Apprentice star Dr Leah Totton: I've had to turn away 14-year-olds who come to me for anti-ageing treatments
Apprentice star Leah tells of teen cosmetic work demands
Apprentice winner Dr Leah Totton has revealed how she's faced demands from teenagers to access anti-ageing cosmetic procedures.
The Londonderry doctor said the situation cosmetic surgery providers found themselves in was a "shocking state of affairs".
Her revelations about teen requests come after plastic surgeons said they were worried by the number of young people seeking out cosmetic procedures.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons – whose members carried out 50,122 cosmetic procedures in 2013, a 17% increase on 2012 – claims younger people wanting cosmetic work can be vulnerable and often have self-esteem issues.
Dr Totton, who opened her first skin clinic in London earlier this year, said: "I completely agree with the fact that the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has spoken out about the 17% rise in cosmetic procedures, and in that increase we are seeing a boom in the number of young people."
The youngest person to approach Dr Leah's clinic was just 14-years-old.
"Since we've opened the clinic we've had a lot of publicity and we have had a number of inquiries from people in their teens about anti-ageing procedures.
"Obviously we completely turned them away and enforced a ban on the use of botox on teens within the clinic.
"It's a shocking state of affairs that we have had to go to those lengths to inhibit teens from seeking cosmetic procedures."
Dr Totton said she has also noticed another changing trend among those seeking to have work done.
"There definitely is an increase in popularity of cosmetic procedures across the board and across the sexes as well.
"With regard to the gender divide which was very heavily rooted towards females, we are seeing a shift in that as well, as male grooming becomes more popular.
"The amount of men seeking cosmetic enhancement has also increased.
"We are seeing a changing patient dynamic and the cosmetic patient is no longer the housewife of Beverly Hills that would have been the case maybe 10 years ago."
Dr Totton said there are various reasons why people come to the clinic.
"The key thing is not everybody that comes has issues with self-esteem.
"For some women it's a very empowering experience, and I'm very much about patient autonomy and pro-choice really, in the empowerment of women.
"I feel passionately that we should be able to make our own decisions. But I do feel that there is a sense of societal pressure."
She continued: " I feel that I'm in a situation as a medically trained professional to consult with those people to discuss treatment options that don't always have to be an enhancement procedure.
"We have a division of the clinic that is solely for maintenance, so we offer facials, for example, and non-invasive procedures. For a lot of people, especially when they are in their late 20s, that is the procedure appropriate for them.
"It's all about the consultation with the appropriately trained practitioner who can make sure you are going down the right treatment path," she said.