American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

What to look for in a quality med spa

medical spa

If you're looking for nonsurgical treatments to rejuvenate your skin and body, you're not the only one. Countless Americans are too, and with the increasing demand for less invasive cosmetic options in the past 20 years, we've seen an increase in the number of med spas. A med spa is a combination of an aesthetic medical center and a day spa that provides nonsurgical aesthetic medical services under the supervision of a licensed physician.

Although med spas may be overseen by practitioners from a variety of backgrounds (requirements vary by state), it is to your advantage to seek a med spa under the supervision of a board-certified plastic surgeon. Plastic surgeons are trained not only in surgical procedures, but nonsurgical treatments as well. You'll be directed in the best direction to achieve your goals, and sometimes that is surgery.

While a plastic surgeon may be on hand in a supervisory role, many nonsurgical treatments are administered by an aesthetic nurse practitioner at the med spa. The plastic surgeon and the practitioners work as a team to maintain practice standards and training, as well as to review results.

With more and more med spas opening as less invasive procedures are gaining popularity, how do you know which one is best for your skin and beauty needs? Searching for a top-quality med spa doesn't have to be a luck-of-the-draw affair. Taking the time to do your research upfront will save you money, avoid hassle and help you find just the med spa you're looking for. Here are some aspects to consider when evaluating med spas.

Treatments available at a med spa

Med spas focus on providing nonsurgical aesthetic treatments. Some of the common treatments offered by med spas are botulinum toxin injections (Botox®, Dysport®, Xeomin®), injectable dermal fillers, nonsurgical fat reduction, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing and tattoo removal.

Every med spa is different and the procedures offered may vary depending on where you go. Before visiting a med spa, you should visit their website or call ahead to see what services are offered.

Quality over quantity

What treatments are on the menu at the med spa? While there are some larger med spas that have a very long list of treatment options and can perform each and every treatment with expert skill, you often can be better served by a med spa that has more carefully tailored their treatment list. This could be a sign that they have carefully reviewed the aesthetic treatment options out there and selected the ones they find are most effective.

In addition, even though med spa treatments are not surgical, they still require training and practice to utilize the equipment. Ask questions like:

  • How many times have you performed this treatment?
  • What type of training is required to use this particular piece of equipment?
  • Do you have before and after photos of your patients who have had this procedure?
  • How long has the supervising doctor been working at the facility and what type of training and certification do you have?

How involved is the supervising physician?

Plenty of med spas work under medical professionals without actually being supervised closely. It is important to ask the med spa how involved their supervising physician is in their facility. Top med spas have experienced aesthetic professionals who work closely with the supervising physician to develop the treatment menu, oversee daily operations and even consult directly on certain cases. There are good reasons why states require the involvement of a licensed physician in a med spa's operations.

Med spa services can complement surgical cosmetic procedures, and the involvement of a plastic surgeon can help patients review all of their options to achieve their aesthetic goals.

Comprehensive complexion analysis

When it comes to seeking med spas for skin rejuvenation, many med spa treatment facilities will perform an analysis of your existing skin concerns to come up with a treatment plan to suit your skincare needs. Computerized systems use high-resolution imaging to analyze the health concerns of your facial skin, which will guide your provider in determining a proper course of skin care treatment. Quality med spas will offer a follow-up analysis to analyze how your treatment plan is working.

Hand-selected beauty products

With the overwhelming number of beauty products on the market, it's hard to tell which ones are worth your money. Finding out who chooses the products and treatments is a great way to tell if you are at a top med spa. Quality med spas will have an aesthetician or another senior staff member who selects the products or product lines to carry. Asking why they chose a specific product can be insightful. A quality med spa will select products based on how well they work and client feedback, not simply because the product brand may be popular or may be associated with a larger medical company that offers bulk discounts.

Availability of subscription services

Keeping up with a beauty regimen can feel like a fulltime job some days. It's hard to stay on track and know when it's time for follow-up treatments or time to explore additional treatments. Subscription services, loyalty programs and monthly memberships offer an easy solution for getting regular, personalized skincare at affordable rates. Not only do these kinds of recurring services allow for budget-friendly monthly payments, but they also allow you to track your treatment journey and get easy reminders for when it's time for follow-ups.

Is a med spa right for you?

A med spa can be the perfect solution for anyone seeking nonsurgical or minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. When choosing a med spa for your treatments, remember to check if the supervising physician is a plastic surgeon. Plastic surgeons are trained to perform both surgical procedures and nonsurgical treatments, and their aesthetic expertise is very valuable in a med spa setting. To find a plastic surgeon in your area, please use the Find a Plastic Surgeon tool on the ASPS website.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


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