Microdermabrasion: Have you been thinking about new avenues to grow your aesthetics clinic? Our new guest blogger, Victoria Ellender, discusses her decision to build her clinic with the addition of MDA treatments. Victoria has been an aesthetic practitioner since March 2008. She started with Botox and dermal fillers then skin peels and quickly progressed to the advanced aesthetic practitioner course with Medics Direct. Victoria has also been a trainer for Medics Direct and has her own local aesthetics clinic…
You’re providing dermal fillers and wrinkle relaxing injections and you may have considered offering new treatments that compliment your aesthetic business but are not sure which ones to offer. Your clients trust you and your results are being noticed. Where do you go now?
Offering less invasive treatments that are affordable such as skin peels and microdermabrasion (MDA) deliver fast and proven results and may help to attract new clients who may be considering injectable treatments. It could also help to keep clients attending for treatments between injectable treatments and still give a high quality medical result.
Skin peels are relatively easy to set up once you have the appropriate training and support but microdermabrasion can be a little more confusing. Once you are offering skin peels and have built up your confidence in delivering them it would be worthwhile offering MDA treatments that are affordable to you and your business, your clients and that are attractive and acceptable. It would also be useful to look at current positive media stories and what the celebrities are using.
When offering any new treatments consider:
- How much time you have to offer in delivering it.
- Is there a market in the places that you are delivering your aesthetic treatments?
- What is the competition offering in beauty salons, at what cost and how could you be different as an aesthetic practitioner?
I started to think about Microdermabrasion many months before setting it up. I looked at local beauty salons and what their aesthetic practitioners are offering. The majority of local salons in my area seem to offer only injectable treatments from their practitioners and not MDA. Instead it seems that some of the salons are offering MDA as a salon cosmetic treatment and thus delivered by their beauty therapists. I had to think about how I would be different and what would attract a client to an aesthetic practitioner rather than a beauty salon. The difference I believe is that as an aesthetic practitioner you can potentially offer a more aggressive treatment and the medical grade products provided by Agera Rx which when combined with MDA are considered to be more effective.
MDA is becoming more and more popular. Lots of celebrities are talking about it and the media has published articles on its benefits, which celebrities are using it and even the Men’s Health Magazine has promoted it.
When you type Microdermabrasion machine, benefits or equipment into Google you will notice that there are a lot of different websites and options for the machine, different financial options for purchase or lease, crystal or diamond tips and a whole range of companies and practitioners offering treatments, training and discounts and even MDA at home kits.
I started to make some general enquiries and research about MDA to a few companies who offer the machines and service, I thought about what the best option may be for me, what would be most attractive to my clients, what training I would need, and whether I believed the local client population would be interested in MDA.
I checked the price of the machines as a basic unit on eBay to see what the minimal cost may be. This is when it started to become more confusing. On eBay machines start at under £200 for a diamond tip machine and can cost over £3500 for crystal. The diamond tip machines have reusable tips which are passed over the surface of the skin. My concerns with the diamond tips with reusable heads were of hygiene and cross infection. I started to question what the difference between diamond and crystal may be, and ask myself would the clients visiting an aesthetic practitioner, with high expectations of treatment success and safety really be happy with diamond reusable tips – or would they expect a disposable tip and would they prefer crystal or diamond? Would the more expensive crystal machines have a more dramatic and stronger result?
My particular concerns are that I treat a lot of people with acne, in particular teenagers. Clearly with some of these I could not guarantee that the risk of cross infection did not exist, I felt I needed to use a machine with disposable tips. I started looking at other aesthetic businesses on the internet to see what they were offering and it seemed that most aestheticians and salons are using Crystal machines. I found a few articles on the internet comparing diamond to crystal tips and the consensus seemed to be that diamond tips were considered possibly too hard (diamond being the hardest mineral) and may result in erythema and surface skin damage, and although I could find no research to back this up I felt it important to bear this in mind.
I decided the best option was to book myself on a course. I investigated these and decided to attend one with Medics Direct. The course started with a presentation in what MDA is, how it works, the benefits, contraindications and then a demonstration of MDA. The results were visible immediately – but the machine used was a diamond tip and I wasn’t sure that this would be suitable for my clients or acceptable to me. I researched some more and wanted to attend a demonstration of a machine I found on Google which was offering ‘medical’ microdermabrasion and signed up for a training day with Eden aesthetics.
The day was very informative and presented very well. The machine used for the demonstration was the M1. The crystals used were medical grade, the tip of the probe is made to a 45° angle for ease of use and the vacuum and crystal amount was controlled by the practitioner in order to obtain the desired delivery of crystal and vacuum on the skin surface. The tip is disposable which met my cross infection risk fear. The training was excellent and I was feeling happy and confident with the machine, its applicability and its use. I was feeling confident it would be a great treatment for many of my clients. However the machine worked out too expensive to buy as a one off for me, so I enquired about leasing. After several phone calls and emails I realised that for my level of use the machine was not financially viable and that I would need to find a cheaper option. The training was second to none but I could not muster the funds and still felt I needed to be sure of the market before investing in this particular MDA machine.
I had almost given up when I performed another internet search and saw Skinbase offering a lease machine on a pay as you go basis. I emailed the company, the next day I received a telephone call and was given information on a two week trial that was available to trial the machine. I was given an appointment for training and sent an information pack. I received a marketing pack, training booklet and test paper which I completed and after meeting the necessary criteria I have received the machine and am currently using it on a two week trial.
I have performed a number of treatments and though the first was a little nerve racking subsequent treatments were easy to perform taking around 30min in total treatment time. The results have all been good and the client satisfaction so far is high. For acne sufferers the results have been most dramatic showing a reduction in inflammation and size of the spots, reduction in the size of pores and comedones and the clients have been highly satisfied with cost, comfort of treatment and results.
Trying to pitch a cost for the treatments has been difficult. One local salon is offering crystal MDA at only £23 for 20 minutes. I am using Agera products, giving a full skin consultation and aftercare with follow up advice on products to use and I also discuss diet, exercise, sun and skin protection and general health factors. The clinic is exclusive and private and all treatments are of course confidential. Other aestheticians in East Anglia are charging up to £60 per treatment for MDA and £80 for combined MDA and peels. So to put a price on it is what I am finding most difficult and have chosen to keep cost lower than other aestheticians initially.
Now is the test to find out how much interest is out there for the treatment as a stand-alone option or in conjunction with skin peels. This will help me to make a decision about whether to invest in the machine as a purchase or to keep it on a pay as you go basis. Since I have this machine on a two week trial I organized a local pamper day and interest in peels and MDA was highest when compared to injectable treatments, most likely because of the affordability.
The next two weeks will show whether or not there is interest out there and how successful a treatment it is in the short term. I am offering a discount for the first month on MDA to see how happy or dissatisfied clients are with the cost and this is further supported by Skinbase in their promotional literature which has been very helpful in promoting the new treatment.
I am hopeful that MDA and peels will bring in more clients, as it is more affordable and less invasive than injectable treatments, while still delivering dramatic results which improves the confidence and feel good factor my clients expect. It is a short but effective treatment with minimal down time and with regular use should give lasting results. With the right promotion and marketing I believe it could be successful and available for most clients.
The main benefits for my business would appear to be client retention, that it may attract new clients, and that they should have great results with an affordable treatment that delivers a fresher, more youthful look and a feeling of confidence with their appearance without using more invasive techniques.
When deciding on your MDA machine Beautytech’s comparison between diamond and crystal machines may be helpful in choosing your machine, you can access the site here.
You can also access the following excellent resources for training, service and support for MDA:
SkinBase PAYG machine, training, service, marketing and support
Medics Direct For advice, training and ongoing support for your whole aesthetic business
Victoria Ellender RN(A)
Advanced Aesthetic Practitioner