Dr Daniel Sister reflects on his career in medical aesthetics and explains how he developed an interest for trying new antiageing treatments
Dr Daniel Sister tried retiring from his career as an antiageing and hormone specialist once, but he soon discovered that he was not as good at retirement as he was at working. “I was in my 50s and travelling quite a lot and one day I thought, ‘That’s it! I’m retiring!’ But then I got bored of doing nothing because my friends were still working. So, I began working again, but this time I focused more on aesthetics – that was about 20 years ago,” he explains.
Born in Paris, Dr Sister received his medical doctorate from the Paris Medical School in 1973. “I studied in A&E and general medicine, and specialised in hormone treatments because I always found this field fascinating. My work in the aesthetic specialty began because I was typically helping people who were a bit older and starting to complain about the way they looked, which sparked my interest in the world of aesthetics,” he says.
Dr Sister opened his first clinic on Harley Street around 15 years ago. He says that he finds the specialty ‘totally fascinating’ because he believes that it is a segment of medicine that has seen rapid progression, “When I started I wanted to concentrate on new treatments, but they had to be innovative, safe and efficient. I was among the first in the UK to use products such as Radiesse and the VI Peel and offer treatments such as carboxytherapy. So, in 10 years of practising aesthetics, I have introduced 10 new treatments to the UK.”
It was his fascination with new treatments that encouraged Dr Sister to consider using platelet rich plasma (PRP) for rejuvenation 10 years ago; a treatment that he is very well-known for today due to his developments and adaptations to his treatment protocol.
He says, “One day I stumbled across PRP and I thought it was interesting in principle because no one can be allergic to their own blood, so it ticked the ‘safe’ box. No one was really doing it, so it ticked the ‘innovative’ box. Then came the efficient part. I learnt that it was discovered in 1953 and received a Nobel Prize, so it wasn’t new, but they don’t give out a Nobel Prize for nothing!”
When Dr Sister started using PRP and saw good results, he was frustrated that only the platelet rich plasma was used and not the platelet poor plasma (PPP). He says, “There were some studies showing that PPP stimulates the fibroblasts so I moved from PRP to using all the plasma. I also started to inject differently; at the time it was injected through mesotherapy, but ageing is not just to do with the skin, so I started injecting more deeply to rejuvenate the muscles and bones in the face too. PRP (and PPP) has ticked the ‘innovative, safe and efficient’ boxes for me and now I have performed more than 1,500 treatments.”
Dr Sister says the title ‘Dracula Therapy’, the name and protocol of which is trademarked, came about by accident and was never the intended name. He says, “One day a journalist heard my colleague and I joking about how the PRP procedure made you look like Dracula had bitten you, and they wrote the first article in the press, calling it Dracula Therapy. The article happened to have come out at the same time as a Twilight movie – so we got 900,000 hits on Google in two weeks! The name was not something that was planned and it was not something we wanted, but it just happened so we had to roll with it and it worked!”
His extensive experience in all kinds of aesthetic treatments has led Dr Sister to have a large role in training. He says, “It is so important to share your knowledge and the only way to make progress in this field is by sharing. Training is very interesting, I love it, not because I want to boost my ego and say ‘I am a trainer’ but because we have a lot of treatments now and nobody is perfect in anything. If you master one technique better than others, I think it’s our duty to pass it on.”
Throughout his career, Dr Sister has had the pleasure of watching the aesthetic specialty grow and develop, however, in addition to the lack of regulation in the specialty, he does have another pet hate. “I really dislike it when practitioners don’t stay within their limits. For example, I don’t use laser much because I am not confident in using it correctly. You have to know your limits and what I don’t like is when people think they are better than their limit,” he says.
Upon reflection, Dr Sister says that he never knew his career would turn out this way. He says, “For me, it’s just the way it has happened, so what people need to know is that things happen in life, circumstances change and you either grab opportunities or you don’t.”
I like combining PRP with a lower-face thread lift as I think it gets really nice results.
For many fields of medicine, you don’t really need to be hands on, but in aesthetic medicine you do, so go to different training sessions and find someone to shadow and learn this.
Between 6:30 and 7:30 in the morning when I get to walk my dog. Why? Because it’s quiet and I can think about new projects I’m working on and how I can accomplish these.
With insight there are always things you would have done differently, but it doesn’t mean that if you did them differently it would have worked out either! So, do I regret anything? No, I don’t.