The women behind one of the leading plastic surgery clinics in Montreal, Michelle Deskin and Stephanie Gilgen, had a conversation with GOSS Magazine about the procedures and current trends of facial injectables. They spoke to us about realistic expectations and that subtlety can be more beautiful than looking overdone. These woman are strong and passionate about their craft. They speak with authenticity in an industry that can sometimes lack it. We adore that!! Here is their journey of success.
When did you both join Dr Papanastasiou in his medical clinic?
Stephanie: Nine years ago, Dr Papanastasiou asked me to be his head nurse. Ironically to step in for Michelles maternity leave. As head nurse my responsibilities included everything from consultations to post-ops and being in the operating room, which was my passion.
What made you decide to integrate beauty injectables in your practice?
Stephanie : It happened in 2016 for me after Dr. Papanastasiou brought us to Paris for IMCAS (international master course on aging science). I joined the team to see what the injection hype was all about. It was new to me and it was amazing. I instantly fell in love and found my calling. It was a new world. I instantly felt welcomed by Dr Papanastasiou’s team, everyone was motivating and really encouraged me. When we got back in February, I got my injections training and got started. I’m very fortunate to have started when i did… Fifteen years ago when Michelle started, it wasn’t as easy to do injections.
Michelle : It happened in 2016 for me, after we had gone to Paris for IMCAS. a medical conference [there] and decided to team up. I joined Michelle and the other girls to see what’s going on in the injections aspect, and it was such a great day. It was new to me and it was amazing. It was a new world that I didn’t know existed. Because I was teamed with Michelle and another girl, I was asking questions and being interested. They were both like, “you know, Steph, you would be a great injector.” Both of them really encouraged me. When we came back in February, I took my class in injections and this is how it started. It’s funny because afterwards when you go to those conferences, there aren’t that many girls that are happy to see the new ones coming in. Fifteen years ago when Michelle started, it wasn’t easy to do injections.
Tell us what changed in the industry over the last 15 years.
Michelle: I began injecting in 2005. At this time, there were not many nurse injectors. The training was minimal. Conferences for nurse injectors were held bi-annually or annually. It was pretty basic teaching. A lot of the complications had not risen yet until more medical professionals started to inject. This type of nursing is such a wonderful career business to be in, but many people think that anyone can inject on the face and there would be no effects. One must understand the anatomy of the face. Fortunately , there are several conferences a year to attend. New injectors must take an injection class prior to being able to inject.
Michelle, what bought you into the cosmetics industry?
Michelle: I’ve been a nurse for 25 years. I have experience working in the emergency room and in the Intensive care Unit. I wanted to start a family. The life in acute care is very stressful and the hours are long. I applied for a posting for a nurse at the clinic of Dr Papanastasiou. I was fortunate to get the position, and the rest is history. I am grateful to work for a very respected Plastic surgeon in a beautiful clinic in Westmount. I love injecting. My patients are happy when they step into my office. I make them look and feel better about themselves. When you look more attractive, you have more confident and this increases ones self-esteem.
What are the things that you don’t advise women to do, normally, that would hinder them in the long run?
Michelle: People forget what they used to look like. They want more. They want to go bigger. For example, a client who had their lips injected 2 months prior and still has volume they express that they don’t see a difference. Its important to show the patient their before photo to remind them of how they started and where they are today. Keeping it natural and explaining that bigger is not always better. Bigger can become disfiguring. It is important to establish realistic expectations for the patient to ensure you are both on the same page. The injectors reputation is key. It is about finding a balance between keeping your patient happy and providing a naturally beautiful result.
Stephanie : Also knowing that trends don’t last forever. There are people asking for the fox eye now, but it’s not going to stay. You have to be careful with trends because they don’t last
What is a timeless type of injection that you think would look good facially? Something that women come in and it suits them and it’s not too much?
Stephanie : A little bit of botox to start at around 35. It’s mainly because it will relax the muscles, so you won’t have permanent lines. When you do have permanent lines on your facial, it gives you that older look. I sometimes suggest because I know that at 35 you probably have a husband and children and you want to go on vacations, and nowhere comes injections. Botox should be done every four months, but sometimes I suggest for them to come twice a year. You get a little bit of the treatment, but you’re not on it until you’re 40, where you’ll do it more often, maybe three times a year. To start at 35 with just a little bit of botox, for me that would be okay.
Michelle: I was 27 when I first started having my 11’s injected with botox I do believe it made a difference. If you’re never creating that muscle contraction, you’re not going to create a wrinkle. By starting baby botox at an earlier age, you will prevent wrinkles from forming.
What about the trend of your lips, where everybody wants their lips done. What do you consider a normal amount, or an amount that you feel comfortable with, one that isn’t going to make it look too much?
Michelle: I think it depends on the patient’s facial features. Someone with a square face and pointy features may not be able to accomidate poutty pillowy lips. Those with round features will look beautiful with fuller pouty lips.
Stephanie : Half a syringe would be 75 per cent of what I do. A full syringe is another 25. I don’t want to do too much anyway. It just depends on the patient.
What do you credit your success to as nurses separately, and together in the clinic environment?
Stephanie: I never want to stop learning. There will always be new trends & new techniques. There are constantly new and better products on the market. My eyes and ears are always open. Every day is a different day and every patient is unique. I am humbled to learn from other injectors and constantly strive to be the best I can be.
Michelle: Doing what you’re comfortable with is super important. I believe that honesty has helped me develop my reputation. Honesty is key to receiving the trust and confidence from my patient. I encourage my patient to do what is best for their overall appearance. Reading your patient is important. On my consultation, I always ask, “what bothers you?” Then I ask, “would you like to know what I see?” We establish a treatment plan based on their financial abililty.. Taking the time to ask questions and listen to my patients helps me understand their concerns to achieve to best results.
What advice would you give yourself at the beginning of you taking on this path that you both love so much? Taking that leap of faith and transitioning into cosmetics?
Michelle: It all goes back to proper training in order to feel safe and confident. You have to understand the facial anatomy. As wonderful as this profession is, if you don’t know what you’re doing, serious complications will arise. People need to be aware of potential risks. It doesn’t happen often. I had one complication in 15 years. I’ve done thousands of injections. Thank gosh we caught it on time. My patients have my personal cell phone number, if ever there’s something concerning they can contact me.
Stephanie: The complications that come with injections need to be understood and taken very seriously. Being there for my patients before during and afterwards is a must.
Where do you think the industry is heading as a whole? In terms of trends that are coming up?
Michelle: I would say that it is more preventative than it used to be. Many years ago, people waited until they needed a facelift, or they were full of wrinkles. Today, social media has made it more available for people in their 20s to do baby botox. We have lasers and devices that could help people stimulate collagen.
Stephanie: People are a lot more open about injectables now than ever before. 25 years ago, it was a secret. “Maybe she’s born with it” doesn’t apply anymore. Obviously, we still have some patients who don’t want their spouses to know..No need to worry.. they‘ll never find out because of how natural it looks.
What advice would you give women that are going into this field?
Michelle: The world of cosmetic injectables is an exciting and rewarding profession to be in. I love my job, making my patients feel beautiful and confident puts. For one, safety is key and knowing where to place the product enhances ones beauty. For all the nurses who would like to venture into the world of cosmetic injectables, training is so important.
Stephanie: Educate yourself as much as possible. Be humble and careful. Learn when you have to say no and that it’s OK to say so. Otherwise, it’s a really great industry to be in. We’re very fortunate to be working with Dr. Papanastasiou. He believes in us and always motivates us to always be better.
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