5 Minutes With Mind And Body Genius: Dr Galyna Selezneva

How can you be the best version of you? We talk to Dr Galyna Selezneva, psychiatrist turned aesthetic specialist. She tells TLL about the importance of loving your body, the latest in-demand treatments and her top beauty tips to introduce into your lifestyle right now.

Where did the journey begin, what drew you into this profession?

I come from a very medical background – generations of my immediate family are in the surgical profession. I was set to follow in their footsteps, but my interest in using technology for non-invasive rather than surgical means was a sort of rebellion! I was fascinated by the results that can be achieved with minimal downtime for patients.

I’ve also worked as a psychiatrist for patients suffering from severe depression, and it always struck me how positive an impact personal care had on patients’ mood and sense of wellbeing. Something as simple as a haircut, or taking a shower made such a big difference to their confidence and motivation. It sounds obvious, but there’s such a strong link between how we feel about ourselves and how we look. I wanted to pursue a career where I could help patients feel good, using the latest technology so they didn’t have to spend a long time recovering.

I actually started as a patient of Dr Rita Rakus, and was really impressed with my results. I felt cared for, nothing was too much trouble and there was no pressure. To me, it was the best aesthetic clinic in the UK, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity and honour to work for her. She’s been pioneering new technology for the past 25 years. We work with world leaders in the aesthetic field and regularly travel, especially to the USA, to investigate the latest technologies.

What do you love about your job?

I love the sense of satisfaction I get when patients smile, it’s incredibly rewarding. One thing I insist upon is a series of follow-up appointments and always being contactable (all of my patients have my personal number and can call me whenever they have any questions or concerns), as it means I get to build a relationship with a patient and see them continue to reap the confidence boosting rewards of the treatment they’ve had. Quite often, you see them progress and their self-esteem has visibly improved with every visit.

Also, 25% of our patients are men, which enables me to perform a broad variety of treatments and be as clinically creative as I can.

I also love that the majority of our treatments don’t require the patients to have downtime or disrupt their lives too much – yet they have such a big impact.

What is the secret to anti-ageing?

When it comes to any beauty regime, adopt a routine that works for you and follow it religiously. Moisturiser and SPF protection must always be part of that routine.

Many people don’t realise that 90% of skin ageing is ‘photo ageing’, in other words, caused by UV rays from the sun. I always tell patients they must use an SPF. It doesn’t need to be the most expensive brand; you just need to use it every day, even when it doesn’t feel very sunny outside! My personal favourite (also a favourite of Melissa Odabash) is Dr Rakus Protect SPF 50 range. Its fresh cucumber smell makes me think of summer salads and holidays!

…and fat build-up?

Many think that following a strict diet and exercise regime works, but unfortunately the majority of what we call ‘stubborn’ fat is not easy to shift. There really are some pillows of fat, e.g. the ‘muffin top’ which seem to stick around even when someone has a healthy lifestyle and is doing everything they can to be lean and toned. I see many people exhausting themselves with diet and exercise, but not getting the results they want. That’s when modern medicine and technology can really help. Studies have shown a 23% reduction in fat layer thickness in three months; with treatments to the abdomen, back, and flank proving most effective.

How can mental wellbeing impact on your weight/health?

Unhappy people often develop unhealthy habits like boredom or comfort eating, and it becomes a cycle of negative behaviour. This vicious cycle can be very difficult to break.

When I embark on a treatment pathway with patients I always say that it has to be two way traffic – we have to work together. I help them to recognise and celebrate results, even the small ones at the beginning of the pathway, as it really motivates them to continue. Noticing that fat starting to shift, or the jowls they’ve always hated starting to lift does wonders for their happiness and confidence….And happy and confident people are less likely to slip into unhealthy habits.

What are the leading beauty trends right now?

One thing everyone wants is healthy, glowing skin. The phenomenal adoption of social media has led to photos becoming incredibly important in our world. People are more concerned than ever about the image they’re projecting and often go to great lengths to make that image as polished as possible, often resorting to Photoshop or filters to cheat their way to that perfect complexion.

However I would say that it doesn’t matter how professional the Photoshopping is – you can always tell when a photo has been edited. That’s why so many people proudly declare #nofilter when they’re sharing a completely original photo of themselves with the world. We get lots of clients who want the #nofilter effect with their skin, and are having treatments such as ULTRAcel, Hydrofacial and Fraxel to achieve smooth, clear, glowing skin.

Another enduring trend – again largely driven by social media – is the desire for a sculpted physique. Seemingly not a day goes by without another celebrity being accused of Photoshopping their holiday snaps, to make themselves look slightly more toned or sculpted whilst on the beach. Again, we have a lot of patients who want to achieve Photoshop worthy results, and remove stubborn fat, but in real life rather than at the click of a mouse. Body contouring is a huge trend and I think it’s going to get even bigger.

What are your top tips to get us bikini-body ready?

Love your body. It’s not about picking apart the things you don’t like or focusing on them, it should be about playing up and enhancing the things you do like first and foremost. Many of my patients are generally very happy with their physique overall but just need a bit of help with tweaking it in places so they can be the very best version of themselves. Take time to appreciate the features you do like and think about how to accentuate them.

Don’t opt for any quick fixes, extreme measures, or anything that promises instant results. If you know you’re going on holiday far enough in advance then start planning ahead.

If you are interested in having an aesthetic treatment then be aware that googling ‘bikini body’, it could direct you to all sorts of places for treatments. It’s essential that you choose a reputable clinic. Are they a member of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine? What training have they had? You should expect a one to one consultation. The advice you receive should be personalised to you; there’s no point in researching various treatments or combinations of treatments as a reputable clinic will recommend a bespoke package which is specific to you. You definitely don’t get that through Google!

Can anyone have an aesthetic treatment – what’s your advice to first-timers who feel nervous or hesitant?

The only way a good doctor can determine if someone is suitable for an aesthetic treatment is by insisting on the all important one-to-one consultation.

If someone is new to aesthetic treatments being hesitant and nervous is actually a good thing. It’s important to prepare questions if you are feeling anxious and make a list about anything you want to discuss beforehand. Choosing a reputable doctor will help alleviate anxiety as they will happily work through this list with you and ensure you feel comfortable with what’s going to happen next.

I would also urge anyone new to aesthetic treatments not to be tempted by things like promotional offers or discount codes. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. At the end of the day, you are investing in your appearance so choose carefully.

What is your favourite treatment to give and why?

That’s a hard question to answer, as every patient will come in with a different area of concern, and I get the most satisfaction out of addressing that concern and making them feel good!

However, I really do love working with body contouring as it can have such a transformative effect, not only on the body but on the mind – and often the wardrobe of a patient! When someone has been trying for a long time to shift stubborn fat or work on an area of their body they’re not happy with, it can be very liberating when they see improvements and all of a sudden they have the confidence to wear things they wouldn’t have done before. Seeing that gives me such satisfaction.

…and your favourite treatment to receive?

I’m very open about the treatments I’ve had. I came to Dr Rita Rakus’ clinic as a patient, and I can proudly say I have received every single treatment I offer to my own patients.

At the moment, my personal favourite is the combination of non invasive body contouring techniques I’ve been using. Everyone around me tells me I’ve lost weight, but in actual fact I haven’t – yet my waist is smaller and more defined (Coolsculpting/Sculpsure). The results look really natural too.

What is the ultimate lifestyle rule you live by?

Very simple – be the best version of you. We invest in so many things, our jobs, our homes, education, friendships, why not invest in your appearance? It’s not about fixating on so called ‘flaws’ but simply addressing things that are have an impact on your confidence so that you can feel happy with what you see in the mirror.

What are your swear-by beauty rule?

SPF is the number one, to protect and maintain your skin, it makes such a difference to how much your skin ages if you use it everyday. And you’re never too young to start too!

When it comes to other beauty products, my rule is ‘everything in moderation’. Don’t chase after the most advertised or recommended product or use a cocktail of different lotions in a quest for a clear complexion or less wrinkles. The best thing to do is find a routine or combination of products and treatments that works for you and stick with it.


Dr Galyna

Dr Galyna Selezneva is an aesthetic medical doctor practising at the Dr Rita Rakus clinic in London. For before and after pictures of treatments click here

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