The Medical Spa: The Next generation of the Spa Industry by Alexis Ufland

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The Medical Spa: The Next generation of the Spa Industry by Alexis Ufland

The Medical Spa: The Next generation of the Spa Industry 

by Alexis Ufland   

Until recently, Western Medicine has failed to recognize the healing benefits of the Spa and Fitness Industry. With the arrival of the latest trend, the Medical Spa, the two fields have converged and caused a veritable explosion, making this new trend the wave of the future. As defined by the International SPA Association, a Medical Spa is an institution whose primary purpose is to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment, which integrates spa services as well as conventional and complimentary therapies and treatments. Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons have been jumping on the bandwagon joining Day Spas and even expanding their practices to offer ‘higher level’ Spa services and care. As a consultant for the development of Medical and Day Spas, Fitness Centers and Hair Salons, I can attest that this is a welcome change to the industry.

Like a Day Spa, the Medical Spa enforces the importance of a relaxing atmosphere. Attention to detail is essential - from the color of the walls to the fabric of the robes. A soothing, comforting ambiance helps to put the client at ease for even the most uncomfortable medical procedures. However, the Medical Spa differs from a Day Spa in the following two regards. As a Medical Spa houses both a Medical and Esthetic staff under one roof, both medical and cosmetic treatments are offered within the center. Depending on the doctor(s) present, these services may range anywhere from Botox injections to Lipo-suction. Therefore, one role of the Medical Spa is a comprehensive approach to caring for the client before, during and after these procedures take place. The second distinction is, again with the presence of Western Medicine, the Medical Spa is able to use a higher-grade product and, therefore, the Spa services show greater results. A Medical Spa is the perfect balance between clinical and luxury. 

The first step in creating a Medical Spa is the concept design and menu of service. With the Doctor holding the reigns, the developmental stage must include their involvement. The Doctors support of all Spa services and products is crucial to a Medical Spa’s success. The difficulty lies in creating a menu of service that is synergistic with the doctor’s way of thinking, yet still a marketable product. Doctors often feel divided with regard to the benefits of certain Spa services. This attitude differs from Doctor to Doctor. It has been my experience that some Dermatologists promote Topical Collagen Facials while others are ambivalent towards its results. Some are staunch proponents of ‘Oxygen’ facials; others are hesitant about their benefit. Some Doctors refuse to use the word ‘toxins’ and ‘detoxify’ in their vocabulary (a difficult adjustment for Spa therapists!). A happy medium must be reached in order to ensure smooth operations. It is wise to present thorough research and sound medical proof of Spa services so that the Doctor can recommend and support the menu without compromising his/her integrity. Procuring Medical endorsements will afford you many options, if you are creatively inclined. For example, it is always a safe bet to begin your menu with Vitamin C and Glycolic Peels. Doctors advocate these treatments due to their efficacy and proven results. Vitamin C and Glycolic Peels can be parlayed into both face and body treatments. A full body Glycolic peel followed by an Anti-Oxidant body mask is a sure hit at a Medical Spa. A creative treatment menu can be both luxurious and medically sound. 

Along with service selection, finding the correct ranges of products is a vital part in development of the Medical Spa concept. Pharmaceutical companies have just begun designing products solely for Medical Spas. Dermatological pharmaceutical representatives allow these new products to be offered in your spa as long as there is a Doctor on staff. Custom facial design is necessary, though, as pharmaceutical product ranges do not impart technique. 

Coverage for both General and Professional Liability differ from state to state and need much research prior to opening. Depending on the services offered the Spa could be an extension of the Doctors practice or its own entity, each having its own method of protection. The owner of a Medical Spa has two choices, the Doctors practice and the Spa can be covered under one medical malpractice policy or they can separate themselves and be covered by two policies, a malpractice and a basic spa/salon policy. Although all practices and therapies are under one roof and panels may be formed to diagnosis and treat patients, the reality is that each individual practice or class of services should protect themselves. With the increase of Esthetic services offered within the Doctors office, there are now medical coverage firms, such as PRI, that are beginning to cover a wide array of spa services ranging from Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal to Bikini Waxing. However, these firms avoid covering such therapies as Massage, Acupuncture, Ayurveda etc. Therefore, if the doctor were to place the Spa under their malpractice policy these practitioners would have to cover themselves independently. On the flip side, the doctor can cover their practice separately from the Spa and hold two policies. This would allow coverage for a wider range of spa services. Unfortunately there is not only one standard answer for everyone, research needs to be done to find the policy and method that suits their facility, the type of services they expect to offer and the budget that they can afford. On the subject of protection, Doctors within Medical Spas should not only separate their practice by liability coverage but also have contracts that include a 'No Hold Harmless' clause. In the case that a problem does occur, neither Practice nor Spa will be held responsible for someone else’s actions. Research into state medical 'referral' laws are also very important, practices may need specific disclaimers to recommend patients to visit the Spa.  

The staffing of the Medical Spa is an essential element of a successful operation. The licensed therapists or ‘Para-Medical Estheticians’ require a working knowledge of all medical procedures performed by the Doctors. Estheticians are encouraged to spend an afternoon each month with the Doctor on staff to gain understanding of the procedures that the Doctor performs. Under the Doctors guidance and supervision, the esthetic staff should be thoroughly trained in patient preparation and contraindications for pre and post surgical treatments. When hiring staff, it is advantageous to employ Estheticians with varied medical backgrounds. Estheticians that have worked as a Dermatologists assistant, Registered Nurses and Estheticians with ‘Para-Medical’ continued education courses are definite assets. Experience in a Medical setting combined with a healing touch is of great value to an operation. Many Esthetic schools are adding both continuing education classes and courses with a medical influence to their aesthetics program. For example, The Dermal Institute offers continuing education in classes such as Microdermabrasion, Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage and even Oriental Pressure Point Massage. Other schools such as The American Academy of Cosmetology in Danbury CT and the American Academy of Medical Aesthetics are adding entire two week to three-month postgraduate courses to further Estheticians knowledge of cosmetic surgeries, product ingredients and contraindications to specific medicines. To graduate from these programs, Estheticians must complete an internship where they spend two to four weeks working side by side a Dermotologist or Plastic Surgeon. For further training, it is advisable for the doctors to give lectures and presentations on a regular basis. This education will breed a close working relationship between doctor and Esthetician. 

With the industry’s increased recognition by Western Medicine and our clientele’s increased acceptance of Eastern Medicine, the future of the Medical Spa looks both promising and encouraging. The Medical Spa has only scratched the surface of its potential evolution. Hospitals and Health Insurance companies are taking bold new steps in the areas of ‘Alternative’ medical care and coverage. Doctors in private practices are providing ‘spa-like’ services to patients to ease and soften harsh clinical treatments. A notable example is the prominent Dentist who has now added light therapy to detract from the pain of oral surgery. We will be seeing more Medical Spas bridging its multitude of Spa services with various Medical environments.  

Dermatology, the original and currently most popular Medical practice that integrated Spa services has recognized that Cosmetic procedures tie in smoothly with anti-aging Spa treatments. Clients are more aware of Cosmetic Dermatological procedures such as Collagen, Botox and Laser resurfacing. These cosmetic procedures need before and after care as well as a maintenance program that can be performed by an Esthetician. Other services include Organic and Crystal Microdermabrasions, Laser Hair Removal and Camouflage Make-up. Dermatologists, however, are not the only Doctors that can prosper from the Medical Spa.  

With a Plastic Surgeon on board, the Medical Spa can provide for the client before, during and after surgery. Prior to surgery, patients benefit from the addition of yoga stress control and self- image counseling. During surgery, energy work with a Reiki Master may be incorporated, or an experienced Acupuncturist might even take the place of an Anesthesiologist. Post treatment may include long-term weight management programs with Nutritionists and sessions with Personal Trainers. Estheticians and Massage therapists can perform Spa treatments that will accelerate healing such as Lymphatic Drainage and Scar Management. Another way to integrate the Spa and the clinical is to design packages that include both Spa and medical services. For Example, you might upgrade a Detoxifying Seaweed Body Wrap with cellulite reducing Acupuncture and include a program of six with every Lipo-suction.  

An OB-GYN is a great asset for a Medical Spa as well as untapped market. Massage therapists and yoga instructors can guide patients through their pregnancy. Estheticians can perform facials with products that are non-toxic and safe for mother and child. Mommy Massages and Refreshing Leg Treatments that reduce swelling and water retention also comfort expectant mothers. Post care may include a Nutritionist and a Personal Trainer and Stretch Mark Management can be provided with a Tummy Micro-dermabrasion. Mothers to be need not feel excluded from the sybaritic anymore. And, do not forget about our baby boomer population; Menopausal women now have product available such as B. Kamins, which are designed strictly for their skins changing needs. 

Our clientele’s increased acceptance of Eastern Medicine opens many new doors and allows us to combine ancient Oriental and Indian Medicine with Spa services. Cosmetic Acupuncture has fantastic results when combined with a facial to increase collagen production. Acupuncture also has great results when combined with Body Treatments to reduce cellulite. Ayurveda is the oldest Medicine and yet the newest to hit the Spa scene. Purva and Pancha Karma treatments add different approaches to healing and balance. Chinese Medicine and Herbs are wonderful to incorporate in face and body treatments and are very popular when sold as supplements within your gift shop.  

A Medical Spa with an Oncologist on board can be extremely rewarding. Chemotherapy patients are often in need of skincare that is all natural and non-toxic. Detoxifying treatments, spiritual healing, energy work, scar management for post Mastectomies and Lumpectomies, as well as a trusting place to get fitted for wigs are just a few ways in which cancer patients can benefit from the Medical Spa.  

With all these possibilities abounding, we can only begin to imagine the future expansion of the Spa industry. Converging both sciences with spirit and East with West, it is a natural progression for today’s fast paced stress filled society. The Medical Spa helps the patient take the necessary time to heal and recuperate, it makes the patient feel beautiful in times of illness and it acknowledges alternative practices of medicine whether East, West, Complementary or Esthetic. The Medical Spa is the future generation to the Spa industry. 

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Choosing an Organic Skin Care Line by Alexis Ufland

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Choosing an Organic Skin Care Line by Alexis Ufland

Choosing an Organic Skin Care Line

by Alexis Ufland

Maintaining beauty and youthfulness is a daily preoccupation for many women and men. Environmental exposure, lifestyle choices, normal chronology and many other factors all take their toll on the aging process of our skin—and most appearance-conscious people are eager for ways to effectively turn back the clock.  So it’s no surprise that millions of dollars in research and testing have helped to create mass market, anti–aging skin care products.  But when research also unearths the frightening fact that parabens (the most commonly used preservative) have been found in breast cancer tumors*, it sparks understandable concern. In this climate, it’s easy to see why organic skin care products hold a ready niche for beauty consumers intent on both looking good and treating their bodies well.

The concept of organic skin care seems simple enough. The reality is somewhat more complex. Creating, packaging and shipping skin care can require a lot of synthetic support. Today’s consumer holds higher expectations of the products and services they purchase. Likewise, spa owners need to have similarly high standards of excellence from the vendors they choose to patronize. 

When committing to skin care vendors, smart spa owners are seeking those who are devoted to eco-friendly practices through every phase of the production and distribution cycles. This includes sourcing ingredients from fair trade and bio-dynamic farms; packaging products using recycled, recyclable and bio-degradable containers; and finally, delivering products in bio-diesel vehicles.

Medical science tells us we absorb 60-70% of everything applied to our skin, and there is mounting evidence that chemical pesticides, synthetics and petroleum products can ill effects on our bodies. So the most eco-vigilant spas seek product lines that use innovative technologies to develop organic, biodynamic skin care formulas that are paraben-free. Here are a few tips on what to look for—and what to avoid—when selecting a skin care line of your own.

What does Organic and Biodynamic mean?

Organic products are made with ingredients grown without any synthetic chemicals, sewage sludge or GMOs (genetically modified organisms)—and they are third-party certified. "Certified organic" means that an official certifying agency has approved that the producer has grown and handled all ingredients with an adherence to strict procedures.

Biodynamic® agriculture is a method of organic farming that treats farms as unified and individual organisms—respecting the holistic interrelationship of soil, plants, and animals as a closed, self-nourishing system. Biodynamic farming embraces organic agriculture's emphasis on manures and composts; it excludes the use of artificial chemicals on living organisms. While implementing organic practices such as crop rotation and composting, biodynamic farmers also rely on special plant, animal and mineral preparations—along with the rhythmic influences of the sun, moon, planets and stars. Biodynamic farming is an approach based on the work of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner.

What is a Paraben?

In simplest terms, parabens are chemicals that operate as preservatives to extend a product’s shelf life by warding off bacterial growth. They fall into a family of chemicals known as alkyl esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid. Many researchers believe parabens contribute to the increasing incidences of breast cancer, low sperm count and other estrogen-influenced medical problems in humans.

Accordingly, try to avoid these commonly used Parabens:

  • Methylparaben

  • Propylparabens

  • Ethylparaben

  • Benzylparaben

  • Isobutylparaben

  • Butylparaben

Look for these organic and natural alternatives instead:

  • Rosemary Extract

  • Citrus Seed Extract

  • Potassium Sorbate

  • Benzoic and Sorbic Acid

  • Sodium Benzoate

  • Vitamin A, C & E

How can I tell if it is truly organic?

When selecting an organic skin care line, look for products that meet both the European and United States national certifications standards for organic personal care products. Currently, the top U.K. certification is handled by the Soil Association, while France relies on the Ecocert. Both certification standards act as benchmarks to the newly-created US certifications—which presently include OASIS, NSF & Certech.

Look for these labels when selecting a skin care line:

  • ECOCERT: ECOCERT is an inspection and certification bodywhich operates offices in 18 nations worldwide, carrying out work in over 90 countries; their activities are governed accordingly by public authorities and legislation. ECOCERT has developed rigorous standards that allow companies to promote environmental practices and manufacture organic products in tandem with certain eco-friendly guidelines. One of ECOCERT’S main objectives is to promote ingredients that originate from organic farming. The ECOCERT stamp, an imprimatur of global esteem, is a mark of international credibility; the certification reassures both consumers and the organic industry that a particular skin care product has complied with the most rigorous standards of eco-consciousness.

 

  • Soil Association:  This organization is the UK's leading environmental charity promoting sustainable, organic farming and championing human health. There are three levels of labeling:

    1. Products comprised of 100% organic ingredients.

    2. Products made with 95% organic ingredients, allowing up to 5% of synthetic ingredients from a restricted list.

    3. Products containing between 70% to 90% organic ingredients, in which the actual percentage is duly noted on the label.                     
       

  • OASIS: The OASIS certification will be conducted by International Cosmetics & Regulatory Specialists L.L.C., an independent certifier complying with standards developed by OASIS.  All products certified by OASIS will carry the OASIS seal logo on their packaging. Currently, OASIS requires 85% certified organic content. According to the guidelines of its organizing board, this "organic" percentage standard will gradually increase until it reaches 95% organic content in several years.   

 

  • NSF: - The NSF has now developed a fully organic standard along with a 'made with' standard specifically for personal care manufacturers. While the NSF organic standard is identical to the USDA's, the 'made with' standard differs markedly in a way that enables manufacturers moving in an organic direction to become certified. In order to secure a 'made with' standard, manufacturers will not be allowed to use petroleum-based ingredients or processes. It is worth noting, though, that several processes and ingredients banned in the USDA will be permitted by the NSF—including the use of certain synthetic preservatives and biodegradable surfactants.

 

  • Certech: Organic Cosmetic Certification - Certech has published its own standard for Natural and Organic Certification: It’s an all-encompassing 'hybrid' addressing effective management controls/systems and product stewardship—as well as testing and auditing through the design, sourcing, production, and labeling of natural and organic cosmetics. To the best of our knowledge, Certech has ensured the credibility of its 'IOS Cosmetics' Standard by strict adherence to the principles, guidelines, and regulations already in existence both nationally and internationally:

    1. US Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Title 7 Part 205 Natural Organic Program

    2. California Health and Safety Code, Article 7: "The California Organic Products Act of 2003"

    3. Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act (Canada)

    4. Canadian Food and Drugs Act

    5. FDA/CFSAN Cosmetics Good Manufacturing Practice guideline
      CAN/CGSB 32.310 2006 Organic Production Systems General Principles and Management Standards

    6. EEC Regulation number 2092/91

    7. ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems - Requirements

    8. ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems - Requirements

As most Americans are taking the smart step of eliminating trans fats in their diets to avoid heart disease, it only stands to reason they would show a similar level of vigilance in protecting their endocrine system from toxins. And since we don’t yet know the extent of damage synthetic chemicals can inflict, it’s only logical to eliminate those chemicals we put on another important organ—our skin. Our skin, after all, is not only designed to last a lifetime, but it’s the most visible reflection of the smart steps we’ve taken to promote health, serenity, and lifelong wisdom. 

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Second Essential for a Powerful Brand: Proprietary Systems or Brand Culture

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Second Essential for a Powerful Brand: Proprietary Systems or Brand Culture

DryBar, SoulCycle, Skin Laundry…What do these three diverse brands all have in common? A very recognizable culture. They created their own systems--and introduced a very specific methodology--and clients not only quickly adapted, but embraced the brand. Now their operations are identifiable as uniquely their own. Simply mention the name--DryBar, SoulCycle, Skin Laundry--and consumers know instantly what to expect from their signature culture. 

The same principle applies to your brand. When you and your competitors are basically selling the same equipment, services and products, the culture you create is your identity that instantly sets you apart in the minds of clients/patients. So it’s vital to differentiate yourself through your unique style and personality.

What do you do unique? How do you differentiate yourself? You have risen above the rest of the packers, clients request you, follow you and believe in what you tell them. 
Think of every contact clients/patients have with your business--via phone call, visit, social media view--is known as a Brand Touch Point, an experience that determines their view of your brand and your particular brand culture.  Whatever the magic is that you create in the treatment room needs to be bottled and sprinkled over brand touch point.  Make sure each of these touch points offers is sprinkled with your uniqueness, your you-ness. Show clients/patients that what you’re doing is unique by putting your own spin on products, services and approaches. 

What To Do: 
•    Create a signature method or technique and spotlight as a point of differentiation in your branding.
•    Incorporate pictures and videos of you. That’s what people are buying. YOU!
•    Create your own ‘language’ – words that uniquely represent what you are offering.
•    Create a private label skin care line

What NOT To Do:
•    Don’t use a vast number of stock photos on your website. 
•    Steer clear of generic business language and copy.
•    Avoid designing websites and brochures that don’t convey your personal touch.

Success Story Example: Creating a Private Label Skin Care Line and Operational System Unique to the Practice
Truth+Beauty Medical Spa--branded as a ‘gym for the skin’--underscored that distinction by having each guest initially meet with the ‘Beauty Coach.’ Each client is given a digital imaging analysis of her/his complexion to customize a treatment plan, much as a personal trainer would map out a fitness regimen at a first visit. Patients return after a series of services and take another picture to see the dramatic changes. Results are then carefully documented in their Beauty Diary. Truth+Beauty established their own culture by creating an operational system that is uniquely their own--and then they topped it by creating their own brand language with the terms Beauty Diary and Beauty Coach.

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First Essential for a Powerful Brand: Clarity of Purpose

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First Essential for a Powerful Brand: Clarity of Purpose

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, defines a brand as “…what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” The words, images, thoughts or feelings someone has when they think of you and your business--that, in a nutshell, is your brand.  

Think of your brand as your own bit of real estate in a landscape that’s perpetually habited by other--and often similar--products and services.  Then think of branding as all the things you do to make your real estate stand out, so you’ll be the one to attract the desired clientele.

What strategy will give your brand that vital edge, the kind of staying power that keeps customers enticed, engaged and always coming back? In this series, we’ll be looking at seven vital branding components. First is Clarity of Purpose: Being absolutely clear about the who, what, how and why of your business. 

•    Marketing guru Simon Sinek encourages entrepreneurs to always start with why: “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” Why does your business exist? Why are you passionate about it? Why should clients care about you? “All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year,” Sinek explains. 


•    Who are you? If you’re a solo practitioner, making your own name part of your business and logo--and establishing yourself as an ‘authority’--are key. If you’re a business owner with staffers, determine what attributes best define your business--luxurious, wellness-based, innovative, and so on.  Good branding means being 100% clear about who you are, whom you hope to attract, and what value you offer. Otherwise, how can clients/patients be clear about you--and, more importantly, buy from you?


•    What exactly do you provide? Your name, taglines and descriptive copy should say it all, no need for guesswork. Consider a plastic surgeon with a tagline, “Surgical and Non-Surgical Procedures.” What does that mean? Dr. Jennifer Levine touts her services as, “Cosmetic Surgery and Beauty Procedures.” Perfectly clear!


•    How do you convey your branding message? Make it part of your DNA: Each phone call, blog, social media post and personal interaction should reflect your brand and be a unique representation of you. That will help get people “talking about you when you’re not in the room”…and saying all the right things.

 

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Ultherapy: Where Ultrasound = Ultra-Chic

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Ultherapy: Where Ultrasound = Ultra-Chic

You know what’s great about today’s cutting-edge cosmetic procedures? They’ve managed to eliminate the “cutting” part!  Some of the best new techniques offer great results with no downtime, no drastic measures—and no surgery. Ultherapy is one of these great new treatments – it tightens skin without going under the knife! Spa owners are having success with Ultherapy and patients swear by it.

How is that possible? If it “sounds” too good to be true…it’s probably Ultherapy®.

Simply put, Ultherapy uses ultrasound technology to lift and tighten skin. If you’re ever had a prenatal ultrasound, you’re already familiar with the basic concept.  But sound waves don’t just project images from the inside out: they can also penetrate deep into skin layers from the outside in to activate the body’s natural rejuvenation process. In this case, we’re talking about the actual growth of new collagen! Another plus: Ultherapy is especially effective on the eyebrow area, neck, and under the chin - spots that are traditionally hard to treat.

Here’s how it works. During a 60-90 minute Ultherapy session, a special instrument is used to focus ultrasound energy on designated facial areas. The ultrasound actually bypasses the skin’s surface to reach the deep, structural tissue below. In turn, the body responds to the burst of focused ultrasound by stimulating the growth of new collagen. The rejuvenation process is gradual: it takes about 2-3 months to see Ultherapy’s full effects. But during that time frame, your clients will look a bit younger each day!

Ultherapy is FDA-approved, and since it uses the time-tested technology of ultrasound, you know it’s safe.  Although there is a hefty price tag attached to this technology, clients feel that the results outweigh the cost.  

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The Medical Spa Owner’s Guide to Dermal Fillers

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The Medical Spa Owner’s Guide to Dermal Fillers

Today, the dermal filler is a definite “must have” beauty tool. And the choices keep getting better and better, offering natural, turn-back-the-clock results. Of the many fabulous fillers out there—Juvéderm, Restylane, Sculptra, Belotero and Radieesee—how do you know which to choose? Happy problem, right?

Let’s start with the basics. All dermal fillers have the same goal: To fill in facial lines, wrinkles and folds and leave a smooth, natural correction. Ingredients differ.  Some, like Juvéderm, Restylane and Belotero Balance rely on Hyaluronic Acid, Radiesse is made up of Calcium Hydroxylapatite and Scupltra uses Poly-L-Lactic Acid. No need to memorize these tongue-twisters, though—just know the field offers lots of variety, and one formula might suit one client better than another.

So here’s a quick rundown of the dermal differences…

Juvéderm comes in several different formulas. The thinner ones—Juvéderm Ultra and Ultra XC—can handle fine lines and wrinkles, and even the delicate area around the eyes. The heavier formulas work best on deep facial lines.  Different varieties of Juvéderm can be used to plump up lips, earlobes and cheekbones—and even fill acne scars.

Belotero touts itself as a filler that that molds to your own distinct facial contours; it’s versatile enough for deep folds, and especially effective to give an “airbrushed” look to fine lines.

Radiesse not only fills in lines, but also stimulates the production of new collagen; this allows for a longer time between touch-ups. Unlike some other fillers, Radiesse is not used on the lips.

Restylane is used to treat moderate to severe facial folds, as well as enhance the lips.

Sculptra is FDA-approved to build up cheeks, fill in hollows and increase skin thickness (its not used on lips, though). Multiple treatments are needed, usually 4 weeks apart.  Unlike the other four fillers, Sculptra results are not immediate, but they do last longer.

Other comparisons? Radiesse and Sculptra have the added benefit of boosting the body’s natural production of collagen, to help skin stay plumped up and youthful. In general, Juvéderm, Restylane and Belotero are less costly that Radiesse and Sculptra.

Whew! Still not sure what’s best for your clients? No worries, you can advise based on your client’s budget, facial features, skin elasticity and other factors. And no matter which filler you recommend, your clients will be filled with enthusiasm upon glimpsing  in the mirror!

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Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin

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Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin

Confused about Injectables? Here’s Your Cheat Sheet!

If you’re like me, you probably ditched your chemistry textbook back in your high school days—and maybe with glee! But do you ever feel like you need an advanced degree to make an informed recommendations to your clients? 

Read the fine print in a Botox® Cosmetic ad, and you’re likely to stumble over a sentence like “OnabotuabotulinnumtoxinA is recommended to treat glabellar lines.” In plain Englsh, that means Botox is great for improving the look of moderate to severe frown lines. Whew. We knew that.

Now, there are some new contenders in what’s technically called the neurotoxin field: Dysport and Xeomin. Are they better than Botox? Do their effects last longer? How do you know which might be right for you?  Here’s help!

First, know that the three products all work basically the same way: They block the signal of nerve impulses to particular facial muscles. This, in turn, prevents those muscles from making wrinkle-causing contractions. And that, in turn, creates a smoother, more attractive appearance where lines used to be. 

Plus, all three products offer temporary results, which can vary with each patient. So far, very similar…so what are some of the fine points?

Botox, the original, is designed to improve the moderate to severe frown lines between the eyebrows as well as crow’s feet. After a Botox injection, you usually see full results in 7 to 10 days—and their literature says the effects last up to 4 months.

Dysport offers results more quickly—usually in 2-3 days. Clinical trials shows it tends to “spread more” than Botox, which can be good if you’re treating a large area (you may need fewer injections to treat, say, a forehead).  But this “spread” factor means you should only use a skilled physician—who’s experienced with the delicate musculature of the eyes and face—for Dysport injections. Otherwise, the product could spread into unwanted areas of the face.  With Dysport, don’t ever go the cut-rate route!

Xeomin, the newest contender, won FDA approval for its success in treating cervical dystonia, a rare condition that involves an excessive pulling in the neck and shoulders. Now, doctors are permitted to use it off-label to treat the same facial lines as Botox and Dysport. Unlike its predecessors, Xeomin does not have to be refrigerated before use (experts say that may make it easier to distribute), and it has no additives (which mean it could carry a lower risk of developing antibodies to a particular ingredient). Much like Botox, Xeomin offers results in about a week that last from 3 to 6 months.

Feel like you’re back in Chemistry 101—or Chem Lite? Bottom line (no pun intended): Each of these products is safe and effective and whichever you recommend, your clients will look gorgeous. 

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Fading Brown Spots Protocol

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Fading Brown Spots Protocol

Get Rid of Brown Spots and save the leopard print for your shoes!

By now, summer may be a fading memory…but, what’s not fading are those darkened brown spots from the late August sun. If you’re like me, you want to make those unsightly complexion blotches disappear—and the sooner, the better.

Brown spots are a type of skin condition called hyperpigmentation, and they often form in response to years of unprotected sun exposure. A recent study showed just how negatively these spots affect your looks: When photos of women were doctored to highlight their uneven skin tone, these women were actually judged as older and less attractive than women with abundant (and deeper) wrinkles. Bottom line? The more brown spots you have, the older you look.

The good news: There are a number of different techniques to eliminate brown spots and restore skin’s youthful smoothness. But before you begin a program, it’s best to assess your precise level of damage by taking a digital skin analysis. The VISIA™ is an advanced photographic technology that captures a clear, close-up, multi-dimensional image of your complexion. This specialty camera not only measures how much sun damage you currently have, but it also shows what's lurking below the surface. This is the pigmentation that’s about to appear in the near future, rearing its ugly head when you least expect it. An excellent sales tool for any Medical Spa. 

I recommend a three-step approach to banishing brown spots:

 Step One: Begin by getting on a lightening regimen with a skin care routine that incorporates Hydroquinone. If you are allergic to Arbutase, try its natural alternative, Kojic Acid. I recommend the Obagi Nu Derm Kit. Products containing these ingredients bleach the skin, lighten brown spots and even out skin tone. They also precondition the skin for Steps Two and Three.

Step Two: Once the surface skin has been sufficiently bleached, I like to work on the sun damage that is hovering at the deepest levels of my skin. The stuff you can’t see…yet. Intense Pulsed Light works to non-invasively banish brown spots by heating up the structures that hold the unwanted dark color, damaging and destroying the blood vessel or “sun spot”. This process is called Selective Photothermolysis since it specifically targets only the affected area. Within 7-10 days, the damaged cell rises to the surface and sloughs off, leaving skin smooth and even.

Step Three: Once these lower layers of pigmentation have been eradicated, I like to finish with a set of chemical peels to remove all the dead skin cells from the top layers of my skin. Chemical peels remove layers of affected skin, allowing new, unaffected skin to grow back in its place. There are different types of peels, varying in strength and in how deeply they penetrate the skin. I recommend a mid-strength chemical peel, known as a TCA peel, for optimal results following a Selective Photothermolysis procedure.

Once eliminated, these spots will not return unless you go back into the sun unprotected! Every skin tone is susceptible to sun damage and discoloration, which is why sunscreen is a must—no matter how dark your natural complexion or what time of year. Because UVB rays target the top layer of skin—where freckles are—a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is especially important. Even as winter approaches, be sure to pick up a broad-spectrum physical sun block. A broad-spectrum block with titanium and/or zinc literally deflects UV rays so they won’t wreak havoc on your skin. And brown will remain a chic wardrobe choice, not a mark of aging and sun damage!

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Summer Skin Care Tips

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Summer Skin Care Tips

5 Summer Skin Care Tips

For those of you who want flawless skin, here are some summer skin care tips:

Use sunscreen, sunscreen, and more sunscreen!

Look for products labeled ‘broad-spectrum’ as they protect against both UVA and UVB radiation. Studies show the most effective amount of sunscreen required is a teaspoon for the face and a shot glass for the body, and it should be applied every two hours. Other smart suggestions: Always wear sunglasses and invest in a cute summer hat!

Keep hydrated both inside and out

 Increase your hydration by drinking lots of water and applying intensive serums made from hyaluronic acid, perfect when layered underneath a rich moisturizer. Hydrating face spritzers are a great way to add moisture during the day when you’re on the go. I love Caudalie’s Grape Water Spray.

Don’t use perfume when you know you'll be outdoors.

Be careful — your favorite scent may be increasing your chances to burn and pigment. Certain perfumes containing citrus notes are photosensitive, causing the skin to develop dark spots in the sun. To be safe, avoid fragrances when you are going to be in the sun.

The best quick fix for a sunburn doesn’t require special lotions.

If you do get a burn, the goal is to reduce inflammation — and fast! Take an aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce the redness. Soak a facecloth in a bowl of ice and apply it to the area for 10 minutes followed by an application of hydrocortisone cream or aloe vera.

Repair and treat sun damage as part of a long-term care plan.

Overexposure to the sun causes photo-aging in the form of brown spots, regardless of whether you have burned your skin or not. Look for products that contain tretinoin, azelaic acid, and kojic acid to fade the appearance of superficial brown spots. Try chemical peels, intense pulsed light, and micro-needling for more effective solutions to fading deeper sun and age brown spots. Enjoy the summer, but stay safe!

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