With people getting more self conscious, cosmetology has become one of the most sought after branches in medicine. Patricia Mascarenhas cuts into the career opportunities that come with it.
In this modern world, more and more people seek ways to slow down the appearance/visibility of ageing or improve parts of their body they are dissatisfied with. The idea of growing old gracefully-wrinkles and all- seems anathema and self improvement has become a necessity. Skin care, exercise, and nutrition are important but can only do so much. Real structural change requires more. This is where the cosmetic procedures industry comes in. “Cosmetic surgery provides people an opportunity to change or enhance their personality and physical appearance through surgical or non surgical techniques,” says Dr. Mohan Thomas, chief surgeon, The Cosmetic Surgery Institute, Mumbai.
In India, the industry is booming and the demand for professionals is on a high rise. “It has doubled over the last five years. Earlier, we operated only on patients from metropolitan cities but now we have people from all backgrounds,” says Dr. Manojkumar J Manwani, cosmetic surgeon. Dr Jamuna Pai, cosmetologist, chairperson and founder, Blush Clinics also agrees, “The demand can be gauged by the fact that there is a cosmetology clinic in almost every block, much like there used to be a general practitioner (GP) in each block in earlier years,” she says.
Today, a career in cosmetology/dermatology is lucrative. Most hospitals now have dermatology/cosmetology centres and the increased awareness in people has ensured a rise in demand for treatments. But the path to becoming a good surgeon is a long and demanding one. “You have to be patient because there is a long waiting period till you start earning and the learning will never stop,” says Manwani. Students must complete many levels of training and education before they start practicing. “Having an MBBS degree is very important. Apart from this, there are also courses at the diploma level, which can be pursued after graduation or completion of 10+2. However, these are not qualified doctors,” she informs.
“Having knowledge of the subject is not enough you need to have surgical skills and know the art of cosmetology,” says Dr Rashmi Manjunath, MD dermatology, Nu cosmetic Clinic. “You need to enter this discipline not with a business mind but with great awe or else you’ll end up being just another carpenter,” advices Thomas.
Having an eye for beauty is no easy task. Some say this is one of most demanding form of surgery. “The stress and pressure one has to endure when beautiful patients come seeking more enhancements is not easy especially when the doctor is not experienced,” informs Thomas. Everyone wants to look better but that that does not mean that it is advisable for everyone to get surgical or non surgical options. These doctors need to know the patient’s history and make sure it is in her/his best interest. “We have many young kids that come in to get various treatments just because they have either gone through a breakup or are suffering from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) where they obsess over their body and get many procedures done,” says Thomas adding that these patients need to be advised and counseled correctly.
To be able to counsel patients to seek the right direction one needs experience. “After qualifying, students should begin their careers as assistants to an expert or in clinics at least for a year,” advices Manawai. After all the nurturing, they can either continue to work for a hospital or start their own clinics. The earning depends on how well and how much he/she is doing. “A good qualified doctor can expect Rs 70,000 to 1, 00,000 a month,” informs Manjunath.
At the end of it there is no magic or sweet talk that can keep one in business. It’s only the earnest respect for the discipline and a passionate desire to help someone feel good about themselves.
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