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The holistic approach to anti-ageing

Dr Maureen Allem of the Renewal Institute knows the link between wellness and beauty, and how to integrate the two with non-invasive treatments

When Dr Maureen Allem, founder of the Renewal Institute, first started in the anti-ageing and skin care industry, she focused on the outer signs of ageing – especially with facial and body rejuvenation techniques. But, she says, when patients returned with issues that seemed to have been treated successfully before, it became clear to her that appearance is only part of the picture.

She started looking at a holistic approach to anti-ageing. “It is important to investigate the overall condition of a patient to establish if there are any underlying issues or deficiencies.” This fitted perfectly with her passion for functional or integrative medicine. “I tell patients that physical appearance is a small part of total health. It’s vital to optimise internal health.”

Dr Allem gained years of experience in general practice, hospital work and executive health, then became interested in the non-invasive rejuvenation of the face and body. Training options were limited and she went to Belgium to learn from Dr Koen de Boulle, one of Europe’s finest in the field.

She became one of five doctors who pioneered Botox treatments in South Africa. “Family and friends were my first patients,” she recalls. “I started seeing more patients at home but soon became too busy. So I opened the first branch of Skin Renewal.”

After about three years of practicing Dr Allem was approached by distributors to train other doctors. “At first, people were unsure about the procedure, but those who tried it were amazed by the results. Today, there are still very conservative views, but it is much more acceptable and people are surprised that it is such a minor procedure,” she says.

Two botulinum injections – Botox and Dysport – are registered with the MCC and the only ones doctors are allowed to use. “There are many grey products – price should be an indication of what patients are getting. If it’s cheap, it’s either not the right product or diluted,” Dr Allem explains.

The frozen look has been replaced by a more natural result. “Botox is used with great effect to soften lines but no longer to eliminate all movement. It’s not just an aesthetic choice, either. We use it for conditions such as migraines, teeth clenching, excessive sweating, a gummy smile, or Bell’s palsy where it is used to straighten the face.”

Micro-Botox is a recent addition to Skin Renewal’s offering. “It’s used particularly for acne patients to decrease the production of oil in the sebaceous gland. Injecting around the mouth is tricky, though, which is why I prefer to avoid that area.”

What began as one Johannesburg clinic in 2005 has evolved into a network of 16 centres that offer a solution over the broad wellness spectrum. With a team of 27 medical doctors, Dr Allem provides specialist solutions for skin, body, health, brain, and sleep, which today is known as the Renewal Institute.

What you get at Skin Renewal, she says, is a bespoke treatment. “Each patient is assessed individually and our integrated approach sets us apart. Our continuous investment in technology, products and staff training allow us to offer combination treatments, giving infinitely better results.”

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