What is a medi-spa?
Getting what you pay for: the dangers of discount dermatology
Guest Written by Kelsey McGillis
What is a medi-spa, a medical clinic or day spa? Time to get the skiny.
If there’s one thing North American society is obsessed with, it’s sales. We see it all the time, from the increasingly-frenzied holiday of black Friday, to TV shows like extreme couponing. There’s no doubt, buying things at a huge discount can be a rush. However, while 50% off those killer shoes you’ve been eyeing is harmless fun, some bargains cost you more than the money you’re saving. Take the growing “medi-spa” industry, as example.
Medi-spas distinguish themselves from day spas with their certified medical estheticians and doctors on staff, each offering different types of services. Though staffed with some doctors, the procedures performed at these facilities are not meant to rival those performed in true dermatology clinics. However, these boundaries are being pushed every day. Today, many medi-spa’s offer injections such as botox and lip fillers, among other traditionally-medical procedures. Often, these services come at much lower rates than traditional dermatology clinics, tempting those after a “good” deal.
So… let’s get into the dark underbelly of these seemingly innocent clinics. Don’t be fooled by the “medi” in “medi-spa”, many of these clinics are associated with doctors as figureheads only – the majority of their services are actually performed by medical estheticians. Additionally, these services are often too simplified to be effective. For example, when it comes to laser treatments, many clinics only have one laser at their disposal, while any qualified dermatologist will tell you that different lasers must be used for different skin types. Take resident skincare expert, Dr. Lisa Kellett, whose Toronto clinic, DLK on Avenue, uses 6 different laser machines.
Another huge component of dermatology missing from these medi-spa’s is actual healthcare knowledge. Sure, an aesthetician can make you look good, but they may lack the knowledge to decipher between physical and health flaws. As Dr. Kellett explains, “It’s very important when thinking about removing anything on the skin to get a proper diagnosis from a dermatologist for a dermatological assessment in order to properly determine whether or not the lesion is benign or malignant…”
While the cheaper services and ease of access of these medi-spa’s may be very tempting, there is no alternative for safety and professionalism. Saving a few bucks on dermatology may be tempting at the moment but the possibly long-term, detrimental effects of a procedure can be devastating. Experience, transparency and certification come above all else in the skincare industry. Remember, you get what you pay for, so invest in your skin’s health and consult a certified dermatologist before undergoing any procedures.