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Why Medical Estheticians Make The Perfect Threesome


May 19, 2016

At one time, a spa chain or beauty boutique was where women went to get their skin revitalized. Today, however, clients are flocking to top dermatologists’ offices for facials from the medical estheticians that work within the practice—in many ways, it’s the best of both worlds.

Surprisingly, doctor’s offices present a number of facial benefits one may not have thought of, and prices for treatments are comparable to that of a spa. Services are specifically crafted for the client, addressing their skin condition in a completely medical/scientific way, along with impressive results, impeccable training, and state-of-the-art technology.

Medical Experience Meets Spa Skill

“Many spas can’t address some skin issues I see, nor do they have the knowledge, equipment or products and experience to do so,” says Jordana Mattioli, a licensed medical esthetician who works with cosmetic dermatologists Dr. Julie Karen and Dr. Elizabeth Hale in their Upper East Side office. “The experience that comes with working with cosmetic dermatologists is that we are exposed to a lot more varied skin types that need a medical level of treatment and care, so the experience we have treating those issues is incomparable.”

Like many in-office estheticians, Ms. Mattioli gives advanced, noninvasive facials, and incorporates therapies like ultrasound, microcurrent, LED light therapy, peels and lasers into her treatments. “I also get to attend medical professional-only conventions, symposiums, meetings, and conferences for continuing education,” she explains, “so there’s an added level of medical understanding I bring to my patients.”

Why It’s The Perfect Threesome

The arrangement is truly the perfect threesome, without anyone feeling cheated. “I have a lot of patients who come here and aren’t patients of the doctor, but know that one is right next door if there’s an emergency, if something looks suspicious or something needs immediate attention,” says Luzinete Ripardo, the medical esthetician who has worked in-house with Dr. Neil Sadick for the past twelve years. “Because I have access to all the newest machines and equipment Dr. Sadick has in practice, I can use those on my clients. Spas can’t offer the same high-level equipment and latest technology, nor are they allowed to do acne surgery and medical grade extractions.” Ms. Ripardo performs 8 to 10 facials per day, 5 days a week. Like the price of many spas, her 1-hour, medical cleanser starts at $185. Add a peel or another treatment and the cost goes up.

For dermatologists and plastic surgeons, the appeal is the positive results that stem from the collaboration. “You can do a terrific facelift, but you also want a maintenance program. Skin needs post-surgery care and there’s a healing progress,” says Dr. Melissa Doft, a plastic surgeon whose office is located on the Upper East Side. “Aside from the fact having the services of a medical esthetician is a nice thing to offer your patients, they understand how we work, what our philosophy is, and the level of care we offer. Everyone benefits from the teamwork approach.”

The Medical-Grade Product Bonus

Another bonus: patients are able to try high-grade or medical-grade products that are distributed and available only to doctors. “I call the peels we offer ‘designer peels’ because they are more customized, combining professional strength acids, such as glycolic or lactic, and blending them with calming and moisturizing ingredients that simultaneously soothe and nourish the skin,” explains medical esthetician Nicole Paxson, who works alongside renowned plastic surgeon Adam Kolker, MD, FACS, in his New York City private practice. “These higher concentrations and prescription strengths can’t be dispensed if you don’t have a doctor ordering these products or a medical professional on staff,” Dr. Doft adds. “We also offer techniques and treatments like Dermaplaning, which is the scraping away of dead skin and peach fuzz which can only be performed in a medical office.”

Timesaving Results Vs. Robes & Options

But what about pampering and plush, terrycloth robes? These amenities and others—sauna, steam room, gym, and even snacks—are rarely available in cosmetic doctor offices. If you’re also craving a more creative menu of treatment offerings, you might need to say good-bye to that as well. Bliss, whose facials can run 30 to 90 minutes lets customers choose from over 18-plus offerings. Their Fast & The Fabulous will run you $50 for 30-minutes while the Speed Clean, a 90-minute treatment, clocks in at $295. Elizabeth Arden, who, like Bliss, depending on the location you choose, can offer up to 16 different treatments ranging from an Oxygen Facial Infusion, $195, to the Ceramide Anti-Aging Facial, $160, a deeply plumping treatment that uses a line of advanced, rejuvenating skincare.

Though these amenities and offerings sound enticing in an often much needed “downtime indulgence,” today’s discerning skin-conscious woman is leaning more towards no-frills anti-aging facials. “People want results and solutions,” says Ms. Ripardo. “People don’t come here to relax or get pampered. This is about serious skin care, getting a treatment, forming a plan, and seeing results.”


Sometimes the Derm is a better choice: here’s why.
Plus—how to take Dr. Dennis Gross‘ Alpha Beta Medi-Spa Peel home.


 Read client reviews, book appointments, and get expert advice. Only the best cosmetic doctors, skincare gurus, nutritionists, fitness and wellness professionals make it into our book.  

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