In the year that Botox celebrates its 20th birthday, Marion Falle spoke to Dr John Curran, Lead Physician of the Aesthetic Skin Clinic, who has recently been elected a Fellow of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors, one of the highest accolades in his field.

Would it surprise you to know that some 7,500 people undergo cosmetic treatments of one sort or another in the Channel Islands every year? And that’s just the ones who have relatively non-invasive procedures carried out at the Aesthetic Skin Clinic, where some of the doctors see patients in both its Jersey and Guernsey branches.

That statistic, which I must admit surprised me, is actually just a drop in the ocean when you consider that in 2007 more than 11.5 million cosmetic surgery procedures were performed worldwide, an increase of 50% since 2000. And, according to John Curran, the current recession has done nothing to dampen people’s enthusiasm for treatment, with the industry across the UK seeing a 10% increase in business already this year.

In common with all branches of medicine, cosmetic surgery techniques have moved on apace since they were first developed to reconstruct faces damaged in warfare. Procedures advanced considerably during the two world wars of the 20th century and have come on in leaps and bounds since then. Once the prerogative of the rich and famous, who maybe wanted a nip here or a tuck there to delay the ravages of time, medicine in this area has advanced so much that some treatments can now be carried out during your lunchtime.

Until fairly recently, this branch of medicine attracted a certain amount of bad press. Probably because most procedures carried out in cosmetic surgery are done because the patient wants them rather than needs them, there has been a sort of ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ attitude. And then of course, when things went wrong – several stars and their so-called ‘trout pouts’ spring immediately to mind – banner headlines added to the opprobrium.

But is the perception changing? ‘Yes it is,’ says John Curran. ‘Cosmetic medicine is now regarded very much as part of everyday life. People want to look better and as part of that they want to restore the features they had before. Is that wrong? Is that vanity? We look after our teeth, we have our hair styled and dyed, why not have our skin treated?’

As the acceptability of undergoing cosmetic procedures has grown exponentially, so the industry, if I may refer to it as that, is getting its act together. ‘People want cosmetic treatments but they want them in a safe environment,’ says Dr Curran.