Gill Meets Norman Waterhouse
Heal Gel was launched by Heal Care Products in the mid noughties by five of the world’s leading plastic surgeons, and a renowned biochemist.
GS: There are many ‘doctor’ brands out there. What makes yours different?
NW: Really, we simply wanted to ensure that our patients were taking the best possible care of their skin after treatment. Many of our patients divulged that they were using products that we knew to possess only placebo value. Looking at what was then available, we identified a need that was not being met; a single effective treatment for post operative skin. We spent three years refining the formula, to address all forms of compromised skin conditions. To begin with, it was used exclusively by our patients, but we became progressively aware that it was being applied for all kinds of complaints from blemishes for teenage skin to rosacea, which as you know is often difficult to treat.
GS: How did you form your team?
NW: As you well know, plastic surgery has grown very rapidly in popularity in recent years. At the same time, the industry has becoming increasingly commercialised, and standards of care have been variable. As five friends and colleagues, we met regularly to decide on codes of best practice and regulation for plastic and aesthetic surgery in the UK. We therefore felt that we were well placed to produce a service that set the standard for private practice in a model that could be rolled out throughout the UK. This is how our company, My Aesthetics was born. We five surgeons were united by a shared passion for cosmetic surgery and a dedication to delivering the highest standards of surgical care. Uniquely for the time, for a national organisation, My Aesthetics would only use surgeons with BAAPS and BAPRAS accreditation. We were particularly focused on providing the best possible breast surgery at an affordable price, and this lead to us launching our subsidiary company, MyBreast. During the latest expose of the plastic surgery industry in the UK, My Breast has been once again vindicated as being one of the few large providers of breast surgery to have never used PIP implants. Moreover, it provides outstanding long term care packages which are now shown to be alarmingly absent in the mainstream market.
We five came together at an exciting time to make a difference in an industry. Because we love what we do, and were able to offer a combined industry perspective of over 70 years, we knew we could make a product that could stand out in an already crowded market. We have an unrivalled collective publishing history on a broad spectrum of key areas from free radicals to delivery systems, anti-oxidants, to specialist procedures such as complex wounds.
GS: You describe yourselves as being five of the world’s leading plastic surgeons. Tell me a little more about your different fields of specialism.
NW: I’d like to start with the late Martin Kelly, a great friend and colleague at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. We worked together in the Craniofacial Unit, where I was Director. We also co-founded a charity called Facing The World, in 2003. Martin was passionate about providing surgery for some of the world’s poorest and most disfigured children and this charity took us to Africa, The Middle East and beyond. Martin wrote, taught, lectured, and practiced with immense dedication, and left a considerable legacy of research to the profession, particularly in the area anti-oxidants. Professor Peter Butler, is also teaching, and currently heads the UK Facial Transplantation Research Team based at the Royal Free Hospital. Like Simon Withey, he specialises in complex wounds and has produced an extraordinary number of peer reviewed papers in this area. Patrick Mallucci works at an equally international level, teaching, advising, and practicing, and also acting as a spokesman for the profession in the media. As well as continuing to develop my work with Facing the World, I run a private clinic in Harley Street.
GS: So between you, you have brought a variety of remarkable contributions to the world of plastic and aesthetic surgery, and if our customers at VH are anything to go by, a great customer following for Heal Gel. What next?
NW: It has been really encouraging seeing the response to Heal Gel. We love getting feedback from those that benefit from it, in a really surprisingly wide range of ways. It is great to think that it is as useful for a teenager with spots to a pensioner with dry, itchy skin. There have been some really touching accounts of patients with serious post-op issues, people that have been given immense relief from use of the gel. And of course, girls who just want firmer skin around their eyes for a special event. The anecdotes hail from Hollywood to Hampstead. If we’ve had a single criticism it has been that the jar is too small! So this made us to think about producing a larger one for use on wider areas. We also noticed an increasing number of people found it really helpful with fine lines and wrinkles, so we have decided to build this function into a superb anti-ageing complex, and this is due to become available in September this year.
GS: Rumour has it, VH is to have an online exclusive for this.
NW: Watch this space! Another large percentage of customers love how soothing it is in the delicate under eye area, so again we’ve had fun working on a definitive gel formula that takes all the ‘repair’ benefits of Heal Gel and brings particular focus to the need for relief from puffiness, and those stubborn dark circles. I can’t tell you any more, as naturally we are working to the wire on getting these formulations absolutely peerless, and we are naturally our own sternest critics.