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The Botox-like Facial

By Kellie K. Speed
Posted: July 26, 2006, from the August 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

The Botox1-like facial recently has been introduced as a noninvasive clinical treatment that works as a wrinkle corrector to minimize expression lines while smoothing and relaxing the skin. The addition of potent antioxidants strengthens the dermis and inhibits the breakdown of the cellular matrix, resulting in a visibly reduced appearance of fine lines and the prevention of new ones. Embellish Hair Salon and Day Spa in Quincy, Massachusetts, is one of the first day spas in the area to offer the facial.
        The Botox-like facial was introduced by G.M. Collin Skin Care Inc. in September 2005. “A few years ago, alpha hydroxy was very popular, but it was hard on the skin,” says Jean Lalonde, vice president of G.M. Collin. “This facial attempts to achieve better results, and it is much gentler.” Although there has been some debate about whether Matrixyl2 or retinol is more effective, both are included in the treatment for maximum results, according to Lalonde. If a client decides that Botox is right for them, they can continue with the Botox-like facial to extend the results of the injection. For those who are not interested in the more invasive procedure, this offers a better alternative for the long term. Although the facial does not provide initially drastic results, with continued use it does help to restructure the skin.

How it works
        “The most amazing thing about the Botox-like facial is that you see results after the first session,” says Diane Schwidde, esthetician for Embellish Hair Salon and Day Spa. “This facial is ideal for someone looking to decrease the appearance of fine lines, and it helps those with hyperpigmentation and sun damage.”
        According to Schwidde, Argireline3—one of the only peptides known to function similarly to Botox—and Myoxinol4 work together for an intense myorelaxing action. Argireline disturbs the nervous signals sent to the muscles and relaxes them. Matrixyl, retinol, copper and zinc peptides increase collagen and elastin synthesis to fight free radicals, detoxify and even out the skin tone. The combination of the strong antioxidant alpha lipoic acid and isoflavone, which has the biological activity comparable to that of the human hormone estrogen, inhibits the cell’s matrix breakdown, and works to reinforce and strengthen the skin. “When clients arrive for their first visit, I start by explaining the benefits of the facial and the immediate results they can expect,” continues Schwidde. “I tell them how each of the ingredients works on the skin and how they address different problems.”
        The Botox-like facial helps to prevent and eliminate expression lines caused by microcontractions of the skin. The complexion is left smooth and relaxed with a rejuvenated and re-densified look. The facial produces not only an instant effect, but also a long-term younger-looking appearance, if properly maintained.
        During a clinical evaluation, up to 85% of participants discovered a reduction of wrinkle length, and up to 88% saw a reduction of wrinkle surface area. More pronounced surface wrinkles or lines on the forehead, crow’s-feet and frown lines between the eyebrows also were reduced visibly in terms of depth, size and number. Facial muscles also were relaxed, and lines were smoothed.

Treatment steps
        The Botox-like facial takes approximately one hour and costs $150. In order to achieve continued results, four initial facials are recommended, one to two weeks apart. Thereafter, the facial should be booked once a month in order to provide ongoing maintenance.

        Step 1: The four-step treatment begins with an initial cleansing and exfoliation of the skin, as well as a skin analysis.
        Step 2: The first product application acts similarly to Botox and is massaged into the skin.
        Step 3: A freeze-dried collagen mask then is applied with alginate pellicles to boost the skin’s metabolic activity. This is worked into the skin, and, as it is massaged, it turns into a gel.
        Step 4: A thermal mask then is applied for 20–30 minutes, which further helps the products to be absorbed into the skin.
        Step 5: During this time, a hand massage is administered, and the esthetician encourages the client to continue relaxing.
        Step 6: After the time has elapsed, the mask is removed.
        Step 7: An intensive moisturizer is applied that acts as a sealant, forcing the products into the skin and providing hydration, which boosts the skin’s metabolism. 

        Continued applications of the Botox-like facial will speed the process of increased skin metabolism, as well as accustom the skin to retaining its own moisture. The process is similar to that of many facials, but equipment or extractions are not used. It does, however, involve massage, which actively stimulates the skin.
       
Marketing strategies
        Once Embellish Hair Salon and Day Spa determined last year that they would offer this unique facial, the next step was implementing an effective marketing plan. “The easiest thing for us was word-of-mouth advertising,” says Patricia Mavrides, owner of the facility. “People who are looking for a facial, but aren’t sure which one they want, are asked what type of results they seek in a service. If they want to reduce the appearance of fine lines or hyperpigmentation, we suggest the Botox-like facial.”
        When researching new treatment options, the Embellish team was looking for a signature facial that would set the facility apart from the competition. The fact that the Botox-like facial is noninvasive and doesn’t involve injections makes this treatment unique. In addition to G.M. Collin listing day spas that offer the facial on its Web site, the spa sent out its own promotional cards. “The campaign offered our facial clients an introductory special,” adds Mavrides. “We have experienced positive results for all our clients.”

FOOTNOTES
1 Botox is a registered trade name of Allergan, Irvine, California.
2 Matrixyl is a registered trade name of Sederma Inc., Edison, New Jersey.
3 Argireline is a registered trade name of Lipotec, Barcelona, Spain.
4 Myoxinol is a registered trade name of Laboratoires Sérobiologiques, Pulnoy, France.