FEMINA: Aesthetic medicine seems to be experiencing a real boom...
Dr. Marva Safa: Absolutely, the development is exponential. The culture has changed under the influence of social media. We laughingly accuse the Kardashian sisters. We now have a really young patient base: 20, 30 years old.
Their psychological profile is different from that of more mature patients, born in another era. Generation Z has no memories of a world without the Internet. The treatment of this population has become a science of its own.
The anatomy of a 25-year-old woman is not the same as that of a 45-50-year-old woman. They are not at the same stage, from a physiological point of view, but also psychologically. Young girls are much more involved in prevention than their mothers were.
What are their requests?
The 25 year old women who consult are smart, they have already done a lot of research, they don't want to look younger but are more interested in prevention. They are interested in skin health. As soon as they notice the onset of rosacea, knowing that their mother suffered from it, they look for ways to slow down or prevent the problem. This is a healthy attitude.
When you see the Kardashians, you think that the standards of beauty have changed. The reality, especially, has become virtual. People often come to me with Instagram photos to have a lips like this or skin like that, not realizing that behind those images are hours of professional makeup and, of course, filters. I have to remind them that I can't promise this result, but healthy skin, yes. And that takes a little more time than a retouched selfie.
Medicine is also an individual matter, everyone responds differently. An aspirin can relieve someone's headache and cause an allergy in another person. It's the same in aesthetics, a treatment can be amazing on your sister and average on you.
If I take the time to explain it, we usually agree, that's the good news! I sometimes dissuade certain patients from embarking on procedures, even if it is not commercial.
Why aren't there more new clinics?
In Switzerland, society is more conservative and cautious. In Switzerland, everything is happening a little more slowly and, for once, that's a good thing: we don't take things lightly. The trend is coming now, it is strong. Practices are opening everywhere and the first accidents are being reported, like the disfigured patient who made the front page of 20 Minutes. Beauticians are starting to give injections, not of botox, which is a drug controlled by Swissmedic, but of hyaluronic acid, which is a medical device for which the law is in a grey area. Their prices are lower, which attracts young people.
How do you inform them, do you have to avoid these places at all?
As a doctor, I know the risks I take every time I inject, treat with laser or do a peel, because there are some. If it is to be done properly, any invasive procedure must be performed by a physician or under the absolute supervision of a physician. An esthetician, no matter how well trained, does not have the same knowledge of anatomy, skin thickness, receptors.
There are probably also abuses among doctors...
Absolutely. If the majority of professionals take responsibility for the way they practice, there are still some who put money before patient safety.
That's why I'm very concerned about information. You have to educate people, teach them to pay attention. If the first consultation lasts 5 minutes, alarm bells should be ringing in your head.
You have the right to ask what you are being injected with and to do a search. You know the brand of your purse, but you don't know what is being put in your face? It's still shocking!