“Aesthetics is such an evolving science that I need to be at the front of it”
After being one of the first aesthetic practitioners to introduce botulinum toxin to the UK, Dr David Eccleston has since grown a leading clinic and established his own training academy.
Dr Eccleston was born and bred in Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham, conducting his medical degree at Birmingham Medical School and qualifying in 1987. His initial enthusiasm lay with dermatology, as he says, “I found that the skin taught me so much about underlying disease processes and it was really a reflection of the personality of the individual. ”His interest grew, and he trained at the Birmingham Skin Centre before entering cosmetic dermatology in 1994. He received training from Drs Jean and Alastair Carruthers, who first discovered that botulinum toxin can be used to treat glabellar lines, hence becoming one of the first UK practitioners to learn about toxin’s aesthetic usage in 1999.
He does not underestimate the privilege of being involved in the birth of aesthetic medicine in the UK, saying, “We were actually making a difference. I know that to many people outside the aesthetics specialty it may sound silly and vain, but when your patient looks in the mirror and sees a miserable, angry person looking back at them, it makes them feel miserable and angry. But, if the person is relaxed and chilled and doesn’t look stressed out after toxin treatment, that gives positive feedback and therefore can completely transform the lives of our patients.”
In 1999, Dr Eccleston opened his own clinic – MediZen – just down the road from his childhood home in Sutton Coldfield. In the preceding two decades, the clinic has grown to house five medical practitioners across nine treatment rooms, offering injectables, skincare regimens, radiofrequency, CO2 laser, weight management services and more. He values the variety he offers his patients, commenting, “I like a broad portfolio. I think if you just become an expert in one thing, then it’s a very narrow level of expertise and one’s career can be quite short because eventually, you start sounding like a scratched record.”
As well as being passionate about amazing aesthetic results, Dr Eccleston is deeply invested in responsible practice, with aesthetic procedures delivered solely by medical professionals. He is a faculty member of the Aesthetic Complications Expert Group World and a member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine. He also set up his own training academy – MediZen Academy – 15 years ago, where he teaches qualified doctors, dentists and nurses safe and effective techniques for injecting filler and toxin.
To ensure he stays abreast of the latest treatments and products, Dr Eccleston set up an in-clinic clinical study facility in 2002, from which he has conducted more than 30 studies on various hyaluronic acid fillers and six different toxins. He is passionate about remaining at the forefront of medical research, commenting, “It’s such an evolving science that I need to be at the front of it. For me to stand up on stage as an expert, I need to have the credibility of being able to list the pros and cons of each product and treatment."
Dr Eccleston is a key opinion leader for pharmaceutical company Allergan, medical aesthetic company Evolus, aesthetic manufacturer Cutera and medical-grade skincare brand AlumierMD, and has taught and spoken for them all on the international stage. He was a founding member of Allergan’s Medical Institute (AMI) Faculty, and is now AMI’s national complications manager, helping spread the word on responsible practice.
Having been in the industry throughout its rise to popularity in the UK, he is in a brilliant position to comment on the incredible evolution the specialty has seen over the years. Dr Eccleston explains that he has noticed that patients are now seeking a more natural look, commenting, “In the olden days, the endpoint, particularly for toxins, was to freeze the muscles completely, but now patients don’t want a pillow face, they don’t want to look frozen.”
He is also excited about the future of addressing cellular ageing and wellness, including weight management, supplements and dietary advice. “We’re moving into the rejuvenation market from an internal point of view rather than just treating the external manifestation,” he says. “I think the term ‘holistic’ is a huge buzzword which is long overdue, and it’s certainly something I’m moving into with enthusiasm and alacrity.”
Dr Eccleston’s journey in aesthetics has not always been easy. At the beginning of his career, he found juggling family life with being a figurehead for the UK aesthetics specialty difficult, while today the biggest challenge is dealing with complications following procedures performed by non-medics. He says, “That’s a real frustration of mine, and it’s something that I’m really passionate about – I wish I had the time to campaign more actively on it.”
He encourages practitioners new to the industry to seek mentorship where they can, and always put medical knowledge first. “Don’t leave your degree and go straight into aesthetics,” he says, “You need to understand everything from a medical point of view. The investment made in training a new doctor or nurse is so huge, that morally I think there is a duty to give something back to the state that’s trained you. I would say learn to consult properly, and also be humble because if you’re not humble, there will always be someone who wants to see you fail.”
Favourite thing about the industry…
Making patients happy and improving their quality of life.
The most popular treatments for patients in your clinic...
Botulinum toxin, combination microneedling, dermal fillers and skin-hydrating injectables.
An ethos you keep in mind throughout your practice…
Be nice – give support freely and ask for it when you need it yourself
Upgrade to become a Full Member to read all of this article.