Top 5 Things You Should Look For in a Medical Spa
If you are looking for a medical spa, it is important to do your research. Not all clinics are created equal!
In this blog post, we'll discuss the top 5 things you should look for when choosing a medical spa.
1. Safety First... Please!
Number one on our list is safety - no list should start without this at the top. Cosmetic injections are real medical procedures with real risks that cannot be ignored, which is why only registered medical professionals can perform them under strict controls.
Infection control procedures in a medical spa are much different than in a traditional spa or beauty salon. Medical-grade disinfecting, proper sterilization, appropriate PPE, temperature controlled storage, usage and inventory charting and many other controls must be in place to minimize the risk of complications.
While rare, serious complications can occur regardless of any precautions taken, and the ability to address them promptly and efficiently makes all the difference. In Ontario, all client injections performed by Registered Nurses (RN) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPN) must be authorized beforehand by their medical director - either a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or a Physician (MD). The medical director must consult with the client prior to their initial treatments, and also be available to address complications if they occur. Make sure that if you're being injected by an RN or RPN, you have been provided with a consultation by an NP or an MD beforehand - and don't be afraid to confirm that an emergency care kit is on site.
Here in Canada, all products injected must also be authorized by Health Canada. Certain products not currently authorized in Canada have received approval in the United States, which can cause confusion north of the border. Make sure your clinic only uses products authorized by Health Canada and prescribed for injection by an NP or MD.
Sometimes it's hard to determine safety before visiting a clinic, so feel free to ask them about it - or have a look through their website to see if safety seems to be top of mind.
2. They've Done This Before... Right?
When it comes to injectables and other skin treatments, you want to make sure you are going to a medical spa that has experienced, highly-educated professionals. What medical experience does the team have beyond aesthetics? How many treatments have they performed in the past? Are they experts who train others? Is it a collaborative practice with multiple injectors who can consult each other to combine their experience? Do they continually train on new procedures to stay current and advance their skills?
Nothing beats proper experience. That said, to continually evolve, staying up to date with additional training is needed to remain current with both medical-science and fashion trends. This training is very expensive and is often neglected to save money. Be sure to ask about it.
You should also ask about the injector's technique. Many patients have had bad experiences with botox and fillers, but this is often due to inexperienced injectors who overdo it or don't know how to properly place the product. As a result, their patients end up with frozen, puffy or unnatural results. Not fun!
If you want natural-looking results that help you look refreshed and rested (and not like you've just been to a medical spa), be sure to find an expert injector who has experience with facial anatomy and the many different types of injectable products available - each with their own unique properties. Ask them how they would approach your concerns, what products and treatments they would use and why. If they can answer these questions confidently, you're on the right track!
Now that we've covered safety and experience, let's move on to some other important factors.
3. What Are People Saying?
In today's day and age, reputation is everything. The best referral source is a trusted friend or family member's personal experience, but what if you don't have that? A good medical spa will have happy clients that sing their praises online. Check out Google Business reviews and other social media platforms to see what others are saying consistently about the clinic you're considering. Do they appear real or are they overly generic and suspect? An occasional review that isn't glowing can be normal, but check out how the clinic responds to them and whether there is a consistency to them. If a clinic is new or doesn't have many reviews yet, ask them for references of past clients you can contact directly yourself.
4. They Put You First
When you're looking for a medical spa, it's important to find one that puts your needs first. A good medical spa will take the take the time discuss your concerns, answer all of your questions and come up with a treatment plan that is right for you. You should not feel rushed through your appointment or feel pressured to continue with a treatment you aren't ready for.
A clinic focused on providing only evidence-based treatments shows a dedication to science versus catering to trends or risking your safety. They should also be realistic when setting your expectations, and only provide treatments that have a clinical likelihood of meeting them.
A reputable clinic will always operate with integrity and honesty, and they should make sure you feel comfortable and confident in their abilities every step of the way. If you don't feel like you're being listened to or if something doesn't seem quite right, trust your gut and move on!
5. How Much Do They Charge?
The old adage of "you get what you pay for" is generally pretty accurate in this industry!
There is a wide range of pricing out there. When evaluating cost, it's important to consider both the price per unit of botox (or filler, PRP, etc.) as well as the total cost of the treatment. Every medical spa has its own pricing model. Some charge per unit of botulinum toxin (Botox), while others charge by the area being treated. There are also membership-based clinics which offer monthly discounts in exchange for a yearly commitment. Be weary of very low prices per unit and consider why or how the pricing is low. It goes without saying that cosmetic medicine is one area where choosing solely based on price is not the best idea!
For example, one clinic may charge $9/unit of neuromodulator while another charges $15/unit - but if the first clinic requires 40 units to achieve your desired result while the second only requires 20 units then clearly the overall cost at the first clinic will be higher. Make sure you understand how many units will be required to achieve your desired result, understand the experience of the injector and clinic, and compare pricing accordingly. Don't forget though, no two people are the same either - the amount of units you need is likely to be different from a friend with similar goals. It's all about your unique anatomy.
It's also important to consider the quality of the product being used. Some products last longer than others, so even though the initial cost may be higher, you may end up requiring fewer treatments over time - which could save you money in the long run. Is your injector selecting the product based on price or based on the unique characteristics that product gives? Be sure to ask about this when evaluating cost.
Does your cosmetic injector accept or expect tips? While gratuities are discretionary for traditional spa services such facials, manicures, and relaxation treatments, a regulated health professional should not accept any form of gratuity. After all, these are medical treatments and are treated as such! In fact, accepting gratuities is not allowed per the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).
Finally, don't forget to factor in any additional fees such as consultation fees, touch-up fees, numbing cream fees and follow-up appointments when evaluating cost. These can add up quickly! An initial consultation fee to discuss your concerns and desired outcomes is normal for an experienced clinic as they require time from an expert, but if you continue on with treatment, this fee is normally deducted from your treatment cost.
If your clinic isn't transparent and up-front about pricing, find out why!
Respect the "medical" in medical aesthetics
A good medical spa will make sure you are comfortable and informed every step of the way - from booking an appointment to post-treatment follow up care. They should never compromise on quality or safety and respect the "medical" in medical aesthetics.
While no list can be comprehensive, I hope this post can help serve as a good starting point for determining where to obtain your cosmetic injections, wherever you live! If you find a clinic which meets all of these criteria, chances are you've found a good one to support you on your aesthetic journey! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
How do I choose a medical spa? Look for:
Evidence that the clinic is prioritizing safety
Experienced and continually-educated injectors
Great reviews and referrals
Policies that "Put You First"
Pricing that is fair and transparent