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Superdrug has launched a 'budget' Botox and fillers service - but is it worth booking in for?

August 15th 2018 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru / 0 comment


Following the success of Love Island, the high street giant is capitalising on the soaring demand for injectables with its Skin Renew service - but is it really your type on paper? We asked a cosmetic doctor for his thoughts

If you’re looking for a beauty bargain, Superdrug has established itself as one of the key players on the high street to find one. But should Botox be on your shopping list? It’s the question that’s been buzzing around the GTG office today following the announcement that the pharmacy will be offering the procedure alongside Juvéderm dermal fillers as part of a new Skin Renew service that starts from just £99.

Launched in response to feedback from nearly 10,000 customers revealing a demand for the injectables, it coincides with the recent surge in ‘Love Island-inspired’ enhancements seen in 18 to 25-year-olds. Superdrug was one of the show’s sponsors this year (as it was the two years before) however, unlike its themed skin and makeup gifting ranges to capitalise on the show’s success, this latest TV coupling serves as a much more controversial step for helping fans achieve the villa look.

The service will only be available for those aged 25 years old and over and will initially launch at The Strand, London, with a view to roll out further clinics across the UK following consumer feedback.

What you can expect

Trained nurses will administer the procedures and conduct the consultations, a step taken by the company to provide consumers with greater peace of mind that they’re in safe hands (53 per cent of those surveyed cited that this was the most important factor when it came to having aesthetic procedures). With the recent news that beauticians have been dropped from joining a new injectable safety register set up by the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, (following the threat of boycott from doctors and nurses), this certainly helps offer up some reassurance about the professionalism of the service.

As award-winning cosmetic doctor, Dr Tijion Esho of the Esho Clinic on Harley Street tells us: “Nurses are a very highly qualified and skilled group of medical professionals and there are many clinics in the UK and abroad already that are led by nurses as well as doctors.”

Consultations will be able to be booked by phoning Superdrug’s customer service team who have been trained to help people decide if a consultation is right for them or not. If a patient decides to go ahead, they’ll complete a medical questionnaire when they come in to assess their eligibility and the nurse will provide their clinical and professional opinion about the treatment.

What you should bear in mind before booking in

With a standard forehead of crow’s feet Botox treatment coming in at £99, (compared to around £300 at Harley Street clinics), the service makes the procedures more accessible to a whole new audience. That’s arguably a good thing, but according to Dr Esho, quality and continuity of care will always override low cost and should be key factors in your decision-making process when faced with cut-price options:

“For it to be successful, it will need to be truly medical and have a stable long-standing team of experts delivering a high standard of treatments within a clinical setting. Clients in today’s market have high expectations and always value quality and continuity of care over low price and treatments by staff they are unable to form a relationship with long-term.”

Does he feel that there are any red flags in this instance? Not currently. “I think sometimes we can be too quick to assume but as professionals we should base any judgement and evaluation on evidence and fact.”

The majority of concerns expressed elsewhere seem to be about whether the increased visibility of aesthetic procedures on the high street will diminish how seriously they’re taken. As consultant plastic surgeon Rajiv Grover, a British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons council member, told the Evening Standard: “Just because Botox is being done on the high street, the public should not think it is like a beauty treatment. It is still a medical treatment with benefits and also significant risks, and people should be aware of that.”

Botched Botox can result in infection and even paralysis. As for improperly injected fillers, corrective treatment may be needed to remedy any serious problems. As consultant dermatologist Anjali Mahto highlights in her book, The Skincare Bible:

“There are potential side-effects with Botox and it is important to go to an experienced practitioner who is able to show you before-and-after photographs.”

Final thoughts

It seems that Superdrug has taken steps to see that it addresses the safety concerns of its consumers. However, a big question arises about the effect the service will have on public perceptions regarding the seriousness of these types of aesthetic procedures. The high street giant prides itself on offering everything from threading to nail bars and piercing, and as a result, there’s a danger of Botox and fillers being treated as casually - despite the huge variation in risks involved. Dr Esho points out though that it depends on how the clinics look and how the service is marketed:

“If it is a high standard medical clinic placed within a clinical setting within the store, it won’t matter if it is on the high street as there are many large chain clinic providers on the high street already. But if it operates like a ‘beauty’ clinic, then it can trivialise the procedures which is not good for the patients or the industry as a whole.”

Whether you’re looking to book in at Superdrug or anywhere else for Botox or fillers, Dr Esho recommends the following for ensuring that you’re in expert hands:

1. Book in with a registered medical professional such as a doctor, dentist or nurse;

2. Ask the following: How long have you been doing injectables? Can you manage complications independently? Have you got examples of your work? Will I have the same person for the following up of my treatments? What products are you going to use and why?

3. Check that they have the correct insurance;

4. Review their work and experience in the field of aesthetics;

5. Check that they are able to manage complications independently;

6. Ensure that it is conducted within a clinical setting and there is an aftercare and follow-up pathway as part of the treatment.

Read more: Beauty and Botox - your top 10 ageing and skincare questions answered

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