Dr Uju Rapu is a trail-blazer in the area of aesthetic medicine in Nigeria. Following a degree in medicine from the Caribbean Islands, her profound interest in beauty led her to get further training in aesthetics. She has been running her beauty clinic, Bel Fiore Medical Aesthetics in Lagos, Nigeria, for over four years and offers cutting-edge treatments that include botox, fillers, mesotherapy, to mention a few.
We recently had a chat with her on how it all started and a whole lot more.
Bel Fiore means beautiful flower in Italian. Why did you choose that name, and do you speak Italian?
I don’t speak Italian. I wanted a name that sounded authentic. An Italian friend suggested it and I fell in love with that. My practice is called Bel Fiore Medical Aesthetics.
What is your educational background?
I completed my secondary education at The Cheltenham Ladies college in the Uk and then moved on to a foundation pre-med course in Manchester. I went on to complete my medical degree in the Caribbean. My grandma is Jamaican so I have family there and wanted a change. I have completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Dermatology and currently undergoing an MSc in Aesthetic Medicine both at Queen Marys University, London, since then.
What fun memories from your childhood can you share with us?
Living in the islands has been the best. I would run on the beach in the mornings before heading to university for lectures.
How would you describe yourself?
I am very driven and focused. I love learning. I am a bit of a workaholic, but when I’m not working I love the beach, or looking up more courses to attend!
Why did you choose a career in beauty and aesthetics?
I studied medicine. I was always interested in beauty. I was excited to find a way to merge both my passion and my profession.
What are some of the treatments you offer in your clinic?
Skin consultations, skin treatments including peels, microneedling, hair loss treatments, including PRP mésothérapies, vitamin injections, botox, fillers, thread lifts, permanent hair removal and other non-surgical cosmetic enhancements
What is your most popular treatment?
Skin peels. I treat a lot of acne and hyperpigmentation issues with prescription products.
Botox and Filler Myths: Is It True That Botox And Fillers Make You Look Unnatural?
If done in excess. It is important to understand your patient’s facial structure and work with that in order to achieve a natural, yet enhanced look.
What Are Fillers?
Fillers are pre-packaged syringes of hyaluronic acid which we use to augment deflated areas in the face. Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that holds water. We lose volume in certain areas of our faces as we age. Fillers may be used to restore this lost volume and give a more youthful appearance.
How Long Do They Last For?
Usually, 6-18 months depending on area and type of filler injected. There are some permanent fillers available.
The biggest beauty myth you would like to dispel is…
That black people don’t need sunscreen!
How receptive have Nigerians been towards the services you offer?
More receptive with time definitely as we have shared a lot more information on available treatments over the past few years.
Do you have male clients?
1 in 6 clients are male.
How did you manage to build your brand, was social media instrumental?
Definitely. Social media has allowed us to share more information, photos, videos with a wider audience which has helped to demystify most aesthetic treatments. Celebrities also being more open with their cosmetic and surgical journeys have definitely made the public more open about learning about these treatments.
What anti-ageing advice will you give a female client in their thirties and fifties, respectively?
Sunscreen use is mandatory. Products with vitamin c, hyaluronic acid are great for someone in their 30s. By 50s, I’m recommending collagen-stimulating treatments such as microneedling; and volume replacement procedures as is necessary such as fillers.
What’s your take on the rise of plastic surgery?
Ensure you are seeing a board-certified surgeon to reduce the risk of avoidable complications.
Are there non-invasive procedures that give results similar to the most common plastic surgery procedures?
Results may be similar but non-invasive procedures tend to offer less permanent results that will require top-ups for maintenance. Downtime/recovery time however with these is minimal and the risk of complications is less.
Any advice for young ladies or men that would like a career in aesthetics?
Make sure it is something you are passionate about. Learn from or shadow someone in the field. Aim to be your best. Keep learning at every given opportunity.