After graduating from Glasgow University in 2002, Dr Usman Qureshi qualified as a GP five years later. Working in A&E and general practice he craved more handson, procedure-based work, leading him to investigate the field of aesthetics. “General practice is more about prescriptions and treatment plans,” he says,”I wanted to do something where you can see a physical result and impact on a person’s health in the non-conventional sense of disease.”
He trained in 2012, starting with minor procedures, like fillers. Dr Qureshi moved into his current premises in 2016, and now splits his time equally between aesthetics and the NHS, focussing on casualty work and out-of-hours general practice.
A FIRST FOR SCOTLAND
Aesthetics-wise, his interest was in the ever-developing field of minimally invasive procedures, such as more advanced botulinum toxins, fillers, and PDO threads. More recently, he has started working with permanent silicone threads. An ambassador for French brand Spring Thread, he is currently the only practitioner of threads in Scotland, as well as leading training sessions for the company.
“I was using the dissolving PDO threads, and the result was good – people were getting a lift, but it wasn’t lasting very long. Then I came across this permanent spring thread, and it was interesting to see how much of a lift you can get and how much change you can make. The result has been quite remarkable.
He is also moving into other procedures that can be carried out while the patient is awake, like FaceTite, BodyTite, gynecomastia, breast reduction and liposuction. “The face is probably my mainstay,” he adds, “but I’m moving into body treatments as well.”
The Luxe Skin Glasgow clinic is small, as Dr Qureshi is a single practitioner, only employing support staff. “I aim to practice treatments I can do personally, rather than having people working for me,” he says. “I want to concentrate on building my portfolio of treatments much wider and then go on to more advanced treatments.”
SPLITTING HIS TIME
Dr Qureshi enjoys his current work split between aesthetics and the NHS, viewing it as a balance between visible diseases that everyone knows about, and those that are less visible, like self-esteem, social wealth, personal well-being, and happiness: “I’m covering the whole of health, the things you can see and the things you can’t, to offer a more holistic picture and range of services.”
“In the consultation, for example, rather than people saying they want lip filler or botulinum toxin, I try to find out what has made them come now, as opposed to at any other time, why they want it done and what would be different if they didn’t have it done — Itry to find out the deeper reason for seeking treatment, the result they want, and the reasons for it, rather than focusing on a millilitre of filler here, a millilitre of filler there, which is ultimately meaningless.
“Then, I focus on the overall facial, or physical appearance, rather than chasing one single line here or there. Once we’ve addressed that, I find patients are happier and more content. If you only go for a superficial line, you’re not addressing what they’ve come in for, and then you find that they focus on another line, because their need has not been met. Looking at the whole drive for the change, you can also pick out things that they might have missed — they may be focusing on one thing, but when you are exploring it, there may be underlying causes. If someone’s getting carried away, getting one thing after another, but is constantly dissatisfied, then, I also tell them why I think they are dissatisfied and what I think will help them. If you treat a patient, just for the sake of it, they won’t be satisfied, and you won’t be satisfied — it’s not a match.”
When choosing which new treatments to practice, Dr Qureshi sees what is innovative and popular in journals, exhibitions and conferences, then looks at what results it offers. “If it’s just a subtle change here and there, then I probably won’t want to pursue it,” he says, “but if I think it’s going to make a significant change, I find out what the downtime is, am I able to offer it in the setting I have, is it of interest to me or am I just doing it for the sake of it.
“I need to be passionate or interested in it, to excel at it. If you just do it because it’s the trendy treatment, then you probably won’t get that good a result. Procedures where you put a machine on and it is doing everything for you, even if it gives a good result, is not something that I want to pursue. You’re just the operator, there’s no skill involved on your part. I usually tend to train in treatments, either with machines or without machines, where it’s user dependent. A machine is a tool, rather than the be-all and end-all.”
Comparing the Scottish aesthetics industry to that in London, Dr Qureshi says that clients are “more reserved” and are less aware of the range of procedures available to them: “Generally, in England, I think people are a bit more aware of what’s on offer, whereas in Scotland, the knowledge is more limited. Things like threads are not common knowledge, whereas, in London, thread lifts might not be as popular as dermal fillers, but it’s still quite a ripe market. I think Scotland is evolving — it is not up to the speed of London, but then London is like a central hub, an international city, so I don’t think you can make a direct comparison.”
LET’S GET SOCIAL
Looking at social media in the sector, Dr Qureshi says that, as a tool, you can either “use it or abuse it”. “If you use it to educate or show what’s involved in treatment, that is good. For example, if someone’s considering a facelift, and they see a facelift being done, they can be better informed about whether they want to go through this level of invasiveness or not.”
If used correctly, he thinks social media can be very useful for raising awareness: “You find that, before a patient walks in, they already know what they’re getting and what they want. You tell them all the issues with it, the side effects, or benefits, they already know because they have researched it so well. If somebody’s just telling you about a treatment, you don’t fully appreciate it until it is happening to you. If some people are scared off, then that’s fine because they aren’t suitable. I think social media is great for showing treatments, what is possible, what’s not, and what the issues are.
“However, if you show just glamour — ‘get this treatment in a gorgeous setting — that kind of image is negative. I think that goes beyond cosmetic treatment, that’s everything on social media, with filters and things. It creates a fake environment and false expectations. Even if there wasn’t social media, magazines were publishing similar things. The problems are the same, the channels are just different now.”
In his new column, Dr Qureshi wants to focus on looking at new multi-modal methods of achieving the results that clients really want. “One modality can’t achieve everything, so, if you need a lift, dermal fillers can do a little, threads can do a bit more, energy devices a bit more, and then facelift a bit more. Choose the correct treatment for the desired result, rather than what’s on your menu. Sometimes it’s a combination of treatments to achieve the result, rather than doing one treatment so much that you distort the face. The key is choosing the correct treatment and realising what limitation each treatment has.”
To find out more about Dr Qureshi’s clinic, visit luxeskin.co.uk.