Let’s start off with a bit of background on the basis of the regulatory guidelines in Malaysia.
The Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) has recognised the potential risk that comes along with unchecked and unregulated aesthetic practices. As a result, the MOH Malaysia formulated the guidelines in order to protect the public as well as to regulate this medical aesthetic field.
Aesthetic medicine is not similar to other medical specialties with clearly defined training background and experience. It is not classified as a speciality under the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).
The aesthetic medicine guidelines stipulate that aesthetic medicine is a special area of interest in medicine and registered medical practitioners can choose to pursue it after their formal medical training and completion of the compulsory service to the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH). MOH requires medical doctors to show prove of their proficiency in the field of medical aesthetic and undergo stringent assessment prior to awarding them the Letter of Credentialing and Privileging (LCP) in aesthetic medicine for them to practice aesthetic medicine independently.
Today, there are many medical aesthetic clinics around Malaysia run by certified medical aesthetic doctors. Hence, the next time you thought of doing some aesthetic procedure, make sure you check if the practitioner is certified with a LCP.
You can also check if your doctor is a registered medical doctor licensed to practice in Malaysia at Malaysian Medical Council website.
Nowadays, it is not easy to tell apart a medical aesthetic clinic and a beauty centre. This is because most medical aesthetic clinics do not have the typical boring clinic design that we are used to. In addition to that, many beauty centres are using words like “doc”, “medical”, “laser” and “Aesthetic” in their brand name. Some doctors even resorted to opening beauty centres to avoid tedious restriction and monitoring by Ministry of Health. We would like to give you a simple tip to determine if a centre you are visiting is a registered medical premise or it is a beauty centre. Just look closely at its signboard.
Whereas, a premise registered as a beauty centre would have the word “Pusat Kecantikan” at the left-hand corner of their main signage.
Who do you see for your skin problems? Should you see your regular doctor? Should you go to a beauty centre and consult your esthetician or a beautician? Can an aesthetic doctor carry out a liposuction operation? What about plastic surgeons, what do they do? What’s the role of dermatologists or skin specialists in all of this? Who is really a skin specialist? Let’s dive deeper into these closely related but often mixed-up terms.
Let’s categorised these related professionals accordingly.
Beauticians or Aestheticians
An esthetician or beautician is a person who has been trained in beauty care. This includes facial massage, manicure, pedicure and some basic medical science like anatomy and physiology related to the face and body. An esthetician or beautician is not allowed to use needles or to give injections (e.g. botox etc.) and certainly not allowed to do surgery on you. However, the legality may differ from country to country. As a summary, training and study in esthetics school prepares a student for work with:
- Body wraps
- Makeup application
- Skin analysis
The focus for both professions is slightly different. One focuses on ‘normal’ and enhancement of beauty, and the other focuses on the treatment of ‘problem’ skin. Do you know which is which?
Do take note beauticians at beauty salons are not allowed to offer ‘injectable treatments’ such as Botox and dermal fillers to customers who frequent their premises. Please be informed that only trained and qualified medical professionals are authorised to administer injectable treatments like Botox and dermal fillers.
Skin Specialists or Dermatologists
The main difference between a dermatologist and an esthetician is the training background for each profession. If you go see a dermatologist or a skin specialist, you’re seeing a doctor. This means that he or she completed medical school and a few years of residency at a medical facility. Dermatologists have received additional specialized training and education in treating skin related problems.
A dermatologist or a skin specialist is trained to:
- Find out the root cause and treat all skin disorders, abnormalities and diseases
- Write prescriptions based on knowledge of skin care pharmaceuticals
- Perform minor surgery on skin abnormalities
If you have tried many products and see many beauticians for your skin problems and the problem is still there or getting worse, you really should see a dermatologist or a skin specialist.
The human skin is not as simple as it looks. Sometimes the problem may be related to certain food or drugs that you are taking or external chemicals (e.g. make-up, cosmetics). Definitely, no amount of facial massage would solve that problem.
Many dermatologists nowadays also offer aesthetic procedures such as dermal fillers and the various lasers, as there is a high market demand for these feel-good procedures.
In accordance to the Guidelines on Aesthetic Medical Practice for Registered Medical Practitioners by the Ministry of Health Malaysia, a dermatologist should have an LCP Chapter 2 license in order to perform aesthetic related procedures.
Related: Best Skin Specialists in Malaysia
Most Malaysians are confused between the roles and areas of speciality of aesthetic doctors, dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
Aesthetic doctors, or sometimes called aesthetic physicians by the public, are general practitioner medical doctors who have a special interest in aesthetic medicine or to put it simply from a legal stand point, a GP with a LCP.
Aesthetic doctors offer non-invasive and minimally-invasive procedures such as botulinum toxin injection, dermal fillers, chemical peels, various lasers and weight-loss programmes. Attending courses alone is insufficient to make the aesthetic doctor a good one. A doctor has to pick up the injection or laser skills by getting lots of practice.
By doing the procedure over and over again, and by attending workshops and training sessions, their skills and experience improve over time. Besides offering aesthetic procedures, some aesthetic doctors combine their practice with general practice (GP). They still attend to the regular outpatient patients who have acute and chronic conditions such as cough and colds, hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
There are also aesthetic doctors who prefer to focus just on aesthetic procedures alone and do not offer GP services. This is because some aesthetic clients prefer to have a degree of exclusivity and privacy.
A good number of aesthetic doctors also offer skin disease consultation and treatment, as skin conditions tend to go hand in hand with aesthetic procedures. For example, besides the usual antibiotics and anti-acne creams, clients with pimples can also be offered salicylic acid chemical peels or Light Emitting Diode (LED) phototherapy simultaneously for better results.
An aesthetic doctor should have a license known as LCP (Letter of Privileging and Credentialing Chapter 1) for aesthetic procedures from the Ministry of Health of Malaysia. In order to verify whether your doctor is licensed to do medical aesthetic procedures in Malaysia, you can check whether they have a LCP license over here.
Related: Best Aesthetic Clinics in Malaysia
Plastic surgeon are doctors who specialise in reconstructive surgery. They first have to train as general surgeons before they can sub-specialise as a plastic surgeon.
Plastic surgery is defined as a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease. Plastic surgery is intended to correct dysfunctional areas of the body and is reconstructive in nature. Though cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is the most well known kind of plastic surgery, plastic surgery itself is not necessarily considered cosmetic and includes many types of reconstructive surgery, cranio-facial surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns.
To regulate the booming aesthetic industry, the Health Ministry has come up with a regulatory body for aesthetic doctors, dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
A panel comprising the three groups of doctors will decide on the aesthetic procedures that each individual doctor is allowed to practice by awarding them with a Letter of Credentialing and Privileging (LCP).
This is done by conducting interviews and written exams to ensure that only qualified and experienced doctors perform the relevant procedures.
For more information on LCP (Letter of Credentialing and Privileging) license from the Ministry of Health i.e. LCP Chapter 1,2 and 3, you can check out Guidelines on Aesthetic Medical Practice for Registered Medical Practitioners by the Ministry of Health Malaysia.
In order to verify whether your doctor is licensed to do cosmetic surgery in Malaysia, you can check whether they have a LCP Chapter 3 license over at the National Registry Of Registered Medical Practitioners (RMP) With LCP Chapter 3.
Related: Best Plastic Surgeons in Malaysia
Most aesthetic clinics in Malaysia do offer ‘free’ consultation. Do call up to confirm with the clinic before your visit. First consultation charges might be around RM 50 for aesthetic doctors and more (RM 100) if you decide to seek aesthetic treatment with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
If you are seeking regular treatment at the clinic, you will be reviewed each session and consultation charges are usually waived. However, if you see the same doctor for another concern or body part, your doctor may charge consultation fee. Related: Aesthetic Treatment Prices in Malaysia
The aesthetic clinic space is very competitive and there are ‘market’ rates for standardised treatments like Ulthera and laser treatments. Sometimes premium rates are charged as a clinic is deemed premium or if a doctor is highly sought after. In most reputable clinics, the charges are transparent and can be found easily either online or with a quick enquiry.
One major difference could be the machines that they have available. There is no clinic that will carry all the different machines required to treat all aesthetic problems.
For example, if you have telangiectasia, where your blood vessels are widened and cause red lines/patterns on your skin, you will be looking for a place with a laser to treat vascular lesions rather than a q-switch machine. If you were looking to have fillers or thread lifts done, you would want to make sure that the doctor has a good reputation for providing good aesthetic outcomes. Depending on your concerns, the search for the best doctor/aesthetic clinic for you will be different.
- Anti-ageing – filler, botox, skin boosters, rejuran, lasers, ultrasound and radio-frequency skin tightening devices
- Active acne – medications, topical creams, chemical peels, pulse-dye lasers
- Acne scars – lasers, subcision, chemical peels, fractional RF
- Pigmentation – topical prescription creams, chemical peels, lasers
- Keloid scars – Lasers, steroidal injections
- Body contouring – ultrasound and radiofrequency devices, cryolipolysis
- Hair Transplant – follicular unit extraction hair transplant, eyebrow transplant, beard transplant
This is an incomplete list of conditions and treatments. The list goes on as newer technologies and techniques are available and launched from time to time.
An aesthetic doctor should keep up to date with the latest trends and developments and recommend you the most suitable treatment based on evidence-based medicine customised for you. For example in treating acne scarring, the gold standard treatment may be a fractional CO2 laser. However, a fractional pico laser will be a safer option for you if you are of Fitzpatrick Skin type 3 or 4. The Fitzpatrick scale is a classification of skin colour and how your skin responds to Ultraviolet (UV) light.
There is not a single treatment that will be the best treatment for all scars or pigmentation. An experienced doctor who has a special interest in treating a certain condition will be able to give you the best advice. It is ideal that an aesthetic doctor has good experience with every condition but each doctor’s personal experience is different. Some doctors may be more experienced with lasers and less with injecting fillers, and even an experienced injector may have more experience injecting a specific type of fillers over the others. The best treatment options are often different from one customer to another and are best discussed based on the doctor’s personal experience customised to your needs and expectations.
- Going to a clinic where the doctor is a regular full time doctor. If you prefer to be seen by the same doctor who can track your progress as most patients, it is important that you choose a clinic that has a regular full-time doctor.
- Transparent pricing. This will allow patients to be able to compare treatment available and not having to top-up with each treatment so that a ‘full’ treatment can be done. A trustworthy clinic will be able to clarify its charges on the first visit.
- Comfort with the doctor. With the first consultation, you should be able to establish rapport with your doctor. If you disagree with your doctor, or have a difference in aesthetic sense, it will be unwise to go ahead with treatment.
- Be careful of clinics that guarantee you 100% results. As in everything in medicine, there is no 100% guarantee. For the same treatment done on two different patients, one might have better results than the other.
- Machine availability. Go to the clinic that has the machine available for the treatment that you seek. When you make an appointment, let them know if your concerns or if you have a specific technology you want to try, make sure they have that machine available. If it’s Emsculpt you are looking for, ensure the clinic has ‘Emsculpt’ and not some similar sounding machines such as Msculpt or Esculpt.
- Price point. Ask for a quotation from a few of the clinics that you have shortlisted. Comparing the price will help you better decide the estimated price. Ask for a realistic projection of the number of sessions needed. For example, if you are advised to have 4-5 syringes of fillers done but you only have budget for one then it maybe best that you do not proceed.
1. Ko Skin Specialist – Aesthetic Clinics in Selangor
Founded by Dr. Ko Chung Beng in 1997, KO Skin Specialist has been providing a comprehensive range of in-depth services from dermatology to cosmetic surgery. Dr Ko’s group has the largest network of skin clinic branches in Malaysia and it’s famous for its various billboard advertisements around Selangor.
Head Office: Klinik Pakar Kulit Ko Sdn Bhd MOH License: LCP Chapter 2 10A-22A, Jalan Temoh, Off Jalan Goh Hock Huat, 41400 Klang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia.
Address: P-G-022, PJ Centrestage, Jalan 13/1, Seksyen 13, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.3. Premier Clinic – Aesthetic Clinics in Kuala Lumpur (KL)
One of Malaysia’s leading aesthetic clinic group, Premier Clinic believes that all individuals are beautiful and aims to bring your inner beauty to the surface. Branches in Bangsar Baru, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Mont Kiara and Puchong, as well as in KL City.
4. Beverly Wilshire – Aesthetic Clinics in Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Selangor
Beverly Wilshire has 3 branches in Klang Valley, 2 in Kuala Lumpur and one in Petaling Jaya. Beverly Wilshire (KL) is a medical centre licensed by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, specialising in the combination of medical aesthetic treatments, anti-ageing medicine, cosmetic surgery, dental aesthetics and hair restoration. They are backed by registered board-certified plastic surgeons, licensed and credentialed aesthetic doctors, as well as certified anaesthesiologists.
Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre – HQ
MOH License: LCP Chapter 3
Address: Level 6, 8 & 9, Kenanga Tower, No. 237 Jalan Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
5. Toscana Medi Clinic at Publika, Hartamas
Clinic Location and Address: Unit 01 & 02, Level G4, Block D5, Solaris Dutamas, Publika, No.1, Jalan Dutamas 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
6. ARC Medical Group
ARC Aesthetic, Anti-aging and Wellness Clinic – Mid Valley Branch (HQ) MOH License: LCP Chapter 3 No. 31-11, Penthouse Signature Office Suite, The Boulevard, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
7. My Clinic
My Clinic has 4 branches in Klang Valley and 1 in Johor: Damansara Utama, Puchong, Melawati, Cheras and Johor Bahru.
8. Bella Clinic
Address: 16, Jalan Radin Bagus 1, Sri Petaling, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
9. IDO’S Clinic
10. Aesthetic Clinic Shah Alam – Avisena Specialist Hospital
Address: No. 3, Jalan Perdagangan 14/4, Seksyen 14, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. Related: Best 10 Aesthetic Clinics in Malaysia
Remember that whether you need a dermal filler or a botox, no one clinic or doctor will be the best in every treatment for you. This means that you will need to find a specific doctor who is among the best in a specific procedure or treatment. All the best and stay safe.
sources from https://www.onedaymd.com/2020/11/consumer-guide-on-how-to-choose-best.html