As deeply troubling cases of patients who’ve risked death and have been left permanently disfigured following botched ‘beauty treatments’ on the UK high-street continue to come to light, Dr Tracey Bell has been on a mission to raise standards in aesthetics and to ensure that the industry is better regulated and patients better educated regarding the risks associated with facial fillers.
An important part of Dr Bell’s mission to raise standards has involved providing education and training to those working in aesthetics, both within her own clinics and beyond, and from October, she will be working with Salford University (in partnership with the ICE Postgraduate Dental Institute and Hospital) to introduce a new PG Cert in Non-Surgical Facial Aesthetics.
Dr Bell has over 20 years’ experience in aesthetic dentistry and 17 years’ experience in facial aesthetics, and is considered a leading authority in both fields. Explaining how her appointment at Salford University came about, she said: “The aesthetics industry has rapidly grown and changed; the demographic changed and with that came risk.”
She added: “I had recently returned to the educational framework, having completed an MA in Dental Law & Ethics, with a Dissertation based on the regulation of injectables in the UK, not only enhancing my overall knowledge of aesthetics throughout the world, but confirming that the UK was one of the worst regulated countries for aesthetics in the world. To me that meant patients were and continue to be at risk. Throughout my research, I spoke to various regulatory bodies including the JCCP (the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners). I am now a trustee on the JCCP, which aims to regulate aesthetic treatments.”
Tracey’s personal interest in aesthetics started in 2002 when, after raising a growing family and opening several successful cosmetic dentistry and aesthetics clinics, she looked at herself in the mirror one day and felt that she looked tired. She briefly contemplated surgery to turn back the clock, but her mother suggested finding out about Botox, which led her on a journey of discovery, both as a patient, and a practitioner.
These days, Dr Bell says: “I wear two hats: I’m me, as a consumer, for example, I sit in that chair because I want to be forever young. And then, I am the practitioner, I want my patients to be safe, I want them to have treatments that work and I want evidence-based results.”
Salford University approached Dr Bell via Professor Cemal Ucer (a leading authority in the world of dentistry) in 2018 and together they have formulated the new course in Non-Surgical Facial Aesthetics.
Dr Bell said: “Professor Ucer was my tutor some 20 years ago and was a fantastic one, so it was a natural progression to work together on delivering this course. I had no hesitation in accepting and it’s an honour to take on the role of Team Lead.”
The course will enable students to enhance their knowledge in Botulinum toxin, fillers and facial aesthetics whilst also being able to demonstrate their level of practical and clinical understanding of these treatments. It will be heavily practical and successful students will obtain 60 credits at level 7 from Salford University.
“Learning is a lifelong commitment and I believe in the sharing of ideas, skills and education. I believe in communication and the old-fashioned system of: Tell, show, do, learn, repeat and review”, said Dr Bell, adding: “I’ve learnt my skills from others and therefore my life and passion for knowledge should be shared in memory of those who taught me.
“I love to achieve. I love to give my best and I have a duty of care to my patients, staff and colleagues to always aspire to be the best. To teach and study is simply second nature.”
Asked whether she had any advice for people considering taking her course, Dr Bell said: “The simple answer is: Just do it. In my opinion, education is key in any profession. Self improvement is a must in a patient centred career and in aesthetics, the skill of the practitioner is key. I really believe that regulation is inevitable and therefore if we look at JCCP guidelines, level 7 is going to be a necessity for all aesthetic injectors who want best practice and clinical skill to put them at the very top of their industry.”
The course will be delivered over two semesters and will ensure that the practitioner is proficient, skilled, knowledgeable and has met industry and academic standards. It is built around those who are either new or experienced in aesthetics and Dr Bell concluded that as greater regulation looms for the aesthetics industry: “I can guarantee it will become industry standard.”
Tracey Bell graduated in Dentistry with Honours from The University of Manchester in 1993. She has continued her education in Dentistry and NSFA over the last 26 years whilst completing a Masters in Dental Law and Ethics at Bedfordshire in 2016 and in 2019 obtaining a Graduate Diploma in Law (commendation).