Transforming lives |

10 mins

Transforming lives

Dr Kathryn Taylor-Barnes shows editor Anna Dobbie around her Twickenham clinic

Nestled in the serene neighbourhood of St Margarets near Twickenham, the Real You clinic is more than just a business venture for Dr Kathryn TaylorBarnes; it’s a culmination of her passion for skin health and her unwavering commitment to her patients’ well-being. With a background in NHS general practice and a keen interest in dermatology and plastic surgery, in 2003, Dr Taylor-Barnes embarked on her professional journey to merge medical expertise with aesthetic artistry.


Born in Texas, Dr Taylor-Barnes obtained her medical qualification from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 1996, before delving into hospital-based medicine, where she cultivated her affinity for skin conditions. She was fortunate enough to do a medical rotation at Portsmouth Hospitals, including looking after a dermatology ward and clinics, which she particularly enjoyed. Dr Taylor-Barnes knew that her calling lay in the realm of aesthetics, a realisation that eventually led her to transition from general practice to specialising in skin rejuvenation and enhancement.

“I was always interested in skin, particularly dermatology and plastic surgery,” says Dr Taylor-Barnes. “I got some exposure to those during my hospital positions, and even went to Massachusetts General Hospital as a student to have an elective with the plastic surgeons there. When finishing my GP training in 2003, I had the opportunity to start learning about aesthetics.

“In the days before the internet took off, my mother saw a little advert in the back of the free medical magazine we got through the door. There were only one or two small courses available, so I did two weekends with a French dermatologist, but I still felt out of my comfort zone. The notion of injecting someone’s face was miles apart from my usual doctoring.”

However, Dr Taylor-Barnes soon found her feet and rented rooms in the Surrey-based villages of Godalming and Camberley, so she could carry out her aesthetic medical work, while keeping her GP NHS work separate. She moved to Richmond in 2016, so it then made sense to relocate the aesthetic practice nearer home.

“It was a giant leap for me to close my practice in Godalming after 13 years. I remember the day that we left; it was a cold, wintry day around Christmas, and I was sad leaving my little room in the cutesy village I had been travelling to for years.

Still, it was also exciting to know that I would be opening my own clinic and I was very much involved with the design and layout. It was basically a shell when we got it.

“I was able to rejuvenate a lovely building that needed TLC and revitalise the little area of St Margarets that needed someone to come in and breathe new life into it. I’m now considered the ‘queen bee’ of the area because I have improved the local landscape and the neighbourhood appreciates that there’s a thriving business. Also, having the doctor element in the clinic gives it a lot of credibility, when other businesses are perhaps not doing things as rigorously.”

Dr Taylor-Barnes didn’t find that her business suffered from the move: “I had a lot of loyalty from my patients. I have a regular stream coming up from Surrey and many newcomers because of the good catchment from London and being only a couple of minutes walk from a mainline station.”


Two other businesses also rent from Dr Taylor-Barnes, an expert facialist and a doctor and nurse who specialise in fertility and women’s health, with ultrasound diagnostics: “I have a masters in diagnostic ultrasound from the University of Bournemouth, and appreciate this type of business is on board. We’ve been a stable group here, supporting each other like a little family.

“We do cross refer which is great. However, as the business was growing and it was demanding too much of my attention, I decided to cut the umbilical cord with the NHS about 10 months before Covid-19 hit. I thought, by leaving the NHS, I’d have extra time to devote to myself, but that never happened. When you have a little gap, it’s filled quickly, but that’s good. That means the business filled it, so I must do something right. I don’t have children, but I have a supportive husband, so it’s easy to focus on the business.

“My patients do value the general medical expertise I bring to the clinic with my years of being a practising doctor.

"It makes them feel more confident in seeking treatments, knowing they will be seen holistically and not solely focusing on their aesthetic concerns. One patient will remind me of the importance of spending years with patients and connecting with people. This lady came to see me for a skin consultation. When she was leaving, I realised she was perhaps holding something back, so I stopped her and asked her if I could help. She was suffering from a low mood and spiralling depression. I was able to offer her the necessary professional help, and she went away in a much more positive frame of mind. A few days later, I received a bouquet and a handwritten note saying ‘thank you’ for offering her my time at that particular moment in her life. She had actually been considering ending her life, and our chat and my timely support stopped this from happening and turned her around. She has since gone on to gain further qualifications, get a good job and is thriving. This is an excellent example of how medical aesthetics clinics can do more for people than we may even realise.”


Dr Taylor-Barnes’ pursuit of advanced treatments led her to invest in state-of-the-art technology, including the Candela Nordlys device, which is renowned for its versatility in addressing various skin concerns. “I was CQC-registered around Covid-19 and decided we needed to expand into the laser market,” she adds. “Space is always a bit of a premium when you’ve got a clinic in the London area, and I needed a device that would give me more capabilities than a stand-alone machine that just did one job. Candela had an attractive device called the Nordlys, which provides three platforms. It’s got very high-quality intense pulse light (IPL) for vascular and pigmentation clearance, Nd:YAG for vascular work and an incredible non-ablative fractional resurfacing component in the Frax hand-pieces. I have been able to transform skin in a way I didn’t ever expect. I have patients repeatedly say to me that it’s the best treatment they have ever had!

“Lasers are like a wild horse; you’ve got to tame them, you’ve got to learn how to work them to your capabilities, grow with them, and get the best out of them, yet stay in your comfort zone.”

When it was time to consider another device, Dr Taylor-Barnes invested in an Asclepion Dermablate: “It’s a German-made machine for the next level up in skin resurfacing. You’ve heard of CO2 lasering, but this is Erbium:YAG lasering. It is ablative, whereas the Candela is non-ablative. Depending on the energy used, it vaporises the skin to have a longer downtime. I was looking for a treatment for the periocular skin around the eye when it becomes crepey, and, with my toxins and fillers, I just couldn’t address that area properly.”

When researching her next device, she found that there weren’t many on the market with a hand-piece that was small enough to address the under-eye safely. She was also attracted by the machine’s ‘Romeo’ hand-piece, which is able to treat snoring that affects so many people and can even contribute to heart disease and disrupt relationships when spouses have to sleep in separate rooms.

Dr Taylor-Barnes was one of the first doctors to use vaginal fillers in this country, about 14 years ago, with the Medical Aesthetics Group.

“I started by using Desirial by Vivacy – it’s the brand’s designated vagina filler product and the first filler in the market to be licensed for vaginal rejuvenation.

About 15 years ago, a doctor from France flew over to train a core group of six, but it didn’t go well. Afterwards, I said, ‘We must create our protocol to do this successfully in the UK’. We arranged some willing models and worked it out ourselves because the French doctor’s technique was too harsh on the ladies.”

Working with vaginal filler led Dr TaylorBarnes to bio-identical hormones and this has proved very popular among her patients: “It was a natural progression for me, because I did quite a lot of hormone work in my NHS work. Over Covid-19, because my practice is CQC-registered, I could offer some medical services to the many who couldn’t even get to a GP surgery. We were busy, and I felt very needed in that challenging time. I try to maintain a medical stance in the clinic because of my extensive training and GP experience. Fundamentally, I’m a doctor. Being able to also offer this new anti-snoring treatment takes me back to disease prevention and health promotion. I will try to help raise awareness for sleep issues which affect so many people.”

Dr Taylor-Barnes is working with Galderma to build Sculptra in the UK and is their key trainer. She is passionate about the product and has had much patient success using it. She also works with Mint Hansbiomed and is a trainer for their Klardie range, which works well with her post-laser protocols.


Aside from introducing new treatments and products into her clinic, she has also recently completed her exams with the British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) to become a full member: “BCAM is a professional organisation that doctors and dentists can ally to for a subscription fee, and they’re invited to attend a yearly conference, which is very high-level. They also offer CPD in the form of online meetings. BCAM has brought in a new examination because they are trying to regulate the current industry standards. It is hoped that sitting and passing the full exam [written and OSCE] with BCAM will provide a benchmark for the necessary knowledge aesthetic practitioners should have to demonstrate skills and experience.”

Beyond her expertise lies Dr TaylorBarnes’ genuine connection with her patients. For her, each consultation is an opportunity to enhance outer beauty and empower individuals to embrace their true selves. This patient-centric philosophy has garnered the Real You Clinic acclaim, with glowing reviews and testimonials highlighting Dr Taylor-Barnes’ transformative impact on countless lives. “I’ve been able to get a phenomenal number of five-star reviews on social media, Trustpilot, and Google, which I’m proud of. That shows patients’ loyalty and proves I try hard with my patients.

“I’m happy in my own space here, so I don’t have a great desire to buy another building or go elsewhere. I never say never, but it must be done with the right people, in the right situation. When I rented from places, I’ve always felt like a second-class citizen because I was in the care of a landlord with restricted hours and access and all the rest. I can come and go here as I please, and I feel that my building’s paid for. I’ve also got revenue from two other businesses which helps to cover the expenses of running a building. As a business owner, it’s essential to make the pennies come in; however, I’m very patient-centred and genuinely enjoy my work. I feel fortunate to have carved a second career after my years of general practice. Although I was one of the early adopters of aesthetics in the UK, I am proud that I still have a thriving business, which is energising and makes me happy to go to work every day.

Looking ahead, Dr Taylor-Barnes remains steadfast in her commitment to pushing boundaries and elevating standards in the field of aesthetic medicine.

“Going forward, I will keep doing what I am doing and incorporate more research into my practice. Having been successful in my recent independent research projects (see the May ‘24 issue of Aesthetic Medicine for more details on her real-world trials with Evolus on Nuceiva toxin) gave me a lot of satisfaction. Perhaps I’m a bit more academic than I realised!”

Whether it’s pioneering new treatments or engaging in groundbreaking research, she continues to be, driven by her passion for helping others look and feel their best.

This article appears in June 2024

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This article appears in...
June 2024
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Welcome to the June issue of Aesthetic Medicine Magazine
As we embrace the vibrant spirit of Pride Month, we are thrilled to present a special edition of Aesthetic Medicine that celebrates diversity, inclusivity, and the power of authenticity in our field
Meet the experts
Meet our editorial advisory board
Hot off the press
The latest industry news
Inclusive consultations
How can you ensure your consultation process is comfortable and affirming for all of your patients?
Out and about
Highlights from the industry social calendar
Thanks for coming!
Highlights from our event at Olympia London
These are the Champions (my friend)
Meet the winners of our annual awards
Transforming lives
Dr Kathryn Taylor-Barnes shows us around the Real You Clinic
Redefining ocular care
How a non-drug alternative is treating dry eyes
When the unthinkable happens
Dr Anna Hemming recounts how she handled a particularly tricky complication
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation following lichen planus
Dr Selina Ahmed discusses a recent dermatology case study
3D EMLift clinical trial results
The findings were presented by Dr Abs Settipalli at an exclusive event
The princess and the PRP
Nurse Claudia McGloin answers your burning questions
Aptos lifting threads partner with Rosmetics Aesthetics Limited
Rosmetics Aesthetics becomes exclusive UK distributor of Aptos Lifting Threads
Investing in new technology
What to look for when adding a new device to your clinic
Shielding skin
The nuances of sunscreen types to help you protect patients’ skin
Enhance your intimate hair removal expertise
Proven techniques to enhance gender-affirming surgery
Trend Spotlight: Keeping it clean
What is clean skincare and why is it so popular?
Paper Anniversary
One year after our official WiAM launch, we asked our founders about the past, present, and future of the network
Product News
The latest product launches
The psychology of consumer spending
How buy now pay later drives aesthetic treatment uptake
Treatment review: Sunekos at The Lovely Clinic
Anna Dobbie reviews a session of Sunekos treatments
High-tech facials: 3D-HydrO2 facial
Kezia Parkins tries a bespoke 3D-HydrO2 facial
Nurturing brand partnerships
Katie Hughes-Dawkins looks at the key to success in the aesthetics industry
The circular economy in the aesthetics sector
Looking beyond recycling to address environmental concerns
How to future-proof your career
How having a stable career path can help alleviate stress
Ask Alex
“How do I get more confident on camera when making videos?”
Looking for back issues?
Browse the Archive >

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June 2024
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