Career How I Got Here: WiQo’s Dr Zunaid Alli

Dr Zunaid Alli, International Key Opinion Leader and Trainer for the WiQo portfolio, reveals his career journey to Anita Quade.

Anita Quade: Dr Alli, you started out your career as a medical aesthetics practitioner and trainer – tell us how your career evolved?

Dr Zunaid Alli: “My career in medical aesthetics started almost by accident. I got a job doing a nine-month maternity locum cover for a GP in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was a procedural GP, which meant that I would be required to do minor surgeries which I enjoyed, coupled with my interest in dermatology from medical school days. She also did medical aesthetics and therefore required that I train in these procedures as well as I was taking over her service. I didn’t think much of medical aesthetics at the time, but after doing the courses, my interest was most certainly enthused, and it all started from there. I relocated to the UK the following year and was asked to join an aesthetics training company.”

You are the key opinion leader and trainer for WiQo’s portfolio of skin resurfacing products – what sparked your interest in skincare and the WiQo brand?

“I was invited to a presentation of WiQo in the UK in early 2015, where their portfolio of products was presented. I am a firm believer in the 50% rule in medical aesthetics – that is, 50% of good skin condition and anti-ageing comes from medical grade skincare. The other 50% is accomplished by injectables, laser and devices. I was really interested in their ethos and the clever way that their products are designed and manufactured. The founder of the company is a consultant dermatologist, Dr Rosanna Castellana, who knows skin acids better than anyone.

Following this, I incorporated their entire portfolio of products and aftercare into my clinic and my patients loved it. I haven’t looked back since. In 2017 I was asked to take over training for the UK and Ireland for the brand and have taught over 200 practitioners in WiQo treatments and products.”

You are also an advisor to the WiQo Scientific Team and deliver training webinars as a member of WiQo’s Expert Group – tell us about this?

“This role is vitally important, and I was incredibly humbled to have been selected in the first place. WiQo places great emphasis on clinical medicine meeting science on a background of clinical efficacy and safety for patients. The role allows me to give feedback on products, especially new ones, and provides me with insight regarding undesirable outcomes. This means that I can produce educational content on various topics and present these to all trained practitioners via webinars. This format also allows me to deliver all information on all new WiQo products.”

How important is education when it comes to skincare?

“Education is absolutely vital in medical grade skincare. In my clinics, we do not even sell moisturiser to a patient without a skin consultation and assessment. This ensures that the correct active ingredients are selected for the type of skin concern. For practitioners, it is important that the microanatomy of the skin is understood so that they may be able to deliver good quality advice to their patients.”

What is it that drew you to the WiQo brand?

“I liked that the products are well thought out with no downtime. All WiQo products are backed by clinical science, so no gimmicky ineffective products. My patients are very busy people and want maximum benefit from treatments with minimal life disruption. The brand also has a very simple and effective aftercare program for all the treatments, so patients do not have to spend unreasonable amounts of money on complex aftercare regimens and products.”

“In my clinics, we do not even sell moisturiser to a patient without a skin consultation and assessment. This ensures that the correct active ingredients are selected for the type of skin concern.

Tell us about the results your clients are getting with this skincare?

“My patients love the results that they obtain from WiQo treatments. Their skin has become tighter, brighter, with less textural imperfections and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The treatments are quick to perform, and patients frequently mention how they enjoy the ‘massage’ aspect of the application.”

What are some of the most common skin issues that people come to you for?

“Dull skin that has lost its glow, open pores, and textural irregularities – especially acne scars. Pigmentation issues, most notably melasma and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Many of my injectables patients wish to take the next steps in improving the condition of their skin, so the anti-ageing benefits of the WiQo range is also asked for.”

What sets WiQo apart from the countless skincare brands on the market?

“Clinical efficacy = clinical effectiveness is my first answer! There are many brands that overpromise and underdeliver. I am extremely cautious about introducing skincare into my clinic. I choose brands based on their clinical research, complication rates and most importantly value for the patients. I set the bar very high, and this immediately removes any skincare ranges that don’t produce results. Simply, if it is not good enough to go onto my face it will most certainly never be used on my patients.”

You have so many diverse roles in the industry – what is your favourite part when it comes to your career?

“My best days are spent in clinic with patients. It never feels like work to me, and my patients give me such valuable insight into what works for them and what they like. Teaching and training skincare is a very close second! Knowing that I can learn as I teach is very valuable to me.”

Anything you wish you had known starting out?

“I didn’t anticipate that my career would grow in this direction at all. To think that I studied medicine to become a psychiatrist! While at medical school I enjoyed microanatomy, pharmacology, dermatology and surgery, and its specialty is a perfect mix of all these subjects.”

You have clinics in Harley Street, London, Kent, and Surrey – what do you see as some of the most requested treatments?

“The top three most requested treatments for both males and females are injectables, dermal fillers, and skincare treatments in my clinics. Patients appreciate the visible changes to their skin and appearance that these top 3 treatment types produce. Other popular requests are body brightening and tightening treatments as well as treatments for stretch marks and cellulite.”

There are so many devices in the market – are there any that you have come across that you believe are a great investment for those in the beauty space?

“I would always recommend a superior quality, medical grade microneedling device, LED light therapy device and radiofrequency (preferably with ultrasound). These are excellent when combined with skincare treatments for superficial and mid-depth skin plumping action.”

What is your favourite anti-ageing procedure?

“Injectables remain my favourite procedure to perform. It produces the most dramatic results and serves as a great starting point for patients into the world of medical grade skincare. More than 90% of my patients progress onto skincare biorevtalization with acids.”

Tell us about your plans for 2023.

“The diary is already starting to fill up. We start the year with IMCAS conference in Paris, followed by multiple new webinars and teaching courses for WiQo. We hope to return to Australia in March to continue our support for practitioners with further hands-on teaching and seminars. I also have a few courses that I need to attend for my own education which are in the diary.”

If you didn’t pursue a career in this industry, what would we find you doing?

“Quite likely stood at a laboratory bench with a long white coat, doing research in skincare!”

This article first appeared in the November-December 2022 print edition of Professional Beauty.

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