It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t want to change something about their body. If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably spent more time than you’d like to admit honing your makeup skills, trying to find a pair of pants that makes your butt look better, debating which haircut will best distract from your chin, or dying your hair to postpone visible aging. These quick fixes may help you feel a bit better, but they often aren’t enough to help you feel truly confident.
In the past decade or so, many people have decided to go a step further to achieve glowing skin and a balanced face. Medical spas have opened up around the country to provide medical-grade skin treatments, anti-aging procedures, and aesthetic enhancements for the whole body.
Unlike in previous decades, you don’t have to go under the knife to make substantial changes to your appearance. Non-invasive fillers and facials in a welcoming, comfortable med spa environment can create similar results with far less risk. If you’re interested in taking the next step to enhance your natural beauty and confidence, you may want to consider making an appointment at a well-reputed medical spa.
What Is a Med Spa?
Med spas, also known as medical spas, are spa-like medical centers that provide nonsurgical aesthetic treatments under the supervision of a licensed medical practitioner. They often offer facials, chemical peels, Botox, facial fillers, varicose vein treatments, various laser treatments, and other services to help patients feel more confident about themselves.
Every med spa is different, with some offering a more extensive selection of facial fillers and skincare procedures while others focus on body contouring or hair removal. While larger med spas may have a long list of treatment options, smaller ones often specialize in the offerings their medical practitioners have found most effective. Before you visit a med spa, you may wish to browse their website to learn more about their approach and see whether they offer services that interest you.
Med Spas vs. Day Spas
Both med spas and day spas provide treatments in a calming environment. However, med spas take beauty enhancement to the next level by delivering clinical aesthetic treatments with cutting-edge medical technology. You might go to a medical spa for wrinkle or spider vein treatments, then head to a day spa the next week for a relaxing massage.
In many states, medical spas are required to be overseen by or affiliated with a physician. The procedures are usually done by trained medical professionals such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants.
Why Medical Beauty Is Taking Off Now
While many of us had to postpone appointments during COVID-19 lockdowns in some cities, the medical spa industry was growing fast in 2019 and is expected to rebound from recent setbacks. In our social media-dominated world, we all want to look our best — both now while we’re on our virtual meetings (have you heard about the Zoom effect?) and in the future when we begin to socialize in person again.
We’ve come to see ourselves in new ways during the endless Zoom and Teams calls with coworkers, family members, and friends. While we are hopefully still focused on the people we’re talking to, our own faces are also right in front of us on the screen. Many of us place a premium on having a beautiful, balanced face now that it’s often the only part of us other people see.
What Treatments Do Med Spas Offer?
Medical spas offer all kinds of nonsurgical aesthetic treatments, from medical-grade facials to lip boosts and hair restoration. Here are some of the most popular treatments you may be able to find at your med spa of choice:
Medical Skincare Treatments
- Chemical Peels: Many med spas offer high-end chemical peels that only a medical provider can administer. If standard skincare and day spa facials are not enough to get rid of your acne, rosacea, or other skin issues, you may want to talk to a med spa professional about medical-grade skin care options.
- PRF or PRP facials: Platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatments use concentrated platelets from your own blood to release growth factors that stimulate your body’s natural collagen stimulation and rejuvenation processes. Depending on how and where they are injected, they can be used to improve skin texture and tone or treat dark circles, acne scarring, hair loss, volume loss, and more.
- Microneedling: Often combined with PRF or PRP, microneedling is a safe regenerative technique to accelerate your body’s natural healing process and rejuvenate your skin. The result is firmer, more flexible skin with fewer fine lines and wrinkles, reduced acne scars, smaller pores, and a more even skin tone.
- Neuromodulators: Medical spas often provide personalized Botox and Dysport treatments to help patients reduce fine lines and wrinkles and prevent future wrinkles from forming.
- Hair restoration: Some medical spas offer treatments to help patients regain lost hair, such as PRP hair treatments or laser treatments.
- PDO thread lifts: Thread lifts are a minimally invasive treatment to lift sagging skin and restore the face’s natural and youthful V-shape.
- Midface and cheek fillers: Many people lose volume in the midface region as they age, which can be reversed with facial and cheek fillers.
- Sculptra face treatments: Sculptra injections help to gradually replace lost collagen, which is an underlying cause of visible aging in the face. These treatments restore lost volume and reduce visible wrinkles and folds.
- Profound RF: Profound treatments are a minimally invasive alternative to facelifts for patients looking for mild to moderate results. We often say that Profound RF gives ⅓ of a facelift for ⅓ of the price and ⅓ of the time as a surgical facelift.
- Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy treatment reduces or even eliminates spider veins and varicose veins. During this procedure, the provider injects a sclerosant chemical into the diseased vein.
- Neck boosts: Many med spa patients who wish to reduce the signs of aging get neckline fillers to eliminate wrinkles, decrease the visual effects of dry neck skin, and achieve a more elegant neck.
Enhancements and Reshaping
- Facial fillers: Medical spas often offer dermal filler injections to change the shape of the face according to the patient’s aesthetic preferences. Many patients ask for lip boosts to achieve a plumper or smoother lip, jawline boosts to add definition to the chin and jaws, smoothing nose boosts (AKA “liquid rhinoplasty”), and under-eye fillers to reduce eye bags and hollowness.
- Masseter reduction: Botox isn’t just for wrinkles! Medical spa professionals can also sometimes use Botox to relax and reduce the size of the masseter muscles, slimming down a square jaw.
- Hand boosts: Fillers can also be injected into the hands in a hand boost treatment to reduce loose skin and excessive tendon show.
- Booty boosts: Many of us want a rounder booty. If you wish, you can achieve the look with Sculptra butt injections from a trustworthy medical spa.
Med Spa FAQs
Do med spas have doctors?
In most states, medical spas are required to operate under the supervision of a doctor. Another medical professional, such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, will usually perform the treatment itself.
Are med spas safe?
Generally speaking, med spas are very safe, especially when compared to cosmetic surgery. Some procedures carry small risks, which your provider should inform you about before you commit to treatment. Unlike day spa staff, med spa providers are generally highly trained medical professionals with years of extensive training and a deep understanding of anatomy.
If you are undergoing a medical treatment, you should always be examined by a medical professional beforehand, even for minimally invasive procedures like Botox and fillers. That way, they can make sure the treatment is safe for you and personalize it for your body. Be prepared to discuss your medical history and prior cosmetic treatments since these factors may affect which treatments are safe for you.
What should I look for when choosing a med spa?
When choosing a medical spa, the most important thing to look for is a well-reputed provider. You are likely to have the best outcome and experience if you seek care from an experienced, qualified medical professional who cares about making patients comfortable. It’s a good idea to check the provider’s credentials and look for up-to-date information on their professional experience.
You may also want to consider the medical spa location. The right provider is often worth some extra travel, but if you plan to get regular touch-ups or a variety of treatments, you will likely want a provider who practices nearby. It’s also important to choose a clean facility where you feel comfortable; a med spa should be a space where you can relax, even during a pandemic.
This may go without saying, but you should also make sure the med spa you choose offers the services that interest you. Most medical spas offer common procedures like Botox forehead injections, but not all of them will offer, say, thread lifts or Sculptra.
What are some red flags to watch out for when looking for a med spa?
On the whole, medical spas are safer than ever. However, there are some businesses out there with questionable and potentially unsafe practices, so it’s essential to do your due diligence before you book your lip boost or sclerotherapy appointment. Here are some red flags to watch out for:
- Missing medical credentials. Reputable med spas are affiliated with at least one physician and generally have other highly trained medical professionals, such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants, on staff. You should be evaluated by one of these medical professionals before undergoing any medical treatments. If you’re not sure of the staff’s credentials, it’s perfectly alright to ask.
- Steep discounts. With medical spas, you usually get what you pay for. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Rock-bottom prices often mean the provider has no experience or is using inferior products to treat patients.
- Only one treatment option. Different fillers and treatment options create slightly different outcomes, even if the general purpose is the same. For example, Juvederm Ultra, Ultra Plus, and Vollure are all used to add volume to the lips but create slightly different-looking results. If your medical spa provider only offers one type of filler or wrinkle treatment, it may be a sign that they have limited expertise.
- Surgical offerings without a plastic surgeon. Some med spas headed by plastic surgeons can legitimately offer both surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. However, if you see surgical facelifts, liposuction, or other surgical options on the list of treatments and there isn’t a plastic surgeon on the staff, that’s a sign the med spa is not legitimate.
- Unreliable contact information or unclear post-appointment protocols. If you can’t find an active, reliable phone number to call in case of an issue, stay away. You should also check that the provider does follow-ups, especially for injectable treatments.
Find the Perfect Med Spa For You
Ready to take the next step in changing your physical appearance and boosting your confidence? It’s time to find a medical spa you love. The right provider is out there for you!
If you are looking for a top-rated medical spa in California, check out our recent post on the best med spas in the largest metro areas. You can also check out our blog to learn more about popular med spa treatments.