When learning how to administer dermal fillers to patients, you generally learn how to treat male and female patients. But what about treating non-binary filler patients?
Your classic, learned feminisation and masculinisation approaches to treatment can be useful when treating transgender patients. However, non-binary – or gender neutral – patients may require a different approach.
As with any other client, each non-binary patient will have their own specific look. This may lean more feminine, masculine or androgynous – looking neither obviously male nor female. It may include a mix of each look. For example, creating a traditionally masculine square jawline paired with fuller, more feminine lips.
There is no one way to be gender neutral and there is no “right” or “wrong” combination that you should use as a guide. Often it is not a directly requested goal, and may be implied with the patient’s ideas and expectations from treatment. Women may want sharpened angles rather than softening of features; men may request the opposite. This mixes the constructs of traditional male confidence and feminine vulnerability, moving towards a gender neutral presentation.
We firmly believe the best way to treat any patient is as an individual. However, there are certain knowledge touchpoints that may help you when treating non-binary filler patients…
Expert advice for treating gender neutral filler patients
We consulted Dr Jaymi Lad for advice on how to provide the most inclusive atmosphere and effective treatments for your gender non-conforming patients. Based in Manchester, she’s an aesthetics specialist, co-owner of Javivo Clinic and a clinical trainer at Harley Academy. She was also nominated for a Safety in Beauty award for offering an outstanding customer experience.
How do you consult non-binary patients who have a gender neutral presentation?
“Non-binary can be an umbrella term to describe people who identify with a gender outside of the binary . As such, it’s useful to discuss what non-binary genders or terms they feel best describe them. This information might help with your treatment plan,” advises Dr Jaymi.
“A clear discussion about treatment goals is really important, as you don’t want to make any assumptions. I would use gender-inclusive language but essentially my consultation would otherwise follow the same format as it would for any other patient; checking medical and aesthetic history then completing a facial assessment.”
How do you adjust your treatments and injecting techniques to meet your patient’s goals?
When it comes to providing the right aesthetic balance and meeting your patient’s expectations, Dr Jaymi recommends, “As an aesthetics practitioner, you need to clearly understand how your injecting techniques should differ to achieve masculinisation and feminisation. Be really clear on the goals you are trying to achieve with your patient from the start.”
“There’s a picture from an online article where researchers studied traditionally male and female features on a spectrum, using computer generated images. This could be useful to show your patient when discussing expectations and outcomes. You want to know if their treatment expectations are to be feminised, masculinised or somewhere in the middle (androgynous),” she counsels.
Are there any treatments you would advise against when treating non-binary patients?
Dr Jaymi directs, “Always treat within your competency. If you do not feel confident that you can meet their expectations, refer them onward to a more experienced practitioner.”
This is extremely wise advice and a great example of how refusing treatment can be a valuable professional skill. Remember, if you are not comfortable in treating a patient and having them – and you – be delighted with the outcome, it’s best to say no.
Reasons not to treat are myriad and, in these situations, include:
• Not being confident that you can achieve the look a patient wants.
• The patient looking for an aesthetic you do not wish to be known for, for example overfilled cheeks or lips.
Building your confidence as a well-rounded injector
Remember: a poor patient outcome or experience is far worse for you than not treating them in the first place. Your reputation is precious and hard to rebuild once damaged. Avoid these issues by centering yourself in ethical, safe, patient-first practice approached with knowledge and empathy. Doing so means refusing patients occasionally – and that’s ok.
However, if the reason you are turning down patients is due to gaps in your skillset or a lack of confidence as an injector, this can be easily remedied.
Try to treat as many different people as you can whilst completing your aesthetic training. Mentored injecting sessions are incredibly powerful learning experiences, especially when you encounter patients with concerns you haven’t treated before. Use these to your best advantage by treating a vast array of individuals from varying backgrounds under expert supervision. Don’t forget to ask your mentors all the questions, too!
Look to perform toxin and dermal filler treatments in as many different areas on as many different types of patients as possible. We recommend that this includes a breadth of age ranges, races, skin types and genders.
The more treatments you get under your belt whilst training, the better equipped – and more confident – you’ll be when going out into the ‘real world’. Future you – the aesthetics specialist, known for their well-rounded approach – will thank you for putting in the extra effort now!