By: Ruth Kerrison
Created on 07th June 2010
CosmeticSurgeryToday talks to top cosmetic doctor Raj Acquilla about his practice, his philosophy and his top beauty tips...
What inspired you to become a cosmetic doctor?
After completing my medical training at Manchester University, in 1999 I qualified as a GP with a special interest in Dermatology and Minor Surgery.
I was gaining lots of experience in minor facial surgery, often for
skin cancer, and therefore really appreciated the facial anatomy, including the importance of discreet scarring and a good cosmetic outcome.
I'm quite artistic and a bit of a perfectionist so the leap into facial aesthetic medicine was very natural for me. I would say that I truly love my work and feel very fortunate in that respect.
What is your background in the industry and how are you moving forward?
I have gained more than seven years experience in cosmetic medicine and performed over 6,500 cosmetic procedures. In addition to my own cosmetic practice in Cheshire, I have also worked with the UK's largest cosmetic surgery group in Manchester, Liverpool and London.
I have recently launched my new company, Cheshire Cosmetic Ltd, which is a Care Quality Commission registered centre offering cosmetic medical services including surgery, laser treatments and cosmetic dentistry. It's unique because we've created a state-of-the-art facility within an NHS site, giving our patients confidence and a truly comprehensive and quality service.
What makes a good cosmetic doctor, in your eyes?
Knowledge, skill and delivery are all essential, but to me it's really about understanding the patient's needs and surpassing their expectations.
A good cosmetic doctor will have a strong relationship with their patients and can confidently deliver an outcome which looks natural, sympathetic and youthful.
It's about more than just patient satisfaction for me - I am always striving to delight my patients with excellent results time after time.
You are a member of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors - why do you think the association is so important?
We are practising in a relatively unregulated area of medicine. The BACD acts as an official body to promote excellence, safety and professional development. A good example of this is the upcoming Diploma of Cosmetic Medicine.
It's not mandatory to be part of the BACD to practice cosmetic medicine. However, membership does set a gold standard within the speciality, which I see as being essential.
What is the typical consultation process in your clinic?
I always allow plenty of time to explore my patients' cosmetic ideas, concerns and expectations. Most of the time, just listening properly gives me most of the information. Once we have a shared understanding of their unique cosmetic needs it's easy for me to construct a treatment plan, which takes into consideration the patient's timescales and budget.
I often ask patients to dig out old photos from when they looked their best. This way I have a clear idea of what I can realistically work towards by correcting skin problems and restoring volume and proportion in the face.
This type of bespoke service enables me to deliver precise results to delighted patients.
You treat a lot of celebrity patients - what do you think makes them choose you?
I suppose it's because I deliver a bespoke personal service and at the end of the day they are delighted with my work. My practice is also very luxurious and discreet which suits the needs of famous people.
To be honest, it doesn't matter whether I'm treating a celebrity or not, I'll always treat everyone with the same meticulous care and attention.
You offer a wide variety of cosmetic treatments - what do you consider to be the standout treatment or product of recent years?
I've been really impressed with the Dermaroller. My approach towards skin regeneration and scar treatment has always been less invasive and more intrinsic.
Despite the trend towards strong ablative procedures such as CO2 laser resurfacing and deep peels, I have always been a firm believer in the skin as an incredible organ with a capacity to renew itself.
The Dermaroller produces thousands of microscopic columns in the skin with minimal trauma and downtime. The natural wound repair mechanism results in tighter, plumper and smoother skin.
This has been of great interest to some of my celebrity patients as there is no need to hide away for two weeks, unlike with deep peels and ablative resurfacing.
What are your top beauty tips for the summer?
There are five key elements to an effective anti-ageing skincare routine:
1. Glycolic or phytic acid to strip away skin debris and dead cells
2. Hydroquinone (four per cent), which regulates pigmentation
3. Tretinoin (0.05 per cent), which improves collagen production
4. Ascorbic acid (ten per cent) in the form of vitamin C serum as this is a valuable anti-oxidant
5. SPF 35 or above to protect the skin from UV damage
You can either introduce these ingredients to your regular skincare products or follow a prescribed routine such as the Obagi Nu-Derm System.
Available from: For more information on Dr Acquilla and
a full list of the treatments he offers, visit www.rajacquilla.com or call 01606 882 115