Wigmore News meets Yuliya Culley

Nurse Practitioner and Founder of Novello Skin in Cheltenham discusses ZO Skin Health and the importance of continuing professional development

Once I learnt how much research and dedication is involved by all the ZO team, the choice became clear—the educational programme is intensive, informative and inspirationa

How long have you been working in the aesthetics industry?
I have been working in the aesthetics industry for over 13 years. The first five years of my work and training as an aesthetic nurse practitioner took place with a national company before I opened my own clinic, where I have been practicing full time ever since.

How long have you been working with Wigmore Medical?

I registered as a solo trader with Wigmore more than 10 years ago. This collaboration became even stronger after COVID lockdowns when I incorporated ZO Skin Health into my daily practice.
This was a decision that was put on hold many times, however once patients were not able to visit my clinic due to restrictions, they asked for effective skin care options to adapt in lockdown conditions. Nowadays, we have more and more enquiries due to recommendations, listing as a ZO stockist clinic and social media.  

What do you like about ZO Skin Health products?

Dr Zein Obagi is well renowned for his innovative approach to dermatology and skin health overall. This was an initial trigger for my interest. Once I learnt how much research and dedication is involved by all the members of the ZO team, the choice became clear. Importantly, the educational programme is intensive, informative and inspirational which makes ZO skin care products current on every level
Also, I like that ZO protects its brand which makes it unique in difficult modern world conditions, when many products can be obtained online. As a result, I feel that we offer effective and exclusive skincare to our patients and educate them.

How important is training and education to your career?

It is vital. With medical aesthetics being looked at as a lucrative career opportunity with more clinics opening, it is important to stand out from the crowd. The skillsset in a few certain procedures cannot guarantee continuing success of the business. Importantly, more and more clinics acquire various devices, which means they can be well combined with clinical grade skin care.

Why were you interested in taking the dermoscopy course?

I have always been interested in skin lesions. Despite wider public awareness, it is surprising how many people would miss the red flags of their skin conditions.
I took a dermoscopy course after my father-in-law was diagnosed with invasive melanoma, after COVID lockdowns. Unfortunately, by the time this lesion was looked at it was too late to save his life. Hence, I felt it was important to develop in the field of dermoscopy to help to detect different types of skin cancer earlier. At the end of the day, our work in medical aesthetics is about healthy skin.

How important is it that a thorough medical history is taken before undergoing treatment?

Detailed medical history and examination is equally important. It is a part of basic medical assessment. We try to raise the standards in the field of medical aesthetics when it comes to injectables. The same rule should be applied to the skin assessment overall.

You recently had a patient where you were able use your dermascopy training to alert them to a potential issue, can you please tell us about it?

I believe I am now more vigilant in my patient assessments and check lesions under the dermoscope regardless.
I was prepping a patient for a ZO Skin Health 3-Step peel, and they had a lesion which they had had for over ten years and no changes in appearance which looked like a blue naevi. Further, the patient did not have any members of the family suffering from melanoma and no history of excessive sun exposure. Based on this medical history, the lesion would not look suspicious to me. However, under the dermoscope it had that specific pigment pattern network, suggesting lentigo maligna.

What was your procedure when you found the melanoma?

I wanted to be sure in my concerns and asked the patient for consent to share their dermoscopy images with a private GP with an interest in dermatology.
The contact was made on the same day with a follow-up call to the patient to suggest that the lesion looked suspicious and would need to be reviewed by a specialist. The referral to dermatology services via the NHS was followed accordingly.

Do you think you would have spotted the melanoma before you had undertaken the course?

I do not believe that I would have thought that the lesion in this particular case was suspicious without dermoscopy assessment, as the patient’s medical history was consistent.
In other cases, many lesions could look suspicious, including the history of evolution.
We do not see melanomas in our daily aesthetics practice, however many of our patients have a history of harmful sun exposure earlier in their lives or living in specific geographic locations. This makes them predisposed to other types of skin cancers that can be spotted by us opportunistically during general assessment prior to any aesthetics treatments.

Yuliya Culley is a Registered Nurse with overall experience in emergency, cardiology and dermatology nursing since 1998. Yuliya is a member of the RCN, BACN and INP. She is the Principal and Founder of Novello Skin in Cheltenham
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