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Holiday Strategies for the Medical Spa

Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS, Tracy L. Drumm and Terri A. Wojak October 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine
holiday medical spa gift

The holidays are coming; is your medical spa ready? Use this special time of year to keep in touch with your current clients, reach out to new ones and refresh your service menu by offering a variety of treatments and services to help clients look their best for upcoming get-togethers.

Physician’s point of view: Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS

The holidays are a time when people often want to look their best. Some may be seeing relatives and old friends that they only see occasionally and others may have holiday parties to attend. No matter the reason, it is important to convey the right look. Beauty, in essence, is a form of subconscious communication; it is an indicator of health and vitality. But, it’s essential that being beautiful is subconsciously transmitted. If a person looks “fake,” it will inadvertently suggest the exact opposite: that she is not healthy and vital. For females, large eyes, small chins and defined but delicate jaw lines are generally believed to be more attractive. Contrary to the “makeover” concept perpetuated by many, it often only takes one small, detectable change in a person’s face, expression or posture to completely alter the impression projected.

Subliminal Difference is a treatment that was designed in my office using nonsurgical treatments to strategically improve physical appearance and self- esteem, resulting in the immediate projection of a more attractive persona. Unlike traditional methods, the Subliminal Difference treatment results are immediately apparent, and those who experience the treatment can expect minimal to no bruising and swelling. Most patients go right back to their normal routines looking youthful and refreshed.

Drawing attention to the eyes is the key for a natural approach to beauty. Neurotoxins injected in the masseter muscles is one of the techniques used to achieve this effect, narrowing the lower third of the face, allowing for others to be naturally drawn to the eye area. To counterbalance sunken under-eye hollows or droopy brows, filler can be injected to plump these areas, and can also be added to the cheek pedestal, which not only highlights the eyes, but also creates the appearance of an elevated cheekbone—another sign of beauty. Bimatoprost can create fuller lashes for a more youthful appearance, as well as draw even more attention to the eyes.

There are other treatments used for Subliminal Difference that provide a more healthy and youthful appearance. Accentuating the lips using filler is one of the more popular treatments to provide a youthful look. Laser treatments can be performed to create an even skin tone and texture, giving the appearance of internal health. Onabotulinumtoxin A and abobotulinumtoxin A on the upper half of the face reduces forehead wrinkles, including the deep furrows often seen between the eyebrows, as well as elevates the outer tips of the brows to create a friendly and youthful appearance.

The key is that these small improvements are recognized by others subconsciously. The results are immediately remarkable and patient satisfaction is often tremendous. They feel more ready and confident, which is perfect for the holiday season.

Esthetician’s point of view: Terri A. Wojak

The holiday season is the perfect time to build a clientele and offer new treatments to existing clients. There are several options when it comes to going to a medical spa, including skin care services as well as medical services—a combination of both is usually the best option for most clients. When the skin looks good, everything else tends to look better, as well.

One of the many options for making the skin look its best is dermaplaning, a procedure unique to a medical spa since it requires the use of a scalpel. The esthetician gently abrades the surface of the skin with a scalpel to rid the face of vellus hair and dull, dry surface skin, providing an even, refreshed look. This can also be followed by a hydrating mask or mild chemical peel to enhance the results. After a dermaplaning treatment, product penetrates better since dead skin cells are removed. Another mechanical exfoliation treatment is microdermabrasion, which also helps to even the skin tone and provide a softer finish, leaving skin holiday-ready. (Editor’s note: Before performing a dermaplaning service, make sure it is legal for you to do so in your state. For a complete list of state boards and their contact information, log on to

Oxygen treatments are very popular during the holiday season, as well. There are different types of these treatments available, but overall, oxygen is known for its revitalizing properties. Two types of oxygen treatments can be offered that leave the skin with a vibrant glow. The first is a three-step process using stimulating ingredients with a vigorous massage to enhance circulation within the skin while delivering vital nutrients. This treatment leaves the client with a rosy glow and even skin tone. The other oxygen treatment performed often during the holiday season utilizes a machine with pressurized oxygen through an air brush-type device. This is perfect for the night before a holiday party or even the day of. The pressurized oxygen is used as a vehicle to push hyaluronic acid, known for its hydrating abilities, into the surface layers of skin. This provides an immediate, glowing look for the client so she is ready for a family party or a night on the town. The skin appears more hydrated because of the plumping of fine lines caused by dehydration.

There are other options to relax the stressed-out client that also make great gifts for the client who is overwhelmed with the holiday season. Pumpkin enzyme facials can be offered as seasonal treatments around Thanksgiving. Pumpkin is rich in beta carotene and hydroxy acids to exfoliate and bring antioxidants to the superficial layers of the skin. Peppermint facials can also be done to bring the scent of the holidays to the room. If providing body treatments, a brown sugar scrub can be a relaxing, hydrating treatment during the winter months.

Many other skin care treatments can be beneficial during this time. It is up to you to find the promotions that work best for your specific clientele, but it is advantageous to have a combination of everything. You should have services available for relaxation, as well as those that provide an immediate glow and exfoliation for those who want something a little more aggressive.

Marketing point of view: Tracy L. Drumm

The holidays are a time of joy, peace and rest ... well at least that’s how greeting cards portray them. For the rest of us real folks whose holidays don’t resemble a Norman Rockwell painting, below is a guide for how to survive and thrive through holiday promotions. By following a few proactive steps, you can keep the grinch out and the staff grinning all season long.

Facts. Whether it is planning for New Year’s, Hanukkah or Christmas, it seems inevitable that every year come December, your to-do list doubles overnight. If recalling this list of urgent tasks induces a cold-sweat, transform the way you think of this annual overload into an opportunity. As hectic as holidays are, they are also equally reliable. You can look at a calendar and begin planning at any time. Being proactive is the first step to help you avoid projects bottlenecking and missing the holiday business boom.

Think of the calendar as your source for facts. The facts are the dates of holidays throughout the year and serve as anchors in your timeline. Set a schedule for your skin care facility where promotions are created eight weeks before the holiday and introduced to your market six weeks before the big day.

Fun. While hunting for the perfect present or juggling the influx of holiday traffic, it can be easy to forget that fundamentals start with “fun.” Seasonal promotions should be bright and cheerful, and set the tone for the entire experience a client has with your skin care facility. Build excitement and flare into each promo. Consider creative ways to engage your existing clients and unique messages that will generate buzz with new ones.

Free. Often spas looking to boost their business during the holiday rush are quick to drop prices. Beware of these dangerous discounting waters, and remember it can be difficult to raise your prices after a reduction. Look to add value before discounting. Consider giving a free gift with purchase or a complimentary treatment to sweeten your offer before dropping prices.

Friend. It’s no secret that women like to travel in packs. Whether powdering their noses or attending an event, it’s a well-known fact that gals like to be with their pals. Incorporate the phrase “pass this gift on to a friend” into all of your seasonal promotions to double your reach. The added value to encouraging clients to share specials with their friends is that you are generating referrals from a qualified source. Whether you are having a holidayopen house or promoting holiday-ready treatments, double your investment with an invitation for a friend.

Faithful. Did you know that it is almost seven times more expensive to gain a new client then it is to retain one? Having annual promotions and holiday specials provide benefits beyond just a boost in business. Holiday treatments offer a fresh message for you to reach out to your current clients and keep them faithful. Communication with clients on a regular basis will help keep them loyal and committed. It is important to recognize that client connections are ultimately relationships that require attention. Increase your retention rates by using the holiday season as an opportunity for outreach.

Following these protocol will help keep the joy in your season and the jingle in your sales. Remember that when it comes to marketing for the holidays, planning ahead is the best gift you can give yourself.

Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS, is a recognized expert in the field of facial plastic surgery and is a member of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. His passion for education led him to open True University in Chicago, a training center that teaches estheticians how to appropriately work with physicians. Dayan is a 2010–2011 member of the Skin Inc. magazine editorial advisory board.


Tracy L. Drumm manages the day-to-day operations of IF Marketing, a Chicago firm specializing in aesthetic medicine. Drumm recently co-authored Keys to Success: Marketing & Practice Management (College of Cosmetic Medicine Press, 2007) and Thrive: Pearls to Prosper in Any Economy (College of Cosmetic Medicine Press, 2009).


 Terri A. Wojak is a licensed esthetician with more than 14 years of experience. She has knowledge in all aspects of the skin care industry, including education, sales, medical esthetics, management and ownership, and she is the director, as well as an educator, at True University in Chicago.