Dr Prager graces the pages of Tatler this month where it is rightly pointed out that he has “a long list of diehard patients who trust no one but him with a needle.”
Citing their love for his “nonchalance, dry wit and reluctance to follow the whims of an oversaturated industry,” we adore this article because it completely gets to the heart of what Dr Prager has worked so hard to achieve – “creating a clinic that champions longevity and well-being above all.”
So, here’s the essence of the article for all of Dr Prager’s diehard patients and fans of aesthetic medicine done correctly.
RETURN OF THE KING
Seven years ago, Dr Michael Prager stepped out of the limelight. The man affectionately dubbed the ‘King of Botox’ had achieved everything he’d set out to achieve and it was time to concentrate on family. Today, Dr Prager is back … and he’s far from impressed with the state of the kingdom.
“I don’t like where the industry is going,” Dr Prager says bluntly.
“Cosmetic medicine has become a commercial setup either fronted by practitioners as body dysmorphic as the patients they treat or the fame-hungry who merely want to hang out on the red carpet and post to their social media. It’s a shame because this kind of behaviour does nothing to further our cause, and we can do better than that.”
As Dr Prager speaks, with a gentle lilt that reveals his German heritage, his brow furrows in a way that might mortify today’s Botox practitioners, but there is also a glint in his bright blue eyes that suggests he is not quite as angry as his words might indicate.
Of course, this is all part of the Prager charm; at once pleasant and self-deprecating while being passionate, and occasionally scathing, about an industry that is largely considered to be the playground of the vacuous.
“And therein lies the rub,” he says, “aesthetic medicine is a powerful force for good in which anti-ageing properties are merely a rather fabulous byproduct.”
For Dr Prager, good health and youthful looks are actually two sides of the same coin, “you can’t have one without the other,” and as such, premature wrinkles are indicative of underlying health issues ranging from chronic teeth clenching to toxic overloads that feed collagen-destroying free radicals.
To the doctor’s dismay, in recent years the benefits of aesthetic medicine have become slowly eroded by the worst excesses of the industry where big is somehow deemed to be better.
“I shaped a lot of the industry,” Dr Prager admits. “At one point I was the single biggest independent user of Botox in the world, but it wasn’t because I was injecting huge amounts of product into my patients, I simply had a lot of patients. In fact, it got to the point where I was full, full, full, and I’d had enough.”
While he has practised medicine for close to three decades, Dr Prager’s breakthrough moment came 15 years ago when he pitted his skills against a plastic surgeon in the hit Channel 4 show, 10 Years Younger.
His signature ‘no-surgery facelift’ won him instant recognition and he still counts world leaders and Middle Eastern royalty among his loyal clientele. However, Dr Prager insists his success is due to the fact that he’s a doctor first and foremost.
“I don’t sell happiness, I sell wellness,” he says, citing a move from Harley Street to Knightsbridge to put some distance between himself and the modern-day circus of cosmetic treatments.
It’s this pursuit of wellness that saw him co-author a peer-reviewed paper for a respected medical journal and create his own skincare range.
And though he is more low-key these days, Dr Prager continues to perfect the art of aesthetic medicine, offering wellbeing, anti-ageing and preventative medical care at his clinic.
However, his brief sojourn in the shadows is about to come to an end because Dr Prager not only wants to save skin, he now wants to save the very soul of the medical cosmetic industry.
“I still love practising,” he says, “and for this reason I am coming out of semi-retirement because there’s no role model out there to tame the beast, and somebody has to lead the way and save the industry from itself.”
“I heard something recently that perfectly sums up the situation: say you want to build a wall, if you want to build the best wall possible you start by laying a brick, and you lay that brick as good as it can possibly be laid. Then you lay another brick and another brick and so on.
“That’s how a good wall is built. Unfortunately, too many people out there want to enjoy the wall without laying the bricks first. As a result, the industry has witnessed a significant devolution in ability.
“That’s why everyone is so quick to jump on the next big machine happening, whether it’s the Morpheus or CoolSculpting or whatever, but faces are not products that can be transformed at the push of a button.
“There needs to be experience and understanding and, above all else, medical knowledge and skill, otherwise the results won’t last and you’ll continue to treat the symptoms and not the cause of premature ageing. All of which is fine, if all you want is a few glossy before-and-after shots.
“At the Prager Clinic, we actually want our patients to be well because that’s the secret to skin longevity. The rest is plastering.”
As part of the Prager mission to save the industry from the claws of commercial catastrophe, the doctor is calling on both his peers and politicians to join forces for the greater good of patients.
“There’s room for purely commercial practitioners should people want ever bigger lips and plumper cheeks, but we have to draw a line between those operators and medical doctors who happen to practise with Botox.
“Whether that means creating a legislative distinction between the two interests, or forming an association to protect medical interests from soaring insurance premiums every time a shoddy piece of work results in a payout, we have yet to decide upon. But it’s time to circle the wagons and protect ourselves.
“As aesthetic practitioners we engage in preventive medicine – not so-called tweakments – and that happens to bring about anti-ageing and restorative results. But don’t be fooled; every skin problem, whether it’s premature wrinkles or painful acne, is the result of an underlying health issue.
“Really, it’s time we started taking wellness seriously.”