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Skin Rejuvenation Devices in the Medical Spa

By: Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS; Tracy L. Drumm; and Terri A. Wojak
Posted: February 28, 2012, from the March 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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The nonthermal nature of ultrasound acts to create microscopic bubbles of blood—known as cavitation—as well as lymphatic and tissue fluids, which act to increase the cell membrane’s permeability and calcium intake. All of this helps in wound repair and collagen production. This is why ultrasound is often used pre- and post-operatively, to accelerate the healing process by reducing inflammation and swelling. Cavitation can also help deliver specific products into the skin through a process known as phonophoresis. Overall, ultrasound results in a rejuvenated appearance, which makes it an excellent choice for clients who want a quick, relaxing procedure with no downtime.

LED. LED is a mild form of light therapy that has been shown to produce results with certain skin conditions. It uses significantly less energy than laser or IPL; it is actually the light used in alarm clocks and produces no heat. This makes it a safer and more comfortable option than some of the medical light therapies, including IPL and lasers. As with the other treatments, results are individual; some clients may see visible results sooner than others, depending on how their skin reacts to the light therapy.

There are several different colors used. The blue light is superficial and is beneficial for targeting Propionibacterium acnes, which is one of the main culprits for acne. Blue LED is often used in conjunction with a service known as photodynamic therapy for acne clients, which incorporates the use of a photosensitizing agent that is applied to the skin before the use of light therapy so that the skin reacts more effectively to the light source. LED in the yellow-to-orange range is used for collagen stimulation and prevents loss of elasticity. The red light is commonly used for healing and to reduce inflammation, which makes it a great option for all skin types.

Microcurrent. Microcurrent is becoming increasingly popular in many medical offices as well as skin care facilities. It is a low level of electrotherapy that helps to tone the muscles in the skin, as well as increase circulation, resulting in a more youthful appearance. A neurotoxin stops the muscle movement, and microcurrent does the exact opposite—it essentially acts as a workout for your facial muscles. The idea is to re-train the muscles while strengthening them with repeated treatments. Microcurrent services may be most effective in a medical office when packaged with other more invasive services to perfect the client’s results. Some microcurrent clients say they see a result immediately after the treatment; however, the problem with that is, although there is instant gratification, these results tend to dissipate early. This is why many of these devices are sold for at-home use; treatments should be performed three to five days a week for best results. 

It is important to understand the ultimate goal of a cosmetic esthetic client. Client expectations must be managed appropriately, and the procedures must be reasonably priced. Exaggerated definitions of “nonsurgical face lifting” may leave clients with the impression that such services can replace surgical procedures. Although objective skin-tightening is frequently reported, clients expecting a surgical-type result will be disappointed with the subtle results. It is recommended that if a cosmetic device does not reliably achieve a client satisfaction rate of 90% or higher, it should not be offered. It is incumbent upon the discerning skin care professional to carefully evaluate and become familiar with all the available technologies, even if the treatment can only be performed by a medical professional.

Marketing point of view: Tracy L. Drumm

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