Since leaving Sydney, Australia 25 years ago, Dr Rita Rakus has become a wellestablished cosmetic doctor and aesthetic trainer in the UK
“Being at the cutting edge of new technology is wonderful”
In a 1994 review, a journalist so impressed with Dr Rita Rakus’ subtle approach to lip volumising entitled her the ‘London Lip Queen’, and it has stuck with her ever since. “It’s a great compliment,” says Dr Rakus. “In those days, lips were very artificial. I specialise in a very subtle lip and try to make patients look slightly more youthful – no one would even know that they’ve had any treatment done.” After qualifying as a medical practitioner in Sydney, Dr Rakus had decided to move to the UK in 1989 to learn more about non-invasive aesthetic procedures. “The aesthetics field was quite advanced here,” she explains. “There were more opportunities in the UK to further my training and development as a practitioner.” In 2000, Dr Rakus met Dr Patrick Bowler and together they formed the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors (BACD - now known as the BCAM) and, alongside other industry experts, developed an official training programme for aesthetic practitioners. Dr Rakus is still actively involved in training and lecturing, travelling frequently in order to stay up-to-date with emerging technology and techniques. “In the clinic we tend to stay at the cutting edge of technology and really specialise in providing excellent treatment and training,” says Dr Rakus. Based next to Harrods, in Knightsbridge, and with satellite clinics throughout the UK, Dr Rakus sees patients from all over the world. “Aesthetic medicine is now so broad, and accepted. Around 25% of our patients are male and we see people from all walks of life,” she says. As many more people continue to work until later in life, Dr Rakus believes that a 60-year-old is no longer seen as ‘old’. “These patients are working for longer and want to keep looking fresh and on the ball,” she explains. “They still feel young inside – until they look in the mirror. I can improve problems, such as sun damage, and get patients looking younger.” Dr Rakus has won both the Ulthera Ultra Premiere Treatment Provider Award and the Premier Pellevé Partner Award. She has treated over 3,000 patients to date, making her the world’s biggest user of Pellevé-GlideSafe. But the cosmetic doctor says her biggest achievement is being able to make people happy. “My ethos is to try to make at least one person happy every day,” she says. As a practitioner, Dr Rakus believes that the most important thing to be aware of is the patient’s individual circumstances. “Whether they’re a working mum or a model, everyone’s got different needs, budgets and situations in life,” she explains. Not everyone wants the plastic look, she claims; some patients just want to feel more confident during their day-to-day life. “People react differently to you, if you feel better about yourself,” says Dr Rakus. “It could just be a little frown line that’s annoying a patient – we can soften that line and cheer them up.” As a trustee of Hand in Hand, a charity that supports impoverished Indian villages, Dr Rakus is actively involved in raising money to fund schooling, ecology, literacy and citizenship. “My patients come from every field so I always talk to them about the different things they do,” she says. “This gives me the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of charity work.” Dr Rakus does note that aesthetics can sometimes be a difficult industry to work in. She says, “It takes special skills, but if you’re an artistic person and enjoy correcting problems for people then it’s a great pleasure and can be an extremely satisfying. If you prefer looking through a microscope then aesthetics is not for you.” For newly qualified practitioners, Dr Rakus advises that travel is the best way to stay at the forefront of the industry. She says, “Go to conferences, spend time with experts and find out what’s going on in other countries – broaden your horizons.” She adds, “But always make sure you enjoy it. If you find that aesthetics isn’t for you then change your specialty.” Reflecting on her career, Dr Rakus comments that the one thing she would have done differently is to have worried less. “You try to help your patients as much as possible but there will always be the odd patient who has a complication. The most important thing to do is to inform your patients of all the complications that could occur – all you can do is be well prepared. A good network of colleagues to help you out is also useful.”
What treatment do you enjoy giving the most?
I enjoy all aspects of my aesthetic portfolio, but especially love to treat lips.
What technological tool best compliments you as a practitioner?
My radiofrequency, ultrasound and laser machines because they give such good results.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given?
To learn how to assess your patients properly – this will enable you to treat them safely.
Do you have an industry pet-hate?
I think it’s important to share knowledge and help each other. Usually that happens, but it’s such a shame when it doesn’t.
What aspects of the industry do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy meeting new doctors and patients when I’m travelling. I also love to see the technological advances – being at the cutting edge of new technology is wonderful.
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