A leading aesthetic practitioner has explained how there has been a “huge increase” of people getting fillers and botox in Northern Ireland.
Dr Mervyn Patterson, the medical director of Woodford Medical, with a clinic on the Lisburn Road, has been working in the field of aesthetic medicine for 25 years.
He has told how over the past five years, more people in Belfast are visiting aesthetic practitioners to alter their appearance.
Dr Mervyn is also a judge in the NI Beauty Excellence Awards which are proudly sponsored by West Coast Cooler and media partnered by Daily Mirror and Belfast Live.
The expert told Be : “There has been a huge rise [in injectables]. It used to be that it was considered unusual, slightly odd. People used to keep it ultra secret, I mean, absolutely beyond secret, nobody was allowed to know – not husbands, not family, not friends because they all feared being criticised, teased, made fun off – just judged to be doing something really bizarre.
“That has definitely softened a lot because now there are so many people doing it, I wouldn’t say it is normalised in Belfast, but it is getting there, just like cutting hair almost.”
Dr Mervyn, who has been named one of the top ten injectors in the UK, added that attitudes are changing due to a “domino effect”.
He said: “One or two people try it and eventually they do talk to their friends and people say, ‘oh, I didn’t realise you had Botox done, you are actually looking really well, I thought there was something different about you’. That sort of conversation starts, and then people stop lying about what they’ve had done.
“Filler sometimes, people may be a bit slower to talk about those. Obviously there are some people who take this to the extreme and their appearance alters so much that even the postman could tell, but it’s not really what we are about or the look we are trying to achieve.”
Dr Mervyn said his clinics aim for a “natural look” and that he has noticed more younger people opting for fillers and Botox.
“You want to give a very pleasing improvement that [the client] can see the difference, but really everybody else is left guessing and passing comments.
“The generation, [of those aged] late 20s and early 30s, are now very much more into looking after their appearance and doing things early on. They are much more switched on about skincare, about treatments, they are not sunbathing in the same way, they are doing a little bit of Botox to try and prevent issues.
“It’s growth right across the whole age spectrum, it’s young, it’s a big surge in the middle, but it’s also mature ladies as well,” he told.
The clinic owner has noticed the rise over the last five years, but even more so since the Covid-19 lockdowns – with people wanting to boost their self-confidence.
He said: “The surge in interest since we’ve opened up after lockdown, I can’t explain it, whether it’s because [people] were in zoom conferences staring at themselves on video cameras, whether it’s not going on holiday or not being out at restaurants and they’ve got a little more money to spend on themselves, or just to give themselves a lift.
“They are just fed up. It definitely gives people a better feeling.”
Dr Mervyn said the three most popular treatments for Woodford Medical Belfast currently are cheek augmentation, Botox and Profhilo.
He explained: “We try to encourage cheek augmentation before going down the line of lips. Sometimes it’s better to do a little bit of cheek augmentation first because that restores the height of the cheekbone and has a lifting effect on the lower face. That sometimes takes priority over artificially inflating someone’s lips.
“Botox is numerically the most important treatment for us. Cheek augmentation is second and Profhilo is third.
“Profhilo is an injectable form of hyaluronic and because of the formulation of the HA molecules, when it is put under the skin, it spreads out in an even way across the whole face. It is quite the opposite of a filler, because that filler is designed to stay put.
“It just evens out some of the finer lines and irregularities and is particularly useful in the lower face. That has become very popular.”
Dr Mervyn said many people are too worried about opting for injectables as they are worried about looking ‘too fake’ due to what they see in the media.
“With every new client, that conversation has to happen, they always come up with some variation on that theme, ‘I’ve seen in the papers that this celebrity looks bizarre, I just can’t look like that or go down that route, it has to be kept subtle’.
“There are some people who never go down the injectable route and come to us for skin treatments, we just treat their sun damage… micro-needling, all sort of approaches.”
The doctor explained how PDO threads, ‘a relatively new treatment to Belfast’, is becoming more popular.
“These are threads that are implanted under the skin and have little areas that grasp the tissue and it’s that which gives the skin a little bit of a lift.
“It can be used to lift the cheeks, the lower face, lift the jowls, lift the brows… little fine threads can be used to tighten the eye area.
“I learned to do it out in Korea, it’s a treatment that is incredibly popular over in Asia, and it is definitely gaining momentum here in Ireland.”
Dr Mervyn has urged how important it is to research and to know who you are visiting for procedures involving injectables.
He said: “It is incredibly important. As we all know, it is remarkable how unregulated [this area] is.
“Almost anyone can set up with a half day’s training and off they go, with no checks and balances, no inspections… nothing..
“You could be their first victim. These injectables can carry significant consequences. In the right hands, those risks are minimal and in the hands of medical professional, they know how to deal with the complications.”
The 2022 NI Beauty Excellence Awards will be hosted by TV personality Pamela Ballantine and will take place at the Crowne Plaza Belfast on Sunday 15th May 2022. The closing date for entries is fast approaching, Friday 4 th March 2022. For more information on categories and criteria, please visit www.nibeautyexcellence.com.
The Awards are proudly supported by title sponsor West Coast Cooler , media partners Daily Mirror and Belfast Live and event partners, Luxury Tanning Brand, Bellamianta; leading skincare brand, Epionce; influencer app, Fetch Ireland; vegan and cruelty-free cosmetic beauty brand, Pearl Beauty; award-winning training academy, The Beauty School, technical event production specialists, Sparq, Med FX, supplier for all Aesthetics and Skin Rejuvenationproduct needs and Shop Beautiful, a supplier of premium, professional grade beauty brands.
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