Talking to… Dr Hayley Elsmore |

6 mins

Talking to… Dr Hayley Elsmore

The owner of Professional Beauty Awards Skin Clinic of the Kezia Parkins how she has built trust and created a unique wellness concept on the Isle of Wight

With a surgeon husband and being a GP herself, there was a time when Dr Hayley Elsmore, owner of The Courtyard Aesthetic Clinic on the Isle of Wight, felt like the family barely saw each other. But, when Elsmore’s brother-in-law sadly passed away at the young age of 47, it made the couple take stock of their lives.

“Both of us were in the NHS and working so hard and not seeing our children enough and we knew something had to give, so I decided to take a side step,” says Elsmore. “Being a GP is a privilege but it’s such hard work and there’s a lot of negativity. You’re really struggling to make a difference and it’s like a high-pressured continuous treadmill.”

Elsmore’s sister-in-law suggested she retrain to go into aesthetics, and seeing as she had always loved the practical side of being a GP – the injections and dermatology – she thought, “why not?”

Within six months of working in another clinic part-time, Elsmore had fallen in love with aesthetics. “The joy of coming in and doing positive things and making people feel so much better about themselves, that’s really what I wanted out of general practice, but it’s much harder to achieve that,” she says.

“General practice has become quite disjointed over the last decade or so and it’s lost that personal touch you once had, with the family doctor who knows everything about you – that doesn’t really exist anymore. You don’t have time with people and you can’t always make meaningful interventions because you’re limited by what the NHS can do and offer. I felt that within the private setting of aesthetic medicine, I could do lots of great things for my patients – boost their confidence, and help them feel wonderful in their skin.”

She adds, “I’m making my clients happy and I’m making myself happy at the same time. After that family tragedy, I redirected all my energy and now all of us have a much healthier, more balanced life.”

A holistic haven

After a few years working in other clinics, Elsmore started to imagine what she could do better for residents on the Isle of Wight. “I wanted to do it my way, and create a beautiful environment with more of a client experience. I wanted people to walk through the door and just think, ‘Wow, I want to come back here’,” she explains.

The Courtyard Aesthetic clinic takes a holistic, wellness-driven approach to aesthetics, focusing on skin health and rejuvenation with injectable and device procedures but with a big emphasis on skincare and supplements, including collagen and menopause formulas.

“We are bringing a nutritionist on board this year specifically to help with skin conditions. We’re working on the biggest organ of the body so it’s important we can improve it from a from the inside out,” she says. “People feel really cared for if you think outside the box a little.”

Elsmore is waiting for CQC registration and once she gets that, the clinic will start offering even more wellness treatments such as solutions for vitamin B12 deficiencies and hay fever as well as extensive allergy testing.

Key dates

Dr Elsmore qualifies as a doctor with distinction, going on to a career in general practice 

Starts training in aesthetic medicine

Launches The Courtyard Aesthetic Clinic, Newport, Isle of Wight

The clinic wins Global Health and Pharma (GHP) Most Outstanding Aesthetic Clinic award 

Wins the GHP Most Trusted Skincare Clinic 

Wins Skin Clinic of The Year at the Professional Beauty Awards

Personal touch

“It’s wonderful to be able to bring it all together so people don’t have to travel to lots of different places or off the island,”says Elsmore. “We want them to be able to come to us and then we can join all the dots to create a whole sense of wellbeing.”

Customer service is also hugely important at the clinic, with staff getting to truly know clients, right down to how they like their coffee. “They become part of a Courtyard family almost, and they want to keep coming back, which means we can make their skin even better.”

It’s easy to assume a wide disparity between what a GP sees and deals with every day and the role of an aesthetics doctor, but Elsmore, with her empathetic relationship with clients and mission to provide a wellness-focused skin clinic, says there are more similarities than you may think.

While the concept of the family doctor has become a distant memory to many across the UK, some would argue that, in a way, it lives on through aesthetics. “I’m always referring people to other health professionals if I am concerned about something or it goes beyond my remit,” explains Elsmore. “It’s like a psychiatric couch sometimes or a counselling service. We are talking about lots of aspects of their life to build a whole picture.”

As someone going through symptoms of menopause herself, alongside many of her clients, this is a particular focus in Elsmore’s clinic, which is also an ambassador of Menopause in Aesthetics (MIA), offering clients support and advice for menopausal skin. “It affects your sense of wellbeing, self-confidence and mental health as well as your skin. There are so many crossovers between other health issues and your skin so I feel we’re giving much more than just a beauty treatment,” she explains.

Trust me, I’m a doctor

Over the years, the Isle of Wight has become more eclectic, with younger people and families from diverse backgrounds migrating from London and other parts of the UK for a different pace of life. These are the people likely more familiar with the boom in popularity for aesthetics treatments. But as a GP on a small island of 140,000 people, Dr Elsmore had become a pillar of the local community, well known by many residents, and this has allowed her to reach client groups who may otherwise have shied away from aesthetics.

“There are some people who are going to have aesthetic treatments regardless, but a lot of more mature ladies who have lost confidence don’t want to go and see a stunning young beauty therapist and talk to them about their insecurities,” says Elsmore. “But they feel because they’ve known me before by reputation or through being a previous NHS patient of mine, that they can come and reveal themselves. It’s very much that naked truth when people are discussing their insecurities and often I get people saying, ‘If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be having this done or I wouldn’t have come to talk about this’. They are able to trust me and open up and that’s fantastic.”

In such a small community, the population is often looking for natural results rather than being seen to be flaunting their tweakments or treatments with drastic changes. “Like anywhere on the mainland, you’ve got youngsters casually going to get their hair and nails done snd then you’ve got an older generation that is much more sceptical and fearful of what it could mean but are still curious and hopeful that there could be something suited to them,” she explains.

“I think that is where my strength really lies – with a small budget I can create something really impactful for them so that they feel their investment has been well worth it and they can start feeling great about themselves again. It’s a confidence-building process.”

Winning run

Another way Dr Elsmore has garnered the trust of the residents of the Isle of Wight, helping her stand out from the other clinics on the island and indeed the mainland, is through the many accolades she’s achieved.

The Courtyard Aesthetic Clinic won two years in a row at the Global Health and Pharma Global Excellence Awards – Most Outstanding Aesthetic Clinic in 2022 and Most Trusted Skincare Clinic in 2023 – and this year, it won Skin Clinic of the Year at the Professional Beauty Awards.

“We are still all absolutely buzzing,” she says. “We have had over 100 new enquiries since winning the award in March, so it goes to show the impact that respected awards like this can have – and how hard work can pay off.”

This article appears in May 2024

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May 2024
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