Recently I went to a blogger event at Transform Cosmetic Surgery Group where we were all given a £100 voucher to spend at the Harley Street clinic. During the event we'd been shown people having treatments like botox and lip fillers, and whereas I say never say never, I can't see myself having that kind of thing just yet. My main area of concern is my uneven skin caused by acne scarring and general ageing, and I've talked a bit about that here. I wasn't sure which one of Transform's non-surgical treatments to go for, and decided to just book a consultation. I thought I'd share with you what happens, in case you're thinking about having a cosmetic surgery consultation yourself and want to know how to get the best out of one.
Be honest with yourself about what it is you want, and be prepared to discuss this
On arrival I was taken to a sunny waiting room, handed a cup of green tea and a booklet to fill out with my medical history. All the treatments were listed in there with possible negative side effects which is a bit of a disconcerting waiting room read. I should have read Grazia or something instead. It soon became evident though, that Transform do complete honesty and transparency all the way – when you're taking the big step of having cosmetic surgery, this is crucial to get from a provider.
There are two parts to the consultation; first you meet with the non-surgical manager to discuss the treatments you're interested in and what results you expect to get, then you have a consultation with the relevant doctor, nurse or aesthetician, depending on the type of surgery you're going to have. Stephen, the manager, was so warm and reassuring, and talked me through a few procedures that might be good for my skin. He asked exactly what my concerns were, and I felt comfortable enough to say what was on my mind; how I wanted make-up to sit as well on my skin as it used to, and how I'm weirdly disappointed that I don't get asked for ID when buying alcohol as much as I used to be throughout my twenties. I said that I'd be keen to try microdermabrasion or a chemical peel, and Stephen told me straight up that minor procedures are just going to give my skin a boost, not change it drastically, and I appreciated the honesty. He never tried to make me go for something more expensive, though there was a slight sales aspect to his role, with him recommending products and suggesting I try both treatments I was interested in if he could make a deal for me. I expected this (and you'd have it anywhere that sells such treatments), but I never felt pressured. When you're not sure what kind of cosmetic treatment you want, this step of a consultation is really important to identify what it is you want to change about yourself and why, and having someone you can feel completely relaxed and reassured with makes it easier to get right treatment for you. At one point I even said to Stephen that I was worried about ending up with a red, raw face like Samantha in Sex and the City after she has a chemical peel (Google Image it), and he must have heard this concern many a time because he didn't even flinch and said that never happens. Haaaa!
Don't be afraid to ask all the questions you think of, it's the only way to be fully reassured
After this preliminary chat I had another short wait whilst Stephen arranged for me to see Gosia, an aesthetician, who talked to me for about ten minutes and explained the process and results of microdermabrasion and chemical peels in more detail. I half jokingly mentioned the negative side effects I'd read about in the waiting room, and she was not remotely patronising as she talked me through why some of these things might happen and how rare they are. I felt like Gosia was really looking at my skin and listening to me as an individual, not some random person walking in with a voucher to spend, and her manner was professional but friendly. When I was asked if I had any questions I decided to ask what Gosia's qualifications were, and I don't think that's an unreasonable thing to ask of someone who could potentially be applying strong chemicals to my face. She didn't either, and told me she'd studied for a degree in her native Poland which was a mixture of hospital-based dermatology and working with patients with skin problems, and also beauty therapy training. I also asked Gosia how she treats her own skin which was hands down the most luminous and clear-looking skin I'd ever seen on an adult; make-up free she positively glowed. She didn't take this as an opportunity to start selling me things from Transform and told me honestly that she uses chemical peels, but also she switches her beauty products regularly so that her skin doesn't get too used to one brand.
Use the information you've been given to make an informed decision that works for you
If the two people I consulted with hadn't been so easy to talk to I might have felt like I couldn't ask so many questions. But everything went so well – they were friendly, but professional and informative, and I got everything I needed to know about taking the first steps in dealing with my problem skin. If you're going for a cosmetic surgery consultation I recommend that you use the time to get everything you need to make an informed decision. It's your body and your life, and yes, the provider wants to make money and have you as a patient, but a good provider like Transform won't pressure you into making decisions that aren't fully your own. See the consultation as a process in which you assess how well the provider can help you – does this meet your expectations of how you want to look? What kind of value for money are you getting in terms of support and after-care? If you're having a major surgery, or even spending a lot on non-surgical treatments, I'd also recommend having a few consultations at different providers. As my voucher was only valid at Transform, I booked in for a non-surgical treatment, but I was confident based on this consultation alone that I was at the best clinic for me and the results I wanted to achieve. I'll let you know tomorrow what treatment I went for, and if it worked or not.
Have you ever been for a cosmetic surgery consultation? How did it go? If you have any tips how to get the best out of one leave them in the comments below x