A lack of regulated U.S. standardized licensing exams and an overabundance of spa treatments for home use raise questions in the mind of Dr. Elizabeth Roche, founder and owner of Elizabeth Roche, M.D. Med Spa. Her spa, now celebrating its one-year anniversary, relies on a sterile clinical atmosphere for treatments. Roche spoke with GCI magazine about her business philosophies and professional perspectives in the September 2008 issue of the magazine.
GCI: How do you believe the spa/beauty industry is changing, and what do you think will be important for medical spa professionals, specifically, to pay attention to in 2008?
Elizabeth Roche: I think with the many spas opening up across the country and each state having different regulations and laws, I believe we, as medical spa professionals, need to make sure that the personnel delivering the treatments are qualified and have meet a standardized licensing exam. As an example of the vast difference in regulations, in New Jersey—where I practice—since a laser is considered a medical device, only a physician is allowed to operate it (not including IPL). However, just five miles away over the border into New York, anyone can own and operate a laser. I think we need to protect patients (or clients) and set regulations on who should be allowed to operate this equipment. I also believe that the term medical spa, med spa, or medi-spa should only be allowed to be used on facilities that are under the direct supervision of a physician. An up-scale nail or hair salon should not be allowed to use these terms and phrases, as it is deceiving to the consumer as to what type of facility they are walking into.
GCI: Secondly, what is your opinion about the growing trends of at-home dermatological skin care devices, as well as topical cosmetic alternatives to Botox, and how does this affect your business?
Elizabeth Roche: There is no comparison of the products purchased from the store versus the products purchased in a physician’s office. The products purchased from a store do not have as potent key ingredients in them. They are not under the supervision of a physician, so they will not be prescription strength. The at-home treatments, such as microdermabrasion, are just a fraction of what one would experience in a medical spa. The companies must be sure that these devises are gentle enough so that not one consumer cause injury to themselves, resulting in a lawsuit. Do they work? I doubt it. There is nothing that compares to what Botox can do! Any claims that something is better than Botox, in my opinion, is not realistic. These products do not affect my business in a negative way, because eventually these people realize that they have been wasting their money on products or at-home procedures that just don’t deliver what they had promised. I hear stories from patients of how their cabinets are full of these products and devices and now they are ready to make a wise investment and see real results.
Editor’s note: For more on Roche, read GCI magazine’s September 2008 issue.