple components of fat, ligaments, bone and muscle. Understanding blood vessel anatomy is critical for all aesthetics practitioners
  • Treatment planning using holistic approaches
  • Product selection and injecting techniques
  • Psychological assessment
  • Complications prevention and management
  • Ethical treatments.


Lip Filler Training Courses Medical Aesthetics Foundation

If you’re a doctor, dentist or nurse looking to start a new phase of your medical career in aesthetic medicine, we can help.

Harley Academy is the UK’s leading provider of postgraduate aesthetic medicine training courses. We have 10 times as many graduates as any other aesthetics training centre and our students never share patients.

Whether you’re a complete beginner in injectables or are a more experienced injector looking to formalise your experience with a respected and regulated aesthetics qualification, you’ll find options to suit.

Check out our range of aesthetic medicine courses here on our website, or book in a call with our courses advisor. They’ll listen to what you’re looking for and recommend your best options for becoming #HarleyTrained!

All information correct at the time of publication.

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