10 Things You Should Know About Med Spas
What’s not to love about med spas? They’re a perfect hybrid between a doctor’s office and a day spa, insuring both comfort and safety. If you have skin problems–such as scarring, wrinkles, or acne–med spas usually have a cure. They use only the latest technologies to significantly improve the condition of your skin.
Not Your Average Spa
Med spa treatments can vary, but you can usually get treatments like laser facials, laser hair removal, IPL treatments, microdermabrasion, photofacials, chemical peels, and Botox done—and for significantly less than what these procedures would normally cost at a dermatologist’s office. Are you interested in checking out a med spa? Here’s ten things to consider before you do:
Med spas are everywhere.
The number of med spas in the U.S. has increased more than fourfold since 2007, from 800 to 4,500. Why are they so popular? Part of the reason is improvements in technology which allow people to obtain better results from less invasive cosmetic procedures. Another factor is recovery time. Older people remaining in the workforce want to look younger than they actually are, but can’t afford to take weeks off from their jobs to recover from a facelift. They’re turning instead to med spas to smooth their wrinkles. Beware, however: an increase in the number of med spas means you need to be extra careful when choosing one.
Doctors aren’t always present in med spas.
Med spas promise the both of best worlds – a doctor’s treatment in a relaxing, spa-like setting. But in actuality, only a few states require a doctor to be physically present–and sometimes only in certain circumstances. Most med spas nationwide usually have an affiliated doctor whose name is displayed on the premises. But this person may just stop by once a month to sign charts. They play no role in hiring or training staff. Though a well-trained aesthetician might match a doctor’s skill on a basic treatment, doctors are generally much better equipped to deal with complications that might arise. Of course, some med spas do have doctors on site. You should make sure that you choose a reputable med spa with an onsite doctor just in case any complications should arise.
If there is an onsite doctor, they could be a cardiologist.
Doctors from four different medical specialties have traditionally handled aesthetic treatments due to their relevant training. They typically come from plastic surgery, dermatology, otolaryngology, and ophthalmology. You should generally stick to one of these four specialties when searching for a doctor to perform cosmetic treatments. It’s not uncommon however for doctors supervising med spas to come from unrelated specialties, such as cardiology. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association has warned consumers to be wary of med spas advertising affiliations with “board-certified” doctors, because the certification could be in an unrelated field. You should be prepared to do your own research before choosing a med spa – make sure there’s not only a doctor on the premises, but that they’re trained in a field related to dermatology.
State laws overseeing med spas vary greatly.
Government oversight of med spas varies from state to state. Florida and California have some of the strictest governmental oversight, while Vermont and Missouri have some of the most lax. Some states also have loopholes that affect med spas. For example, in New York any method of hair removal isn’t considered the practice of medicine, and laser hair removal is unregulated in the state. You should research your own state’s med spa laws, and ensure that you pick only the most reputable, experienced med spa facility in your state.
Not all med spas are licensed.
Most states don’t require med spas to be licensed. Instead, states often regulate the procedures themselves. Med spas also aren’t subject to frequent inspection. Cash-strapped states don’t have the resources to inspect every med spa that opens up, and the issue of med spa regulation usually remains under the radar until something goes wrong. You should check out a prospective med spa’s history, rating and reviews before having procedures done there.
Your aesthetician might not be as qualified as you think.
Each state has different rules about how much training aestheticians must receive. Stricter states like Maryland require prospective aestheticians to pass a test on theory and practice following either 600 hours of beauty school or a rigorous two-year internship. Laxer states, though, allow the overseeing physician to delegate a procedure to anyone, regardless of training or experience. Since med spa treatment results depend on the technician performing them correctly, many people miss out on the results they should be getting. It’s imperative that your aesthetician is both qualified and experienced, so make sure to ask questions regarding their work history and certifications.
Med spas can do serious damage.
In September 2012, a Maryland woman died of an infection following liposuction at a med spa. Although such fatalities are rare, other complications with aesthetic treatments are more frequent. People often get burned as a result of laser hair removal, while others become temporarily paralyzed from too much Botox. Med spa injuries are hard to track since there isn’t a central repository for such statistics. You should take matters into your own hands when choosing a med spa. Make sure a doctor is on site; ask questions, such as how many times your aesthetician has performed the procedure you’re seeking and what kind of training she has; ask for a test patch if you’re uncertain about a procedure or have sensitive skin; and contact the spa’s medical director immediately if you experience pain, discomfort or discoloration after a procedure. You should research med spas by contacting your local Better Business Bureau, asking the spa for referrals and checking the onsite doctor’s credentials.
Don’t be embarrassed if your med spa treatment goes awry.
Many patients are embarrassed when a med spa treatment goes awry. They may blame themselves for wanting to have the procedure in the first place or for not doing better homework on the spa. Because they are embarrassed, they rarely file a complaint with their state regulatory agency. While successful lawsuits have been brought against med spas for serious harm, the public seldom hears about them. It’s important for the doctor or other practitioner to set realistic expectations and recommend procedures accordingly. Patients should also have realistic expectations or they could end up feeling very dissatisfied. You should research the types of procedures that would most benefit you along with their outcomes.
Med spas count on repeat visits from you.
Prices for med spa equipment can run into the six figures. Over half of a med spa’s start up costs is invested in new laser equipment, which becomes obsolete in a matter of years. Many med spas depend on high volume to recoup their investment, which means they’re looking to treat multiple places on your body, multiple times. Med spas view patients as an annuity, and they want patients coming back for repeat visits for a very long time. You should find a med spa you can trust to make sure you’re getting the appropriate number of treatments.
Many med spas offer integrated wellness treatments.
A significant number of med spas have started offering integrative medicine, including massage, acupuncture and nutritional counseling. Though scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of alternative treatments in some cases, in others the reasons for success remain unclear. If you’re interested in alternative medicine approaches, then you should look into a qualified med spa. As always, make sure the med spa personnel are qualified to perform the appropriate procedures.
If you’re looking for a good med spa, check out LaserAway. We combine luxurious beauty treatments with advanced medical technology to offer a unique line of medical spa services. We offer a revolutionary line of tattoo removal, skin care and anti-aging procedures. Want younger-looking, firmer skin? No problem. Need tighter body contours? We can help. Advanced skin rejuvenation (sometimes called “photofacials”), dermal fillers, Botox, skin tightening, body contouring, tattoo removal – we offer them all. Contact us today to find out what LaserAway can do for you.