Uju Rapu is a medical doctor. Her speciality is in the area of Aesthetic Medicine.
She pursued clinical medicine for a period but with an evident passion for Aesthetics, went on and trained with some of London’s Harley Street Aesthetic Specialists and later on worked with Dr Akhere Aire of Airesthetics, in the performance of cosmetic and anti-ageing treatments.
She currently performs and advises on a range of aesthetic and minimally invasive anti-aging treatments including Mesotherapy, Micro needling and facial rejuvenation, Non-Surgical Face lifts, Intravenous supplements, non-surgical weight loss treatments, Botox and Dermal filler injections, micro blading, permanent hair removal and more. She set up her clinical practice, Bel Fiore Medical Aesthetics a year and a half ago, bringing the best and latest anti-ageing cosmetic treatments with particular focus on skin of colour.
Growing up was great. I was in Nigeria till secondary school, then the UK and eventually the Caribbean, before moving back to Nigeria. I was fortunate to be well exposed. As a kid, I was encouraged to work hard, study harder, chase my dreams and make my own decisions. I believe this gave me the confidence that I have now to run my own practice and also the necessary skills such as hard work and discipline that it has taken to maintain it.
Why the decision to study Medicine and why the choice of your area of specialisation?
I loved the sciences. I loved to read and chase anything that posed a challenge to me. Medicine did this. My area of specialisation stemmed from a passion that I discovered I had during my housejob at St Nicholas Hospital.
Why is skin care important and how must we take care of it?
The skin is the largest organ of the body and the first thing you notice when meeting someone. It definitely affects one’s first impression of you. Features of ageing also show first on the skin, and as such, good skin care is important to keep you looking good.
Do men age faster than women or vice versa?
Factors that influence the ageing process may be intrinsic (genetic) or environmental (sun exposure stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake and so on). Skin ageing has less to do with your gender.
How important are vitamins to the body
Vitamins are required for healthy functioning of all cells in our body, essentially to keep us healthy and keep our energy levels up. Ideally, we obtain most vitamins from a balanced diet but, as many of us don’t eat as well as we should, supplementation is an option. Intravenous vitamin supplementation is more effective as it allows us introduce a larger dose of these vitamins directly into the blood stream. Tablets will go through a process of digestion where some of these vitamins are eliminated by the time they reach the blood stream.
What are the ways to fight ageing and how long do the procedures last?
A good skin care routine involving daily washing, regular exfoliation and a daily sunscreen use would be the first tools to fight ageing. With more advanced features of ageing, cosmetic procedures such as the anti-wrinkle injections (botox), mesotherapy, collagen induction therapies and dermal filler treatments will help reverse and treat visible ageing. With the minimally invasive procedures, results may last a period of 6 months to 24 months. Top up treatments are advised to maintain results.
Some Nigerians prefer going abroad for the procedures you do. Would you say it still boils down to lack of trust on Nigeria’s healthcare system?
Possibly. A few also do not know that these procedures are available at the standard that they would like in Nigeria. And lastly, a lot of Nigerians are not as open to discussing these treatments so they may be going abroad to maintain discretion and their privacy.
How can Nigeria’s healthcare be better improved?
I believe the Nigerian health care system has very intelligent minds and great skills that have not been given the right environments to flourish. The system can be improved with better funding of our hospitals. Many do not have the most basic equipment required for diagnosis and treatment of common conditions.
How was your experience starting up your practice when you returned to Nigeria? From then till date, what changes have occurred in your business?
It has been very exciting seeing what I have always dreamt coming into actualisation. Since I started, I have moved into a bigger 2 room space, increasing my working capacity. We have grown our team and our client base, and we are offering more services than we started with initially.
Challenges I have faced so far have been my first clinic being flooded. Electricity issues have also been a bit of a challenge.
I would love to expand out of Lagos and eventually out of Nigeria. I would love to have my own branded skincare line. I would love to be the go-to aesthetic centre for clients visiting Nigeria from other countries.
Side effects of your procedures
All procedures come with potential side effects, most of which can be reduced or eliminated following pre-treatment advice and after care and also ensuring procedures are done only by trained and qualified medical personnel.
Are most of your procedures tolerable in terms of pain?
Very tolerable! We make use of numbing creams were necessary.
Exodus of Medical professionals from Nigeria
Sad! Many of my colleagues have been granted employment into reputable institutions abroad with more comfortable working conditions and better pay. I think that it is very unfortunate for Nigerians to be losing such great doctors, then paying to go abroad to be treated by these same doctors!