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Do branded skin clinics deliver

There was a time when physicians were people with profound knowledge and exemplary medical skills. They were few in numbers even in large cities and it took a great deal of effort to find one in the vicinity. With the mushrooming of medical colleges across the globe, the number of medical practitioners multiplied. In developed countries the doctor-patient ratio is much higher than in the Third World. In countries like India, which is one of the fastest growing economies of the world, the ratio is dismal even in present times.

A large number of medical practitioners of various specialities are available in highly populated cities around the world. However, there is a new trend that is catching the imagination of businesses across the globe. Physicians are coming together and setting up huge hospitals and diagnostic centres.

Glut of cosmetic clinics
Lately cosmetic clinics and laser centres are also coming up in a big way. Many of these centres advertise their services through newspapers, magazines, cable television and radio channels as well as through their own websites. Many of these advertisements are colourful with catchy headlines. Some of them even print ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs showing amazing results. Bald pates seem to be full of hair after treatment at some clinics. Another entices young men and women to line up for cosmetic peels, skin polishing or “micro-dermabrasion” to tone up their scarred face in a jiffy! And of course, there are others which promises to “polish your back” before the evening party! The results are so dramatic that anyone who sees the advertisement would like to waste no time in getting it done.

All these developments are great news for the grooming industry. They do a lot of good to improve appearances and lift the morale of people who are upset about their acne or scarred and blemished faces. It is also a boon to an airhostess or an upcoming actor who is struggling to look gorgeous. People who were unaware about what a dermatologist or skin specialist could do are now getting easy information about how they can transform their looks to an award-winning role.

Non-advertised clinics
Many dermatologists and cosmetologists practice quietly in their own clinics and draw a decent clientele. You may have come across a skin specialist in your locality too, who provides these forms of therapy. Many of these specialists are known to deliver equally good or even better results. Yet, there is a great deal of confusion about whom to consult – the neighbourhood dermatologist or the advertised Cosmetic Center. This brings us to the question posed by the title. It is a query that people commonly pose to friends and relatives, medical representatives, chemists or even to their family physicians.

While both types of clinics have their pros and cons, here are some points which will help the reader to choose. These are simple guidelines which will differentiate the two categories.

Table 1

Advertised high-profile clinic

Practising physician’s clinic

Usually has many branches

Solo clinic, usually

Large number of attending staff

Few assistants, depending on the volume of practice

Great, professional décor. Uniform pattern at all branches

Décor of the clinic may vary from area to area and vary with the physician’s taste

Have the financial muscle to invest in high-end equipment

May not have all types of equipment

Doctor on duty may vary from time to time.

Same doctor at each visit

High end machines used for diagnosis

Machinery may not be used. Physician’ skills are primary.

Same physician may not be present on the next visit, if something goes wrong

Same physician takes responsibility each time.

Usually expensive

Cost of treatment may vary.

Usually sells their own range of products

Does not sell. Usually prescribes medications.

One or more branches may fold up, if not financially viable

Physician usually will stick to his area of practice

Based on one’s own judgement the patient should choose the clinic or physician best suited to himself or herself.

“I’m fleeced”
It is a fact that if corporates do not invest in highly expensive equipment and earn profits, latest medical technology will not be available to the common man. Yet, medical practice being a very delicate science, the patient himself should list his priorities before deciding to step into the clinic. There are instances where people who cannot afford expensive treatment visit these advertised clinics and complain that they have been ‘fleeced.’ In some of these cases it is the patient himself who has unknowingly chosen the wrong destination.

In conclusion, if you think that a certain type of treatment is not available with your trusted skin specialist then it is fair to visit the branded cosmetology centre. However, one should familiarise oneself with the cost and the expected outcome of any fancy treatment before taking a decision.


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