Big fat lie - Experts want body shops regulated

May 15, 2017

For many persons, it has been all about being the right size and shape, and having the curves to go with it. But the growing number of untrained person offering body sculpting services in Jamaica is now a cause for concern among some professionals in the industry.

Michelle Vernon, aesthetician and owner of Body Studio Skincare, says that within a matter of months after receiving extensive media attention for introducing body contouring services to Jamaica, she has noticed a rapid increase in the number of entities offering body alteration procedures.

"It took me four years to get qualification to do the treatments but, to my surprise, in a matter of months, people then decided to add this to their nail salon, to their hair shop, to their weave store," Vernon said.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Jan Hochtritt who specialises in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery, says that unqualified persons who are performing body alteration processes are defrauding the clients who use their services.

"I find it alarming that some many people just want to jump on that thing and offer certain services that are not working and, in some regards, sometimes even dangerous," Hoctritt said.

Vernon said she is not objecting to the increased competition. However, a lot persons have come on board to basically ride a wave, and it is a medical industry.

"It is now being commercialised and becoming something of a comic. It is no longer professionalism. For some people it is becoming a scam which is affecting my business, which is reputable, and probably other businesses," she said.


Increased demand


Hoctritt is of the view that people have always been obsessed with altering their bodies.

"I would say there is a hype for certain things because of popular culture. So there are pop stars that carry a body type that is very hip and now the mere possibility of getting that through surgery that is now in Jamaica, and of course, that creates a demand," Hoctritt said.

The professionals said the fake claims by some persons who administer body sculpting procedures have played a part in the increased demand.

Vernon says people have before and after pictures showing one day's slimming treatment, that show a person with a waist of 40 inches going down to 20 inches.

"A person cannot go from 200 pounds to 150 pounds based off a non-surgical procedure," she said. "To get slimmer is not a problem. It is what you do to get somebody slimmer. Is that really working or is it just fraud? And many time I believe it is fraud," Hoctritt said.

Vernon says that body sculpting is popular, but is also detrimental because clients are putting their trust in persons who do not have the professionalism to do the treatment.

"The incorrect wavelength on a slimming device can cause severe organ failure, lung problem, kidney problem. And also if the ultrasound wavelength is too high (which is too powerful in strength) it can penetrate the bone. You have to use a wavelength that only goes to the fat tissue," she said.

Vernon feels that the ministry of health needs to step in and regulate the industry and she also encourage persons who are intent on alterations to their bodies do their research first.

"They have to regulate the industry, because this is not something that can be easily done in New York. You have to be qualified," she said.

"I would encourage Jamaicans to educate themselves and don't be victims of what is now a popular trend becoming a quick moneymaker for non-professionals," Vernon said.

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