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Marketing a Clean Spa

Janet McCormick June 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
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Times are tight right now and spas want—and need—a larger share of clients. Spas, whether they are small or large, want to attract every client possible by using every method at their disposal to set themselves apart from their competition. How can your spa do this and then enjoy the benefits? Marketing your differences, if done properly, can bring in new clients and allow you to keep the ones you already have. But you need something new, a shtick, something they will notice and say, “Ah ha, that is where I want to have my treatments.”

Being clean

The very best gimmick is something that will not only attract clients for a one-time or occasional service, but will also spark loyalty and a good feeling about the entire spa. Goodwill can bring appointments into other parts of the spa, as well, if carefully marketed. One topic that can do this is client safety. Running a thoroughly clean establishment sets your spa apart from your competition, and will attract clients to your spa and keep them there. But first they need to know you are special in this arena of concern.

Safety is a growing worry for clients, mostly due to consumer media coverage about the damage and deaths caused by a few spas because of unsanitary conditions. The nail area of spas is a main focus when safety is considered because the most visible cases of sanitary neglect have occurred in this area. The media has announced the problems in the nail industry to the world and erroneously indicated that all nail services are dangerous. Many clients have accepted this judgment and do not have nail services, and some no longer go to spas.


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Infection Control

Doug Schoon, a consultant from Schoon Scientific & Regulatory Consulting, LLC,and co-chair for the Nail Manufacturers Council, says that there is a lot of misinformation in the spa industry about infection control. “Infection control should be fully and correctly understood by every professional in our industry, but is not,” he says. Many professionals believe placing implements into disinfection liquid is sterilization; this is a misconception. The correct information follows.


  • Reduces the population of dirt, debris and microorganisms on a surface
  • Physically removes contamination, but does not necessarily destroy microorganisms
  • Is a mandatory requirement before disinfection or sterilization of implements


  • Involves using an agent to destroy or inactivate harmful microbes
  • Usually refers to the destruction of microbes on implements by immersion in EPA-approved chemicals that kill the growing, vegetative forms of bacteria, but not the resistant spores of bacteria and many viruses
  • Requires proper mixing of all liquids according to manufacturer instructions to actively disinfect


  • Any process, physical or chemical, that will destroy all forms of bacteria, fungi, spores and viruses
  • Can be performed through the use of steam under pressure (autoclave) or through a designated number of hours of immersion in EPA-approved sterilants, such as glutaraldehyde

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