Beauty and Medicine > Expert Advice

Dr. Katz's Tips

Dr. Bruce E. Katz is the medical director of Juva MediSpa in New York City. Dr. Katz is clinical professor of dermatology at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine as well as director of the Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He received the prestigious SpaFinder Visionary Award in 2004.

  • Be sure to ask how long a med spa has been in operation.
  • Be sure to ask whether there is a doctor on site.
  • Be sure to obtain information on the individual performing whatever service you are interested in: What is his/her background, and how much experience does he/she have with the service in question?
  • Always ask whether the spa owns or rents its lasers. Centers that rent lasers tend to have less experience with the devices than ones that own them.
  • Make sure that the facility uses an autoclave (steam device) to sterilize its instruments. Sterilizing solutions are not as effective as autoclaves.

Dr. Krant's Tips

Dr. Stephen Krant is the medical director and cosmetic surgeon at SK Clinic and SK Sanctuary in San Diego. He has performed thousands of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery procedures. He received the prestigious SpaFinder Visionary Award in 2006.

With so many businesses popping up all over the country professing to be a "medical spa", choosing the right or the best one can be confusing.

When deciding which medical spa is best for you, consider the following five tips:

  • Make sure the med spa is directed by a physician on the premises. Don't hesitate to check his/ her credentials.
  • Experienced staff/ Licensed medical personnel
  • The experience and the expertise of a med spa's staff are crucial to ensuring satisfaction with your treatments (laser, fillers, BOTOX┬«, etc.). Make sure that the person administering the treatments is a licensed professional (registered nurse, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, or medical doctor), not an esthetician. Medications and treatments are to be supervised/ administered by medical personnel only.
  • Ask questions/ Be the expert
    The more questions you ask, the greater the staff's ability becomes to provide you with the best care possible. Ask spa professionals about their experience with the treatment/procedure of your choice, how many treatments they have performed, and the expected results. A true med spa will offer expertise to provide sound, medically based solutions for your health and beauty.
  • Don't focus solely on cost.
    Try not to choose a spa simply based on price. Most reputable med spas offer the latest treatments (e.g. lasers, fillers, massage techniques, endermologie) and comparable prices.
  • Comfort/ Safety
    When you walk into a med spa, you should feel at home and welcomed by the staff. It should feel like your own personal sanctuary. With your research, you should feel safe and secure, knowing that you have chosen the right medical providers.

Dr. Polis' Tips

Dr. Laurie Polis is the director of dermatologic services at Soho Skin and Laser Dermatology Group and its affiliated Mezzanine Spa. Widely known as a med spa pioneer, she founded Mezzanine in 2000.

  • Think about your treatment goals before you arrive at the spa. Take a few minutes to collect your thoughts before coming to the medical spa so that you are more able to effectively communicate your needs. A goal might be to diminish skin redness or visible blood vessels, or to simply look younger, or to reduce acne. Depending on your goals and your specific situation (for example, if you are pregnant), you may want to consult your doctor before booking treatments at a med spa.
  • Let go of your preconceived notions when you enter a new med spa. For example, if you had a bad experience with a peel at a spa in the past, you should communicate that while remembering that times have changed and therapies have truly improved. If you had unsuccessful "laser hair removal" in the past, that does not mean it will not work in the hands of a med spa. New, more effective light and laser devices are evolving by the month, and a true med spa will perform the latest therapies.
  • Make a list ahead of time of any medical conditions, medications, injuries, or warnings about which you might want the therapist to know before beginning treatment. It would be unfortunate to be in the middle of a treatment including aromatherapy and suddenly remember your allergy to lavender.
  • Do a little research beforehand. If you know you are coming in for an IPL treatment, call the spa to find out whether it is okay that you are on a particular medication, or that you are leaving for Puerto Rico the following week and will be in the sun. It would be a shame to arrive and then find out you cannot have the treatment because of some overlooked condition or circumstance.
  • Don't be shy. Ask questions. Ask about options. You may come in for an acne facial and end up with a helpful referral to a spa-affiliated dermatologist who can clear the deep-seated cysts while the esthetician works on clogged pores and superficial acne. Med spa practitioners work closely with physicians to give the client the most effective weapons in the war against unwanted conditions.

From Luxury SpaFinder Magazine: Spa RX: Seeing the Light

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