Top tips and advice for cosmetic practitioners from an aesthetic artist

In our latest guest blog from Dr Rupert Critchley, director and founder of VIVA Skin Clinics, Dr Critchley reflects on his own experience and identifies his top tips for practitioners starting out in aesthetics.


Dr Rupert Critchley’s experience, advice and tips

 As the aesthetics industry grows, so unfortunately does the number of botched treatments, under-qualified ‘practitioners’ and dissatisfied consumers. Alongside the statistics, trends for the ‘Instagram doll’ look and social media are distorting perceptions of self and fuelling demand for unnatural looking results. The current marketplace leaves the root cause of many square jaws and over pouty lips in the hands of the clinician.

 It is therefore more important than ever to ensure that, as practitioners, we are performing rigorous consultations and taking our time to educate clients, keeping patient safety and optimum aesthetic interests at the forefront of our practice.

 For those venturing into the industry, starting off in aesthetics may seem a daunting task. However, with the appropriate training, qualifications and continued practice, prospective aesthetic clinicians can build a very successful and loyal client base. In this post I look back at my own experiences and draw on them to offer advice and tips for anybody interested in becoming an expert injector.

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For those looking to build a career in aesthetics, qualifications are of course the first thing you need to obtain. They are first on the list for the start of a successful and well-respected practice. With the increasing need for tighter regulations and a raising of the bar in industry standards, shortcuts should certainly be avoided.

I qualified as a medical doctor in 2009, graduating from the University of Southampton and went on to work as a fully qualified general practitioner. Although you don’t have to be a doctor to practice aesthetics, for me it is an incredibly important part of my role as Founder, Director and Lead Clinician at VIVA Skin Clinics, because it has given me a strong foundation for ensuring safety and quality of care in my practice. Furthermore, I feel passionate about maintaining clinical knowledge so continue part-time as a general practitioner.  It provides me with variety and, most importantly, keeps my skills up to date. Regardless of how many injections you carry out or the number of years of experience you have, complications are statistically inevitable. The key is knowing how to treat them and when to say no.

This in turn means my clients have the confidence to put their trust in me. This client confidence is of upmost importance and is the deal maker when it comes to both patient safety and client retention.


What really is the point without loving what you do? Aesthetics is no golden ticket. Not only could you sometimes do with an MBA, but daily challenges, both business related and clinical are also ongoing. I found my passion when I started to make a real difference to the lives of my clients – when I realised that my needle could really change a life and bring astounding confidence to an individual. Non-surgical treatments are not only medical procedures, but can also be described as nothing less than an art. Like any art form, a natural eye for detail and dedication are key; the rewards from creating a beautiful natural looking result and client satisfaction are invaluable.

My advice to anyone thinking about starting a career in the aesthetics world is to think long and hard about whether it is the right path for you. Take your time to research, pick up some work experience and really look into the day-to-day running and realities of a clinic.  To set up your own clinic and make it a prosperous one will require a huge amount of time, determination and sacrifice. I believe that this sort of commitment requires you to truly love the art you create.

Recognition and awards

This inner passion has led me to further my training and keep up to date with a constantly changing industry. New treatments and techniques will naturally emerge, but as they say ‘to stand on the shoulders of giants’ is essential. Learn from those who have years of experience. Take up extra courses and train with the reputable to stay ahead of the trends. For me, to have been selected as one of the ten Allergen mentees in the UK means I have been lucky enough to stay at the forefront of the industry and also contribute to the training of other aesthetic practitioners. Using the most tried and tested products in the industry is not only essential from a results perspective but also for patient safety.

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Your USP

As you are probably aware, the aesthetics market is a crowded one and it is expanding at an exponential rate. What is concerning is the number of practitioners without the appropriate credentials and training. To give your practice that edge it is a good idea to develop your own approach, methods and mantra. At VIVA, I take a holistic approach to treatment and this is deeply embedded in the foundations of the company. To me, no two clients are the same and therefore no two treatments are the same.  Every one of my clients receives their own bespoke treatment package – not only focusing on one area but looking at the face as a whole and how best to achieve a client’s overall goal. Sometimes this may not be the exact treatment they initially came in for as we are always focusing on best aesthetic interests.

With this approach in mind I developed my signature treatment, ‘Dr. Rupert’s 3D Face Refresh’- a procedure designed to subtly tweak multiple areas of the face with a natural looking result. Essentially this is a safe and standardised approach to dermal filler for those in the younger age category.

Patient wellbeing

Patient wellbeing is extremely important to me. I believe that achieving true alignment is just as much about the mental as the physical to drive the VIVA Skin Clinics ethos. Helping clients tap into their sense of self and delivering results that make each individual feel more comfortable with themselves is at the core of my practice and everything we do at VIVA.

Putting patient wellbeing first and offering them honest advice is key to maintaining loyal customers. Further to that, offering aftercare guidance and leaving your door open to patients to come back for reviews and tweaks, again allows for the development of client/patient trust. Ultimately putting the patient first and above your clinic’s profitability is paramount to long-term success.

For budding aesthetic practitioners, this saturated industry can seem like a minefield and the idea of starting your own practice is no doubt a daunting one. That said, with the right qualifications, the willingness to learn and continuously develop and the drive to create your own practice, a successful clinic is certainly achievable.

About the author

Dr Rupert Critchley

Dr Rupert Critchley is the lead clinician, founder and director of VIVA Skin Clinics. Since beginning his medical career at Kings College more than a decade ago, he has since developed a passion for aesthetics and established a industry-leading practice. Now dedicated to the artistry of working with dermal fillers, developing his own particular techniques and consultation methodology, Dr Rupert takes the time to train up and coming aesthetic practitioners personally.