In Profile: Dr Raj Acquilla

By Kat Cooke / 01 Oct 2015

Dr Raj Acquilla reflects on his career in aesthetics and explains why passion for the specialty is so important to him

“If you truly love your work, then you never work a day in your life”

Dr Raj Acquilla reflects on his career in aesthetics and explains why passion for the specialty is so important to him

As a self-confessed lover of art, beauty and science, it’s difficult for Dr Raj Acquilla to imagine himself in a better-suited career than medical aesthetics. Yet it was a career he fell into simply by chance 14 years ago. “I graduated from Manchester University Medical School in 1999 and was originally involved in dermatology work, mainly performing facial surgery for skin cancers,” Dr Acquilla explains. “We’d remove a tumour and create a good aesthetic result – it was important to me that I always made a nice scar. But then we started to experiment with things like chemical peels, fillers, laser and botulinum toxin. People started to remark that their skin texture, quality and tone looked more youthful; so my interest just evolved from there.”

The aesthetic industry was in its infancy when Dr Acquilla joined a large cosmetic surgery group, where he completed his training. “The flagship clinic was a mansion house in Cheshire – downstairs we performed the non-surgical procedures and upstairs we performed the surgical procedures.” His time with the group was a happy one, but he eventually felt the need to move on. “We were like a small family, but then the industry evolved and became much more commercial. My focus has always been excellence and quality so I launched my own boutique clinic in 2003 to deliver a luxurious and personal service.” 

Continuing to keep up-to-date with the latest techniques and technologies, Dr Acquilla has become a UK ambassador, global Key Opinion Leader and masterclass trainer in the use of botulinum toxin and fillers. He believes it’s vital to continue learning, explaining, “Education is extremely important to me. I’ve travelled to 36 countries, in more than five continents across the world to teach my colleagues, so I’ve got to keep up with every development within the industry.”

Performing to the highest standard possible is also essential for Dr Acquilla and he is very precise in his assessment of patients for restoration and beautification. “I use a detailed geometric approach to measure facial symmetry, proportion and harmony. I assess facial vertical fifths, horizontal thirds and PHI ratio (1:1.618) to calculate the areas of deficiency, formulate the exact injection strategy and definitive endpoints for treatment. This results in optimum aesthetic results; in other words, the patient looks the most beautiful that they possibly can in terms of balance and harmony. It’s all about the results for me. I love that balance of art and science and how you can create and restore beauty – with so many developments and new technologies being introduced, these are very exciting times for the aesthetics specialty and results have never been better!” 

While modest about his personal achievements, Dr Acquilla seems more excited about the developments in aesthetic treatments. “It’s a constant evolution! Where we were ten years ago is a distant memory to where we are right now. So where we will be in five to ten years from now is going to be astonishing. At present, I would say we’re now on the edge of confidently saying that, in many cases, injectables are superior to surgery to restore structure and augment soft tissue deflation and descent. Injection facelift has never been so impactful; owing to new technologies in HA, as well as practitioner techniques.”

For practitioners who want to get their foot-in-the-door, Dr Acquilla’s advice is to, “Do it for the right reason”. He explains, “My passion and motivation was all based on what I truly love, which is art, beauty, science, creativity and a quest for excellence. Just like a musician playing live or a footballer scoring goals; if you truly love your work, then you never work a day in your life.”

What treatment do you enjoy giving the most?

I do love lifting the face; injection-based facelifting is really the cornerstone of what I do. It gives the highest degree of satisfaction to the patient and shapes and beautifies the face.

What technological tool best compliments you as a practitioner?

Fillers. If you were to take an old-fashioned filler, it would be thick and lumpy, and give an unnatural result. Now fillers are lighter, softer, integrate into the tissue better and give a sophisticated, more natural result.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?

My dear friend and mentor, Arthur Swift, always reminds me to follow my passion and dreams and never ever compromise on quality. I think this leads to happiness, fulfillment and great pleasure in what you do.

Do you have an industry pet hate?

I spend a lot of my time picking up the pieces of some of the terrible work that’s going on in the UK and correcting complications from practitioners using poor quality techniques and products – largely because of a lack of regulation here. This drives questionable aesthetic results and can distort the consumer perception of acceptable standards. For example, the increasing trend for overinflated lips posted all over social media.

What aspects do you enjoy most about the industry?

I love the creativity, the art, restoring beauty and turning people’s lives around from negative to positive. As we age the facial posture becomes sad and tired. Accurate and detailed treatment restores the perception of serenity, contentment and health. I tend to under promise and over deliver which ultimately makes my patients very happy.

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