8 mins


Aesthetic Medicine consultant editor Vicky Eldridge chats to Dr Wassim Taktouk about his journey to opening his own clinic in Knightsbridge

Dr Wassim Taktouk has the kind of infectious personality that makes him instantly likeable. Funny, honest and authentic, it’s easy to see why his patients love him and why he has become a media favourite, often featured on the pages of glossy magazines or on TV shows like This Morning and the BBC documentary The Truth About Cosmetic Treatments.

One of London’s most sought-after aesthetic physicians, Dr Taktouk is known for his compassionate, ethical approach to integrative aesthetics and his creative use of injectables.

His advocacy for safe and effective practice also led him to co-found The London Academy of Aesthetic Medicine (LAAM) with Dr Tara Francis, an educational institution that provides doctors, dentists and nurses with evidence-based techniques, hands-on training and one-to-one mentoring.

With a reputation like this, it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t until 2021 that he opened his own eponymous clinic in London’s Knightsbridge, a far cry from his early days as a doctor working in acute care.


Dr Taktouk’s broad medical background is one of the things he prides himself on today and has set him up not only to keep a cool head in his own practice but also to help train and mentor other practitioners.

After graduating from St. Bartholomew’s and The Royal London School of Medicine, he moved to Sydney, where he earned his stripes working in A&E. On returning to the UK in 2005, he qualified as a GP but quickly realised general practice wasn’t for him.

“The life of a general practitioner wasn’t really what I desired”, he says. “The balance wasn’t there for me. I quickly moved into urgent care, which felt like somewhere in the middle. It was a nice balance of excitement and non-repetitiveness. There was something new the whole time, and I wasn’t dealing with chronic conditions. It was much more acute medicine.”

Dr Taktouk spent 10 years serving at the emergency department in London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and it was during this period that his passion for aesthetics began to blossom, but it wasn’t a path that he ever could have foreseen himself travelling.

He recalls: “A colleague of mine said, ‘We should go on a botulinum toxin course,’ and I remember exactly what I said. I said, ‘I’m not a beautician.’ Looking back now there was limited understanding of the intricacies of facial aesthetics and it was not a well known speciality.”

But something made him go along, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“I went and did the training and thought it was quite fun”, he says. “Although it was bonkers that after one day, I was suddenly certified to go out and do toxin and fillers. I’m sure many people fell off the cliff right after that course as I didn’t feel I gained enough injecting experience. After the course I focused on acquiring practical experience by treating family and friends” he adds with a smile. I feel strongly that toxins and fillers are two separate procedures. They require separate comprehensive training and that is why Dr Tara and I take the stance that they should be taught completely independently.

“I also felt like it was important to undertake dermatology training as I felt it tied in nicely with aesthetic medicine.“

This spurred the conscientious doctor to study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Dermatology.


In the early days, like many aesthetic practitioners, Dr Taktouk offered injectable treatments to friends and family from his clinic room at home.

“Every two weeks on a Monday night, I’d have one or two patients. I’d get really excited if I had three”, he says. “Then, slowly through wordof-mouth, because this was in the days before social media, it just started to pick up.”

Dr Taktouk found that he was really enjoying the aesthetics work, which he was still doing alongside his NHS work.

“There was a real positive, social side to aesthetics that I had never experienced in medicine”, he says. “There was something about it that made me feel more human, less robotic, and it felt like a good fit.

“I realised as I got busier and busier that I couldn’t do my A&E job and come back and do this at night. I started dropping days in A&E and could fill up a whole day with aesthetic patients, and then I could fill up two whole days. Suddenly I was in this realisation that this could actually be a career that I enjoy and I converted the second bedroom in my flat into a clinic room.”

When an opportunity came up to practice within the medispa at Harvey Nichols, Dr Taktouk was initially unsure. “Someone came to me and said, ‘Harvey Nichols is looking for a doctor. You should apply’. I was initially like, ‘I’m not working in a department store’, but I interviewed anyway and got the job. I was still working in A&E at this point, but it got to a point where I was doing so much aesthetic medicine and so little A&E that my appraisals were getting really difficult to do. I was being appraised as a GP, but the GP side of it was about 5% of what I was doing. That’s when I decided to become a member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) and start my appraisal process with them.”

Going full-time into aesthetics, Dr Taktouk left Harvey Nichols and joined Dr Rita Rakus at her clinic in Knightsbridge and super facialist Teresa Tarmey in Belgravia.

“I learned so much there and am really grateful to them”, he says, “But I knew in my heart of hearts I wanted my own clinic.” And so Dr Taktouk set about the arduous task of finding the perfect location for his namesake clinic. “I was very specific about what I wanted my clinic to be”, he says. “I didn’t want to be on Harley Street. I didn’t want to be in a department store again. I didn’t want to be a shopfront. My patients wanted something more private and discreet.

“When this space came along, it was absolutely perfect, and I was desperate to get it. I could immediately see how I could reconfigure it to resemble the apartment vibe that my patients loved so much. It’s in a quiet residential development tucked behind Sloane Street. It’s a beautiful street. It’s got an old black gate, and it’s really discreet. It’s the only medical use unit in the whole building and was previously used by a dentist who was retiring.”

Although the clinic was in the perfect location, it needed a lot of work, and just as Dr Taktouk began refurbishing it, lockdown hit.

“When we got it, it was not in a great state”, Dr Taktouk remembers. “I refurbished one of the rooms and got working in that straight away, thinking I’d refurbish the rest of it as the year progressed. We went into lockdown at the end of that very first day.”

Rather than sit on his laurels, Dr Taktouk decided to go for it and get the whole refurb done during lockdown. “I found some builders who were incredible”, he says. “It was a bomb site, and they had to rip down walls. We opened the day we came out of lockdown.

“We were still putting the shelves, carpet, and lights in that morning, but I was so happy we pulled it off.”

Now the three-treatment room CQCregistered clinic has been transformed into a beautiful and homely feeling space.

One thing that was important to Dr Taktouk was that patients felt comfortable, and this also meant a seamless and intimate journey through the clinic. “I don’t buy into waiting culture”, he says. “I think it’s totally disrespectful to have people waiting for you. The clinic has been designed in a way that you will very rarely see someone else in here. We will manoeuvre people around in a way that you will feel that you are sitting in a private space and you are seen immediately.

“Obviously, there are times when there’s traffic, or there are strikes, then when a lot of people will be there at once, but everyone knows that’s not what I set out to do.”

Safety and efficacy is also a key factor in the doctor-led clinic’s ethos, and Dr Taktouk has an A-list rollcall of aesthetic practitioners, including consultant dermatologist Professor Firas Al-Niaimi, Dr Christine Hall, Dr Judy Todd, Dr Pamela Benito and Dr Rebecca Seldon, working alongside him.

The clinic is known for its natural yet impactful results, and like many skilled injectors, Dr Taktouk has an artistic flair too but doesn’t buy into the concept of perfect proportions.”

“You can’t take a feature of one person or a standard framework and think it’s going to apply to every person. Every face is completely unique, and that’s what makes every face completely different. I understand that people are trying to teach proportions, and this is the scientific way of creating a perfect face, but there is no perfect face. Everyone’s face is proportionately unique to them, and you have to use your artistic eye to make this person a better version of everything they have. Not change them.

Today Dr Taktouk not only runs a busy, successful clinic but also enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise under the umbrella of LAAM.

“My career path was not straight forward but I learned so much that I wanted to share my knowledge so others entering the industry can benefit from my first-hand experience”, he says. “This is why Tara and I have structured the LAAM courses to include invaluable insights about the other equally integral aspects of running an aesthetic practice successfully.

“LAAM courses also provide delegates the understanding of a wide spectrum of key areas to running a successful practice ranging from finding patients and operational protocols, to social media advice and media liaison.”

This article appears in November 2022

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November 2022
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