Throughout my esthetics career, I have had the honor of experiencing a plethora of beauty related jobs. I have worked the first half of my adult life as an esthetician, working in a spa and being self-employed. I have worked as a demonstrator for a skin care line, part time at a pharmacy as a beauty advisor and then I advanced my career to become a medical esthetician. I have worked in a medically supervised clinic, a medispa, owned and operated by a doctor, and finally here at Toronto Dermatology Centre, under the supervision of two of Toronto’s most renowned dermatologists.
When people ask me what the difference is between a spa and our medical clinic, I have the experience to answer that question truthfully and accurately.
A facility that is medically licensed is able to carry medical grade machinery, such as our lasers (e.g. ProFractional laser resurfacing) or Photorejuvenation/BBL machines. Although spas are sometimes able to provide their customers with laser services, the quality and strength of their equipment cannot possibly equal that of a medical clinic. Our lasers are reconfigured and updated as per the manufacturer, whereas many spas will purchase a spa-grade laser without the backup to upkeep what little power their machines have. Regularly, I hear from patients of mine that have tried laser hair removal at one of these places 10, 12, even 15 times with very little to show for it. With proper medical-grade lasers, dark hair and light skin, 6-8 treatments should reduce their hair to almost nothing.
The quality of spa-grade products is ok, certainly better than most products found over the counter at a pharmacy (remember, I worked there for a few years too). Yet, medical grade products need to be Health Canada approved and are most often FDA approved as well. There is more extensive testing done to give us proof that these active ingredients found at this highest level do what they claim to do. Active ingredients are rarely found in spa or store bought items, as they can cause irritation if not shown how to properly use. My training helps my patients to know what products go together, how often to use them, whether or not they interfere with either topical medications or services, and finally, simply, if they are in fact the right product for that patient’s concern.
I think beyond the fact that our equipment is superior as are our home care products, what I think the biggest difference is is our back up. For me, it has been a tremendous learning experience at our clinic. Previously, when I needed answers for questions that I didn’t have, I had to figure out a way to get them, figure out if they were accurate and then apply them to my circumstance. Here at Toronto Dermatology Centre, I have dermatologists and plastic surgeons to rely on. There are almost no answers I cannot relay to my patients, and I feel fully confident whenever I come across a new situation with a patient that I will be able to give them the best possible advice for their concern.
I am grateful for all the choices I have made to get me here to this place. I respect the road I have travelled as it has helped me find the place where my knowledge and experience can be best put to use. When my patients ask me the question: “why not just go to a spa?” I am confident in the knowledge that my answer comes from experience. There is no need to lie, embellish, or hesitate. Our overall quality is superior in everything we do and everything we are. The results are better, and the safety is bar-none. Period.
~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre