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This Dubai-Based Aesthetic Clinic Will Forever Change the Way You Think About Cosmetic Procedures

Vogue Arabia, March 2021. Photo: Greg Swales

In the past decade alone, cosmetic surgery has grown exponentially in popularity. Yet somehow, the conversation around aesthetic work is often swept under the table, and this particular sphere of beauty remains a murky mystery world for most. The result? Too many women—and men—who are either too apprehensive to give cosmetic treatments a chance, or are currently working on overcoming the effects of procedures gone wrong.

Despite the lack of knowledge among consumers, the interest in aesthetic processes continues to grow, and now, a new league of cosmetic clinics in Dubai are giving patients the chance to truly immerse themselves in the process, understand the specific needs of their bone structure and skin type, and step out into the world looking like the best versions of themselves. One such haven is Ouronyx Clinic, perfect for anyone who’s been contemplating a tweak or two.

Photo: Courtesy Ouronyx Clinic

Located in the heart of Business Bay, Ouronyx takes its name from two words: “Ouro”, which is Portuguese for “gold”, and “onyx”, as in the precious stone. The hidden message in the name gives a nod to the two faces each of us possess—the gleaming gold face we aim to show the world, and the more mysterious one that comes out in private. It is by nurturing this duality that the clinic brings out the best face of each visitor.

Ouronyx’s sun-kissed space echoes a European calm that instantly works as a mood booster, and even features a digital artwork of gilded butterflies that come to life under the touch of a finger. What sets this spot apart from other clinics in Dubai, besides its soothing Nordic interiors, is the thought process behind co-founder Ida Banek’s vision. Unlike clinics that promote heavy-duty procedures, Ouronyx prizes the ‘less is more’ philosophy, bringing together a selection of hand-picked medical professionals to offer patients a tailored, non-invasive experience that factors in everything from their age and occupation to fitness schedules, diets and personalities. The process begins with an in-depth analysis where the doctor is able to use 2D and 3D technology to decipher the procedures that have already been done on a patient’s face. The screening process goes as far as revealing which areas of the face are aging quickest, and the depth of each wrinkle in the skin. Then comes a private one-on-one chat, where the doctor is able to understand the patient’s needs and lifestyle to chalk out the edits that can help enhance their best features for a lifted, yet natural look. For example, “I am a thinker and I overuse certain muscles in my face to the level that they may need to be relaxed more than someone else who is more relaxed,” Banek explains. “All of that plays a role in the conversation.”

A look inside the clinic. Photo: Courtesy Ouronyx

Dr Raj Acquilla, one of the globally renowned doctors that you can soon meet with on your visit, has worked with personalities across the globe, and began his journey in aesthetics 22 years ago while working with cancer patients, trying different methods, from lasers to Botox, to improve post-surgery scars. During a chat with Vogue Arabia, he shares an incredible statistic. “We looked at 4,500 consumers a few years ago, who are all actively wanting to have injectables, and only 30% of them had actually been treated. And why are 70% sitting at home, not daring to have it? Because they see all the jobs that have gone wrong. And do you know the average amount of time that 70% has been contemplating getting something done? Eight years!”

Thanks to clinics like Ouronyx, however, Dr Aquilla sees a bright future for aesthetic procedures. “During the last 5-10 years we’ve seen massive advancement in the sophistication, the class in which we treat our patients. Because this is not about isolated, symptomatic resolution, it’s about treating the whole face and making the individual personality or character of that person fit their aesthetic. Someone who has a baby face and looks cute and innocent, but works in an office surrounded by men everyday and wants to be taken more seriously can be made to look stronger and more powerful. And that’s what we do.”

Looking specifically at the Middle East, he shares, “With Dubai being the geographical centre of the world, you’ve got a very diverse and a multicultural population here. So the demographic is probably the most interesting on the planet. Each patient is different. It now takes me 0.3 seconds to look at a face and know exactly what the DNA structure of that face is. I then build a map for the correction, or what’s required for it.” What’s even more interesting is how the idea of beauty changes across cultures, and Ouronyx’s approach to aesthetic procedures allows its doctors to focus on cultural priorities. “In the Middle East, a dimple in the chin is considered as beautiful—it’s a feature many women get from their fathers—and in the West, it’s considered as a masculinizing in a female face. So I always get rid of it [when working with international patients], but here, I wouldn’t soften it [unless a patient specifically asks for that],” Dr Aquilla explains. “Because then their family will say to them, ‘What happened to your dimple?'”

Dr Raj Aquilla. Photo: Courtesy Ouronyx

Another element of facial procedures that Dr Aquilla spotlights with his work is illuminating the face, just as a contouring makeup kit would. It was Beyoncé’s makeup artist, Sir John, who taught Dr Aquilla how to create the highest definition of a face by doing makeup which is just about light and shade. “All the areas in white or iridescence are the areas of projection with filler,” he explains. “How simple is that!”

Why, then, do so many walk out of their doctor’s office unhappy with their results? “It’s important to recognize who is making the mistake,” he explains. “Is it the consumer or is it the doctor? It’s the doctor. And they will often blame the patient, saying, ‘You’re difficult’, or ‘You bruise easily’, or ‘You’ve got thick skin, or thin skin.’ What they didn’t understand in the first place is who you are. What is your character? What’s your personality? How do you dress? How do you do your makeup? What do you during the day and night? What color are you as a personality? Someone who’s yellow—more compassionate, more empathetic—they need to look more gentle, soft. So we make that result. And if you don’t take the time to understand that, you’ll end up with a result that the patient doesn’t connect with. And that results in the patient then moving to the next doctor, and the bad result just gets worse and worse. Because the first step was wrong.”

Photo: Courtesy Ouronyx

With its intimate approach to aesthetics, Ouronyx offers up a great opportunity for patients to make the changes they’ve always thought about, yet hesitated to act on. After all, as Dr Aquilla says, the right time to begin injectables is now. Because “unfortunately, from the age of 30 onwards, the skull shrinks every year. So the table becomes smaller, and your tablecloth doesn’t change size, so it becomes relatively larger. Which means that you sag more every year.” Time to dive in? We think so.

The Opus Tower – Unit C201, Business Bay, Dubai

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