Medical Esthetics and Mental Health (We’re just not there yet…)

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I have had a very interesting experience with the latest COVID closures. During the first wave, I found myself not affected by the shutdown. There was no choice, I had to close the clinic. I then chose to return to the hospital and work a temporary position for 9 weeks. As my contract ended, I was able to reopen my clinic and return to work, to “the new normal”. This time around, the open/closed rule was different. The line was not as black and white as it was in the spring. It was a little grey.

I used this grey line to my professional advantage. I have worked over 25 years as a Registered Nurse in many disciplines throughout my career. Events have happened during my profession that brought me joy/sadness, respect/disappointment, happiness/anger, amazement/bewilderment and pride or the push to do better. It is amazing for me to say, last week, I experienced all these emotions within a couple of days.

I received a knock on my door. It was a Public Health Worker. Normally, this makes people/business owners worried. Me, not so much. I understand they are here to protect the public and teach me how to run the best business I can. We had a pleasant introduction and sat down (at a safe distance) to discuss the reason for the current visit. There was a complaint. The complainant wanted to know “Why was I open?” and “Why was I performing certain procedures?”.

I began to explain to the Public Health Worker that I own a Medical Clinic as a Registered Nurse with a Medical Director. This profession is allowed to remain open. My employees are not able to work because they do not fall under the category of a ‘licensed professional’, hence why I am working alone. I also explained that once a client comes through my door privacy and confidential rules apply.

My clients are here for their personal well-being. How that is achieved is a personal and private concern between the client, Medical Director and myself, a Registered Nurse. Being completely candid, the Public Health worker asked, “Tammy, how do Botox and filler qualify as an essential service?” (I promise he was not being judgmental when he asked, he truly wanted to work with me as a professional.)

I began to explain…. We currently live during a time where mental illness is still not fully understood. Our friends and families are suffering through a time when nothing is normal. We have been forced to communicate through screens, cell phones and monitors. Sure, we don’t have to wear pants when we are talking to people but we do need to show our faces. We see ourselves on the monitor looking back like a mirror. We start to focus on our flaws criticizing our own looks. Little things that were once not a big deal become an issue. Perhaps it is your smile, maybe the bump on your nose or the mole on your cheek. Possibly it is the furrow between your eyes that makes you look angry all the time. This begins to play on your mental psyche. Personal perception is number one. If we feel lousy about ourselves, we project that forward. Possibly enough to make you not want to be on that Zoom meeting, for you to call in sick in fear of what people are thinking…. Starting you toward a downward spiral of loss of self-confidence.

Within a short period of time, I can help my clients with their struggles and correct all of the above concerns leaving them feeling confident, strong and happy to show their face during screen time. Proud to see their face in the reflection. A treatment as simple as Botox can change a persons’ mental and physical presentation in less than 2 weeks. Not to mention it can also help relieve the pain of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and stress headaches. More than 95% of my clients come back for follow up treatments because they love how it makes them look and feel. For some clients, it can be life-changing to have a little HA (Hyaluronic Acid) filler injected along the nose portfolio to correct a bump (and avoid the risk of surgery). When I see the tears of joy from a client after a procedure and that client tells me, they never knew how good they could look, it is very humbling.

The Public Health Worker listened and was appreciative of my view. Was this enough to allow me to continue treating my clients with Botox/Dysport and HA filler?

It was agreed this is a grey area.

It was agreed I am a Medical Clinic.

It was agreed Mental Health is an increasing concern at this time.

It was agreed I can continue to perform traditional medical treatments such as IV vitamin infusions/injections, wound care and pain management procedures.

It was NOT agreed that Botox/Dysport and HA fillers can be used for a medical procedure (Interesting fact, these procedures are only allowed to be given by a medically trained professional).

The conclusion was “We are just not there yet”. In order for me to appease the complaint, I have to inform my clients these services are not available to them until we return to open status. Since this decision I have had 23 clients reach out to me to help them feel better about themselves and the list is growing every day. I have to put my client’s personal struggles with appearance on hold because “we are not there yet”.

I struggle with mental health. Anyone who knows me personally knows my saying…. “2 pills a day baby, 2 pills a day”. I have a tattoo of a semicolon on my wrist (in support of the semicolon project) to remind myself that mental health is not an end. It is a pause…. Then we keep going. With this current pause, I moved forward telling myself and anyone else reading, we will get there. We will get to the day that people see the importance of personal care. We will recognize we are personally essential to ourselves. We will understand self wellness is needed just as much as my “2 pills a day”.

We will get there. Please keep talking. Please reach out to your personal Mental Health caregiver – Estheticians, Reflexologist, Osteopaths, Hairdresser/Barbers, Coaches (to only list a few)

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Stay well and stay safe.