Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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AESTHETIC MEDICINE

Appearance matters

17 Oct 2018 | 12:47 AM

In today’s world of social media and YouTube, everyone wants to look good.

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Usha Albuquerque

In today’s world of social media and YouTube, everyone wants to look good. And why not — when there are so many ways and means to improve your looks, change what you don’t like, and enhance your best features. Cosmetology, or the art and science of making people look good is one of the oldest professions in the world. Cleopatra practiced it, so did the ancient Chinese. Even the Ayurveda makes mention of a variety of treatments for skin and hair.

In general, cosmetology involves the knowledge and use of a range of treatments, products and equipments to enhance the appearance of the face, body and hair. It involves lifting and toning skin, clearing wrinkles, acne, scars and pigmentation, removing unwanted facial/body hair, treating hair and scalp and so on. It also includes advising clients on grooming and make-up, care and maintenance of their hair, or dealing with skin complaints that do not require medical treatment. 

However, in addition to general cosmetology which  deals with beauty in a non-surgical manner there is also Medical Cosmetology where doctors specialise in treatments that correct or restore any part of the human body through medical intervention and surgery. Skin problems like acne, wrinkles, pigmentation etc, requiring medical expertise and treatments like botox and fillers are performed by medical cosmetologists. 

Medical cosmetology or aesthetic medicine is fast becoming a much sought after specialisation as more and more young people seek out practitioners who can conduct non-invasive and minimally invasive medical procedures which can make a huge difference to their appearance and self-confidence. All over the world there has been a boom in demand for specialists who can undertake such medical procedures. 

Work profile

Medical cosmetologists or aestheticians are called so because they work in a clinical or hospital environment, on procedures or supplements to medical procedures and not in salons, or spas. The work normally involves some of the more popular treatments such as laser hair removal, anti-ageing treatments like botox, fillers, and skin rejuvenation treatments like chemical peels, as also more advanced medical procedures such as microdermabrasions as well. 

Where this field is different from dermatology is that aesthetic medicine is a medical sub-specialty that uses minimally invasive cosmetic treatments to enhance the physical appearance of patients. Aesthetic physicians specialise in performing a wide variety of non-invasive procedures, which do not involve surgery, and in particular, not plastic surgery. This field requires medical knowledge of skin and ageing so as to use in aesthetic procedures such as botox, hyaluronic acid fillers, lasers for hair removal, skin resurfacing, microdermabrasion, pigmentation reduction, deeper peels for skin radiance, hair transplants  and other procedures to improve skin's tone and texture.

This field also provides opportunities for non-medicine trained staff who can work as assistants in a skin clinic. Typically, their responsibilities would include helping doctors perform laser treatments, hair removal treatments, chemical peels and so on. 

Getting In

You need to complete MBBS degree to take up the speciality of medical cosmetology or aesthetic medicine. To perform an advanced cosmetic treatment, a degree in medicine is a must. Dermatologists, physicians, dentists with a diploma or master’s degree in dermatology, can also practice medical cosmetology.  Today many doctors who have graduated in  dermatology augment their dermato-surgical skills and become cosmetic dermatologists by undergoing diploma and certification programmes in aesthetic medicine so as to be able to perform procedures like injectables and laser treatments, dermal fillers etc. 

There are also aesthetic physicians who work with a medical/dermatology team to help accident or burn victims victims dealing with scars or the trauma of disfiguring. 

While in India there are no specific guidelines for sub-specialty or super-specialty branches in this field as recognised by the Medical Council of India, and hardly any medical colleges offer this programe, there are some institutes that have come up that offer practical skill training courses to doctors/licensed practitioners to enhance their knowledge and ability so as to offer the best of treatment using upto-date techniques to their patients in their practice. Many of these institutes have linkages with foreign institutes and universities specialising in aesthetic medicine.

Indian medical colleges, largely, do not offer these fellowship/ certificate programmes.  However there are some institutes and those affiliated to some universities that conduct diploma and certificate courses in aesthetic medicine for doctors and medical practitioners.

The scope of aesthetic medicine and cosmetology has been growing internationally, and is now spreading rapidly in India and as well. Taking the lead have been people working in entertainment, media or consumer facing industries who have to remain in the public eye and therefore need to maintain their facial aesthetics. A major part of the demand for facial aesthetics also comes from trauma, burn injuries and acid scar victims, who need to improve their physical appearance, reduce scars, and reconstruct disfigured areas as far as possible. 

In addition, it has become a regular a part of medical aesthetics for people who want to improve their appearance by correcting facial features like chin, lips or nose or undergoing procedures to look younger. 

The boom in medical cosmetology the world over has increased the  demand for well qualified cosmetology doctors with training in aesthetic medicine. Moreover, with research and science constantly throw up new techniques and treatments to improve the skin and minimize signs of ageing, medical cosmetologists have to be constantly learning and improving their skills, and developing new and refined techniques for controlling ageing and face disfigurements.

So if you have an interest in looking good, and helping others look good too, here is your chance not only to become a doctor but also a professional aesthetician.

The procedures 

  • Facials
  • Chemical peels
  • Laser hair removal
  • Exfoliation and body wraps
  • Microdermabrasion(gently rubbing old, dead skin off)
  • Botox skin treatments
  • Facelifts and stretches
  • Hair transplants
  • Providing advice to patients on caring for skin before a surgery
  • Advice to patients for surgeries and procedures
  • Educating patients on skincare techniques
  • Consulting with the patient on additional services in skincare
  • Keeping track of retail and professional products used/sold through the medical practice
  • Helping patients specially cancer patients, accident victims, and those that have undergone major appearance-altering procedures on how to best mask injuries/swellings/scars and  how to deal with the changes in their appearance.

Institute Watch

  • Indian Institute of Cosmetology in Mumbai offers a 12-week certificate course in clinical cosmetology. 
  • DY Patil University, Pune offers a six-month Fellowship in Cosmetology.
  • Indian Institute of Aesthetic Medicine (IIAM), Pune, offers Post-graduate diploma in clinical cosmetology and short term courses in aesthetic medicine and cosmetology to medical practitioners. 
  • Dr. Jamuna Pai's Institute for Medical and Aesthetic Cosmetology (DJPIMAC), offers programmes in aesthetic medicine and skincare cosmetology — Certificate in Medical Cosmetology & Aesthetics, and Certificate in Skincare Cosmetology.
  • Kosmoderma Institute, Bangalore offers a course in Cosmetic Dermatology. 
  • Institute of Laser & Aesthetic Medicine, New Delhi offers PG diploma in Medical Trichology.
  • VLCC offers courses in beauty therapy for medical aestheticians performing procedures under the supervision of a doctor.
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