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The Synergy of Medical Spa Treatments and At-home Skin Care

By: Ada Polla and Cyrille Polla, with contributions by Dr. Luigi Polla
Posted: November 25, 2013, from the December 2013 issue of GCI Magazine.
  • While topical beauty products likely will never have the same type of effectiveness as medical spa and physician treatments, at-home care is a must in order to maintain the results of said treatments.
  • Treatments for everything from smokers’ lines to skin tightening to hair loss can benefit from a combination of in-office treatments and at-home skin care products.
  • Collaborations between those in the professional skin care arena and beauty brands can help consumers see more efficacious results, as well as help build loyalty for particular products and brands.

With the growth of cosmeceutical products and “doctor brands,” it is not uncommon today to see advertising or marketing messages that compare the results of products with those of medical spa treatments. Think, for example, of ads for eye creams that herald an effect similar to, or even better than, injections of Botox. From a scientific perspective, much of this marketing represents an exaggeration of the results one can expect from products. Realistically, an eye contour cream will not have the same effect as Botox.

Does this mean one should not market or use eye creams? Absolutely not. Topical products are an essential part of any skin care regimen, meant to complement and potentiate the results of treatments, whether they are spa treatments, such as facials, or medical spa treatments, such as peels or injectables. After all, think about it from the perspective of time spend and number of applications. Even the most assiduous spa-goer will most likely not get a facial or peel treatment more frequently than monthly. Yet the products she applies at home, she will apply twice daily, every day. This daily regimen is as powerful, if not more powerful, than professional skin care treatments that are followed by inadequate skin care, or no skin care whatsoever.

According to Dr. Luigi Polla, Swiss dermatologist and founder of Forever Laser Institut and Alchimie Forever, “Skin care products and skin care treatments must go hand in hand for the most powerful therapeutic results, and for optimal patient satisfaction.” Here, Dr. Polla reviews some of the ways products and treatments can be combined.

Overall Aging

Problem: Overall aging of the face
Treatment: Hyaluronic acid and botulinum toxin injections
Product: SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5

Dr. Polla developed a technique of combinations of injections he calls the “Forever SoftLift,” for an overall rejuvenation and lift of the face without invasive surgery. Traditional injection methods consist of injecting hyaluronic acid directly into wrinkles to fill them up. The Forever Softlift differs by its more global rejuvenation approach and the use of a blunted micro-cannula that enables a broad dispersion of hyaluronic acid in the various layers of the skin. This treatment restores volume loss due to aging, smooths the skin, and lifts facial features without altering the face’s natural expression and characteristics.

Why hyaluronic acid? Its capacity to retain one thousand times its own weight in water makes it the perfect agent to maintain hydration levels, volume and density in the dermis. Moreover, by its nature, hyaluronic acid acts as a protection against free radicals, stimulates cellular activity and transports essential nutrients to the skin’s viable cells. The injections of hyaluronic acid are combined with micro-injections of botulinum toxin for an additional lift in the upper third of the face.

At home, topical applications of hyaluronic acid then complement the injections, and Dr. Polla loves the Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 gel. Also, associating the in-office treatment with the at-home product through a single common ingredient is very powerful, and it makes sense to the patients.

Lip Lines

Problem: Smokers’ lines
Treatment: TCA chemical peel and Fraxel Dual laser treatment
Product: Alchimie Forever Gentle Refining Scrub

Although commonly called smokers’ lines, perioral wrinkles, or wrinkles around the mouth, are visible on non-smokers too. They age the face, cause lipstick to run and are unattractive overall. Hyaluronic acid injections can be effective in enhancing the shape and volume of the lips, but they will not be very effective on the fine vertical lines of the upper lip. Instead, Dr. Polla prefers a combination of a 20% TCA peel and Fraxel Dual laser treatment, recommending three sessions for optimal results.

As the peel component of this treatment will induce actual peeling and the Fraxel treatment will cause micro scabbing, Dr. Polla recommends the Gentle Refining Scrub by Alchimie Forever to accelerate the skin’s exfoliation and help restore smoothness. The key in terms of the at-home product here is to assist the skin’s natural healing process without injuring it further. Hence, a gentle scrub is preferred to a highly abrasive exfoliator.

Targeting Fat

Problem: Localized fat
Treatment: Cryolipolysis by Coolsculpting and lymphatic drainage
Product: Alchimie Forever Optimizing Body Contour Gel

Cryolipolysis is a technique of fat cell elimination through cold temperatures. The fat cells that are exposed to the cold will disintegrate in a process of natural cell death also known as apoptosis, and the lipids that are released in this process are progressively eliminated by natural metabolic activities over the three months following the procedure. Regular manual lymphatic drainage procedures during this time optimizes the elimination. This noninvasive technique offers an alternative to liposuction for those who wish to avoid the risks and recuperation time inherent to surgical procedures.

Body slimming treatments are perhaps one of the areas in which at-home care is the most essential in order to enhance and prolong treatment results. Dr. Polla believes that “any body treatment, any slimming or anti-cellulite treatment really should be combined with disciplined at-home use of a body product, as this is a key component of this type of therapy, and will improve both the therapeutic results and patient satisfaction. Fat, cellulite and sagging of the skin of the body are such recalcitrant problems that they need to be targeted by multiple methodologies.”