Dr Edel Woods On Breaking Down Taboos Around Injectables and Aesthetic Treatments

The industry of aesthetic treatments or ‘tweakments’ as they’re referred to by those in the know, gets a bad name. But with the right practitioner, treatment and advice on hand, the accuracy of that bad reputation suddenly comes into question. Slowly but surely we’re shaking off the taboo associated with injectables and other popular aesthetic treatments and the fact that Dr Edel Woods’ clients mostly come through referrals holds testament to that. People are opening up to the idea of aesthetic-based treatments of this level with more open discussions and recommendations between friends as well as actively researching their options. 

For Dr Edel Woods, founder and owner of ORA Skin Clinic, her main focus is restoring the confidence of her clients holistically. It’s not about fighting the ageing process but instead working with it to enhance it. Edel is passionate about preserving her client’s looks as opposed to developing treatments that have them leaving the clinic looking like someone else. 

Here, we caught up with Dr Edel Woods to find out more about her path into launching her own clinic, her approach to both clients and treatments and exactly what sets ORA Skin Clinic apart within the industry.

What sparked your passion for creating bespoke beauty for clients through natural and untouched aesthetics? 

I have always had a passion for beauty and skin treatments. From a young age, I have been having facials and loved nothing more than trying out the latest face mask or skin product. However, as I got older I realised that although I wanted to try out some of the medical aesthetic treatments on offer I couldn’t find a clinic where I felt guaranteed of natural results. For me the idea of having these treatments was to preserve my look rather than aiming to change it or look like somebody else. I saw a lot of celeb-focused offerings such as Kylie Jenner lips etc. which both terrified and inspired me! 

“For me the idea of having these treatments was to preserve my look rather than aiming to change it or look like somebody else.”

Did you always want to work in aesthetic treatments?

Yes. I started my medical career as a dentist with the aim of becoming an aesthetic dentist. At the time I didn’t know other areas of medicine existed which would allow me to combine my love of science with aesthetics, so dentistry was a good fit. Following graduation, I continued my training in facial aesthetics in the UK and Ireland. It sounds crazy but I fell in love with what could be achieved with subtle aesthetic ‘tweakments’ and I quickly realised that the attention to detail, the rigorous anatomy training and the strong medical foundations gained from my dentistry degree, equipped me very well to pursue facial aesthetics. It’s amazing to now be able to help people restore their confidence holistically. At ORA we focus on the skin, facial proportions, restoring lost volume and subtle facial enhancements, while as a dentist I help restore people’s confidence in their smile. It’s a great synergy.

“At ORA we focus on the skin, facial proportions, restoring lost volume and subtle facial enhancements, while as a dentist I help restore people’s confidence in their smile. It’s a great synergy.”

What drew you to starting your own skin clinic as opposed to working for someone else?

I think this comes with being a perfectionist. I wanted the autonomy to make my vision for a clinic a reality. I wanted to create a client-centred clinic that wasn’t focused on fighting the ageing process but instead aimed to make ageing more beautiful. From my work in other clinics, I kept hearing people say that they didn’t recognise the person in the mirror anymore or that they felt they looked old, tired, saggy etc. Many of these people had waited for years to have aesthetic treatment because they feared unnatural results.  In opening ORA I  wanted to build a clinic for women, like me, who wanted to look and feel like themselves for longer without this fear. 

“I wanted to create a client-centered clinic that wasn’t focused on fighting the ageing process but instead aimed to make ageing more beautiful.”

When starting your business, what was the first step you took in making it a reality? 

I thought long and hard about opening ORA but in the end, it was a stroke of luck that led me to open when I did. A chance encounter led me to hear about a space that was available to lease on Leeson Street in Dublin 2. It felt like the right opportunity so I jumped at it and haven’t looked back. It’s fair to say that it has been non-stop ever since and a steep learning curve being in business for myself but I love every day of it. 

How do you find clients? 

I feel very lucky to now be at a stage where my clients mainly come from word of mouth which is great. I also keep quite an active Instagram account where I try to upload weekly information videos about treatments and products and this has led to many new clients too.

What do you think sets Ora Skin Clinic apart within the beauty industry?

Our approach and philosophy set ORA apart. We are very focused on the client journey and meeting client expectations. Our clients come to see us because they want natural results or want to focus on preventative treatments but what they may not know is that everything we do is bespoke. Our consultations are extremely detailed and every client gets a comprehensive ‘positive ageing’ plan that will include treatments focused on improving skin radiance,  minimising the effects of muscle hyperactivity, replacing volume loss and correcting any undesirable asymmetries or proportions. Overall, our focus is on bringing harmony to the face and enhancing your look in a way that makes people say ‘you look great’ but without them being able to pinpoint exactly why that is. 

“Overall, our focus is on bringing harmony to the face and enhancing your look in a way that makes people say ‘you look great’ but without them being able to pinpoint exactly why that is.”

Tell us about your most popular treatments

Wrinkle relaxers would be the most popular treatment but most clients choose ORA because we take a holistic approach. This means that if we think another treatment will give better results or if we feel clients will get longer lasting results by combining treatments we will design plans with this in mind. Clients are also becoming much more skin savvy which is great. We do a lot of injectable skincare such as profhilo or Aquagold which help stimulate collagen, hydrate and give skin that much-coveted glow without the downtime traditionally associated with medical aesthetic procedures. Combined with subtle wrinkle relaxers and high-quality homecare you can achieve long-lasting results where you look refreshed but natural and I think this is why these treatments are extremely popular with our clients.  

What are the biggest misconceptions about injectables?

That you will look fake or frozen. I couldn’t agree more that there is a lot of this out there but in the right hands, you can harness the magic of injectables without risking a fake look. Our USP is that our clients look untouched but refreshed. 

How have you seen the industry change over the years?

I think that in the past it was a hidden industry where people didn’t talk about treatments but this is changing. Nowadays, it’s become the norm to have a little ‘tweakment’ to help you look and feel your best. It’s also more common for people to tell their friends about what they have had done. In fact, most of my client come from referrals so people really are talking about the industry more and more. The increased openness to discuss treatments is great because it means clients are getting to learn about and access some fantastic treatments but equally it’s important for people to do their own research. The industry is very unregulated in Ireland and this means that clients should choose their clinic wisely. The cheapest price could well be a costly mistake so until regulation is put in place I would urge anybody considering treatment to research their clinic and aesthetic practitioner carefully. It’s costly to train in these procedures and a good practitioner will be continually training and upskilling so anyone undertaking this level of training and education is unlikely to be offering a discounted price. 

“I would urge anybody considering treatment to research their clinic and aesthetic practitioner carefully. It’s costly to train in these procedures and a good practitioner will be continually training and upskilling so anyone undertaking this level of training and education is unlikely to be offering a discounted price.”

 

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What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Seeing how good clients feel after treatment. It’s amazing to see how people grow in confidence after treatment and for me this is what it’s all about. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

‘You can do anything you set your mind to.’ I love this advice because I think we all have the occasional crisis of confidence and it’s always good to remind yourself both of how far you have come and how you have the ability to achieve your dreams if you work hard enough. 

“You can do anything you set your mind to.”

 

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What does a typical day look like for you?

I wake up at 6:15am to let our little dog Teddy jump into bed for a quick power cuddle! I get up at 6:45am and tend to go for a run or catch a reformer pilates class before answering my emails, posting on Instagram and running out the door with a coffee in hand. I start in the clinic around 10am most mornings and tend to see clients until approximately 7:00pm. I make sure all consultation clients have been emailed their bespoke plans and I tend to leave for home around 7:30pm. In the evenings I try to have some quality time with my husband and Teddy. 

How important is branding and the aesthetic of your business?

It’s very important. For me, it all forms part of the client journey and should portray the attention to detail that we pride ourselves on. The first ‘meeting’ with my business is often via the website or Instagram. I try to keep it looking delicate, feminine and overall aesthetically pleasing so as to accurately reflect the brand philosophy and approach. 

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in business so far?

To trust myself!

What advice would you give to someone considering one of your treatments?

I would recommend that if you are considering treatment you should book a consultation first. This is the best way to learn more about what is available and to get a feel for the clinic and our method. It also affords clients the time to ask questions and to really understand how the various treatments work to address various concerns. There is a lot of poor information out there so it’s nice to arm yourself with good information that is tailored for you. Our consultations are complimentary as we believe that it is a key step in achieving good outcomes. 

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a full time fashion and features writer at The Style Edit. Her work has previously appeared in IMAGE magazine, image.ie and Emirates Woman.

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