A laser-fine edge
Men looking for a professional advantage are having work done at area medical spas
By Jana J. Monji 01/28/2010
Need an edge in a tight job market? Or do you just want to feel a little bit better about yourself? Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but a little cash can help your best assets shine a little brighter following a date at a local medical spa.
Unlike day spas, medical spas, or medi-spas, offer procedures — laser hair removal, micro-dermabrasions, chemical peels, Botox injections, dermal fillings — that cannot be performed by an esthetician and require the supervision of a medical doctor or a registered nurse.
While most medi-spas operate independently, Spa 7 Cosmetic and Laser Center is located in the Burke Williams Day Spa in Old Pasadena. According to Spa 7 Media Director Farrell Gertmenian, this is the perfect marriage of esthetics and non-invasive procedures. Here you can have hair follicles zapped by a laser (both legs in about 30 minutes) and a pampering massage all in the same place.
While women are still their best customers, medi-spa treatments like these aren’t just for women anymore, said Gertmenian. Men too, he said, “want to look younger. They want to get skin-tightening, especially their jowls and jawline,” procedures accomplished with Botox and dermal fillers.
Roger Terman, director of Radiance in La Cañada Flintridge, said most of his male customers choose laser hair removal and Botox. For women, Botox is typically the No. 1 requested service, followed by skin-tissue-tightening procedures like Thermage or Juvaderm. Radiance’s clientele is 20 percent male, a jump from the 5 percent in 2004 when they first opened. On average, Terman said, men will spend about $400 at these places; women twice that amount.
Steve Nostrat, executive vice president of OU Beauty in Glendale, said between 25 and 30 percent of their Botox treatments are for men. Men also go in for deep pore cleansing. OU beauty product specialist and President Matt Kramer keeps shelves stocked with male-oriented products: exclusive shaving and skin products such as Truefitt & Hill, Roger & Gallett (Paris), Kent (London) and Proraso (Italy).
Kramer, whose wife, Sun, is the co-founder of the company, explained that because they have a 2,000-square-foot retail store on busy Brand Boulevard, they can be much more aggressive in cutting prices on medical procedures. A micro-dermabrasion that might elsewhere cost a few hundred dollars goes for $59. Botox runs $8.75 per unit, slightly cheaper than sale prices at other area medi-spas. Kramer estimates a single Botox treatment requires 12 to 16 units. Terman explained there are three treatment areas (eyes, frown lines and forehead) and, generally, 20 units are used per area.
OU Beauty has found that, while their female clientele is holding steady, the recession has brought in more men, who often have different esthetic goals than women. “Men,” Kramer explained, “want to look healthy; women want to go back to their youth.”
According to Joe Phelan, spokesman for Advanced Laser Anti-Aging Medical Center, located on East Green Street in Pasadena, “Before it was probably 90 percent women or even more,” visiting his office. “Now it’s more like 80 percent women. Men are trying to tune themselves up for job interviews or flirtability.”
Dr. Robert Seltzer of Advanced Laser estimated that 30 percent of his clients for non-surgical laser rejuvenation, such as resurfacing of the face and neck, are male. That’s primarily because it’s “hard to get work in a competitive youth-oriented job market,” Seltzer said. In general, “men want something subtle with no big downtime,” Seltzer explained. Women are more likely to invest in treatments requiring a week of downtime.
Yet Seltzer also emphasized caution: “Too many medi-spas are unsupervised. I see a bunch of complications that I need to take care of to correct.” One example is a person whose face was burnt and scarred during the laser hair-removal procedure. Another had “a hundred blisters up and down the leg” from laser treatment and phototherapy. In that case, which ended in a lawsuit, “the doctor wasn’t there until the complication occurred,” said Seltzer, who has been called on both as a surgeon and an expert witness.
With both the recession and Valentine’s Day, most medi-spas are offering specials in the month of February. But, as with anything else, buyer beware. Beauty is not only sometimes elusive, but also something easily ruined in the wrong hands.