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Embrace Esthetic Physicians for Greater Financial Rewards, Part I

Rocio Yaffar October 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
doctor and medical esthetician working with spa client

Editor’s note: This is Part I of a two-part series about how enhancing a physician’s services can result in greater financial rewards for esthetic professionals. Part II, which will appear in the November issue, will discuss details about specific treatments that can be offered by esthetic professionals, resulting in happier patients and a more profitable practice.

Medical esthetic practitioners have quite an opportunity these days—to enhance their patients’ physical attributes, as well as their emotional health and well-being while obtaining considerable profits for themselves. How? By bringing esthetic professionals into their practice.

Estheticians nationwide listen up: Here is your chance to boost sales and increase your income by doing what you do best. Despite the Great Recession the world has been experiencing, the medical esthetic industry is afloat and prospering. When people feel bad, they want to look good. The delicate and competitive workforce has plunged older workers into the offices of medical cosmetic professionals so they can look and feel younger in order to better compete with the younger generation for jobs. This is good news for esthetic practitioners, because your services are becoming more in demand at medical esthetic offices. Spa professionals, massage therapists, aromatherapy specialists and body treatment gurus pay attention: The medical world awaits your services.

The medical field is into you

To date, spa licensees have felt inadequate at professionally embracing the medical realm. You might think, “How can I compete with someone who does laser treatments when I am offering facials?” Great news—you do not need to compete at all. Learning how to spa-up medicine is a skill that will fatten your bank account without too much effort. The trick is to identify ways of incorporating your talent along with medical esthetic procedures to improve the outcome of cosmetic services, increase revenue and rebookings, decrease patient anxiety, offer add-ons, assist in post-recovery and provide overall better patient results.

It makes financial sense to team up with the medical world to enjoy a more cost-effective and productive practice. As it turns out, adding spa treatments to a medical esthetic practice makes good business sense. The challenge is integrating the often cold medical environments with warm, caring esthetics.

A manufacturer talks

David Suzuki, president of Bio-Therapeutic, Inc., manufacturer of skin care and medical devices in Seattle, comments, “Lessening the intimidation and anxiety of medical procedures by combining them with esthetic procedures is not a new concept, although it continues to be one that is rarely exercised. Medical offices are uncomfortable, hard-surfaced, cold environments, and most medical practitioners lack the psychological component that tells us that they care about what is happening to us as patients and, more importantly, as people.” This is the recipe for bad practice.

“Estheticians, on the other hand, are the polar opposite and give clients comfort, care and reassurance,” continues Suzuki. “Furthermore, they are very good at explaining procedures in understandable terminology with all of the important details that clients, as people, need to know to feel secure about the treatment they are considering.”

Ergo, a perfect fit. Providing medical procedures along with esthetic treatments offers a mutually beneficial approach. Clients come in for a medical procedure, and their skin is treated before and after to produce greater results. Conversely, clients may come in for a facial and conclude their session by booking a laser treatment. The esthetic professional and the physician are financially and professionally rewarded, and the patient enjoys greater results. Everybody wins.

The practitioner says . . .

Rafael Diaz-Yoserev, MD, a general, cosmetic and vascular surgeon at RDY Laser Cosmetics & Rejuvenation in Coral Gables, Florida, is actually an exception to the rule. It is evident that he does care about what is occurring to a patient as a person. With a background in laser to complement general vascular surgery, Diaz-Yoserev is an established surgeon who has been in private practice for 20 years, and he believes that combining spa services is beneficial in enhancing patient satisfaction. He does not see a separation between skin care and medicine. On the contrary—he thinks they’re a pretty good match.

“There should not be any friction between honest and honorable medical and esthetic professionals because the scope of each of their licenses is totally different,” he says. “They ought to be able to use each others’ knowledge. Their specialties should be complementary and work for the benefit of the patient.” The problem arises when one group believes it can do the job of the other.

The benefit Diaz-Yoserev finds in partnering up with esthetic professionals is three-pronged: It increases the patient base, raises revenue and attracts clients who would not otherwise come into his practice. He finds that one way of bringing it all together is to conduct external, complimentary events at related local esthetic practices, such as spas and massage therapy offices. He gives educational talks—not self-serving advertorials—at these venues, and offers the owners and practitioners an opportunity to refer people to him. For example, he might give a lecture at a local spa and have the spa’s clients inquire about his services. Referrals from physicians and great client experiences benefit the spa, and clients receive benefits from both the physician and spa, as well. In the end, clients receive added benefits from both.

Keeping in touch with new and existing clientele through internal marketing, such as engaging newsletters and information about novel treatments and specials, also benefits the client, the physician and the esthetic therapists, believes Diaz-Yoserev. He says that the key to staying fresh in the field is to continually find new procedures to offer patients in an honest fashion by giving them information about complementary skin care and medical treatment steps and results. For example, in his literature, he might highlight the benefits of having a facial before an injectable filler treatment, and even offer it as an add-on service with the purchase of the filler procedure. On the other hand, he is not a big fan of internal, on-site spa-related events at his medical practice. He finds that the financial gain of holding such events does not usually offset the expense.  

Diaz-Yoserev believes that spa services in a medical setting can provide added value to both women and men, so much so that he hired an esthetic professional at his medical practice. He thinks the benefit of pampering while increasing the results of medical procedures can certainly be achieved with an on-staff esthetic professional.

An esthetic perspective

Patricia Serentill, esthetician and patient care coordinator at Diaz-Yoserev’s office, has had much success as an esthetic professional at a medical esthetic practice. She says that new medical esthetic patients usually need to address anxiety and tension. As the patient care technician, she performs the initial consultation. The physician offers the medical side of the consultation, and explains the recommended treatment and expected results.

Serentill says that treatments such as the European Facial, conducted before dermal fillers, cleanses and tones the skin’s pH balance, which provides the optimal environment for noninvasive medical procedures. “Facial massage should be performed to stimulate the circulation of the facial muscles to prep the skin,” she says. The latter is an example of how a mutually symbiotic relationship between esthetics and medicine aids in profits. People come back for both the medical and skin care treatment, because the two are considered one. And that is the way to market the treatment on the menu. The joint treatments justify the cost, the esthetic professional benefits monetarily, the physician gets return visits and greater profits, and the patient is happy.

Home care is also essential in maintaining the results of both skin care and medical procedures. According to Serentill, laser treatments for acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation thrive on post-treatment home care, and vary depending on the skin condition. “Post-treatments for laser can involve the application of topical aromatherapy oils to assist in the healing process to aid redness or inflammation of the skin,” she says. Serentill applies a mineral facial to post-laser rosacea patients to help with the healing process. The main ingredient she uses in the mask is ginkgo, followed by a moisturizing cream. 

According to Serentill, acne patients receive a specialized treatment when laser therapy is involved, and it depends on the acne severity and grade level. As an esthetician, she usually treats grade levels I, II and sometimes III. She says that having a physician on board facilitates the esthetician’s treatment process of the acne patient because the physician is involved in the laser acne treatment during week one, and the esthetician treats the acne during week two. “I apply a foaming cleanser with a sulfur organic treatment to regulate sebaceous oversecretion. The treatment includes minerals, such as zinc and magnesium with sulfur to control sebum secretions, as well as any bacteria developing on the skin.”

A distributor’s point of view

Rob Trow, who operates Mashpee, Massachusetts-based DermaConcepts as the eastern U.S. distributor of Environ Skin Care and also owns Rocasuba/RapidLash—an eyelash and brow enhancement company—has much to say on the matter of medical and spa partnerships.

“There is no question that pre- and post-professional skin care treatments in-office coupled with at-home regimens enhance the results of any cosmetic medical procedure. These will also help prepare patients’ skin and help them psychologically. Preparation of the area to be treated will enhance and sustain results. Each practice should develop a series of in-office procedures coupled with at-home protocols targeted to each cosmetic procedure they offer,” he explains.

Trow believes that many successful medical practices include the cost of products and treatments in the overall pricing as an entire package while others sell them as retail and on a custom basis, or adopt a combination of the two. “Treatments can be dramatically more effective if products are based on vitamins A and C, antioxidants, peptides and growth factors in order to increase cell renewal, circulation, help prevent pigmentation changes and allow for optimum healing.”

Procedures

“Whether it is radio frequency, injectables, laser or surgery itself, basic facials and noninvasive technology such as microcurrent, microdermabrasion, LED and oxygen infusion go hand in hand both before and after more invasive medical procedures,” states Suzuki. “Before medical services, noninvasive technology procedures help prepare the perfect palette and serve as a conduit to lead clients to the next logical stage. After medical services, the same noninvasive technology procedures will help preserve and enhance the results, as well as speed the healing and recovery process.”

Part II of this series, which will appear in the November issue, includes details about what specific treatments can be offered by esthetic professionals in collaboration with physicians, resulting in happier patients and a more profitable practice.

 

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