The Truth Behind the Cosmetic Industry


I watched, with interest, and some confusion, the BBC documentary, “The Truth Behind the Cosmetic Industry”, aired last night.


I am a great believer in educating people on the details of treatments – indications, techniques and products. Whilst this appeared to be the premise of the show,  I felt that the documentary misrepresented elements of the industry.


The tear trough filler case for example, was carried out with a cannula. This is a technique that optimises safety and minimises bruising. It isn’t a (sharp) needle as described but a blunt “needle” so that it cannot puncture or block a vessel. There is one superficial and sharp entry point each side, simply allowing for the introduction of the cannula. It appears intense to an onlooker, but, in the right hands, with the right technique and the right product it is very safe and effective.


“Sticking needles in and squirting stuff in” is not the way an ethical, experienced and sophisticated injector would see it.


“The potential for something to go wrong is really quite high” is also an unqualified remark.


From the intel available there are approximately 4 million filler procedures carried out globally. The number of cases of blindness from tear troughs with hyaluronic acid (the scariest outcome to my mind) is 53.


It is impossible to deduce the exact number of tear troughs procedures amongst the 4 million filler treatments of course, however as a popular procedure, the potential for such a devastating outcome is clearly low.


Switch to the element on Save Face and I am 100% on board with the terrifying fact that inexperienced and non-medical practitioners are buying gawd knows what products from the internet and injecting them in cars, hotel rooms and sheds??? This smacks of desperation from the injectee, a morally and ethically bankrupt injector and generally a sad state of affairs.


The simple fact is, if you do not have medical training complications are far more likely, and if you cannot prescribe, you cannot manage complications. Examples would be dissolving overdone or misplaced filler or prescribing antibiotics for an infection.


What truly flummoxed me was the Tixel case. This is an instrument I use in my own practice; something I invested in after a lot of research and contemplation on the right skin tightening device.


I trained with the Tixel doyenne Dr Harryono who was featured on the programme. He is a meticulous and very caring practitioner. Perhaps the filming was on a tight schedule as the time to revisit for an initial post Tixel check-up is six weeks / one skin cycle, not three. It is also carried out as a course of at least three treatments, not one.


I have seen amazing results in my own practice when the proper protocol is adhered to and felt it was an unfair representation of what is an effective treatment.


Of course, it’s important to find a legitimate, ethical and skilled medical practitioner. Of course, there are modern “ideals” or bland “standards” of beauty – massive lips and square jaw lines – that I find bizarre and disheartening.


Not to be forgotten is that long before injectables were available, the beauty industry has played on insecurities and “selling the dream” with placebo or below par products.


I know first hand that there are brilliant results to be had with the right non-surgical interventions, and carried out effectively, they do increase people’s mental well-being and confidence.


Also, growing old gracefully and having a few refreshing sprinkles are not mutually exclusive. It’s not all or nothing.


I’m intrigued to see what The Truth Behind the Cosmetic Industry Part 2 presents…