The Differences Between Day and Medical Spas

More men and women go to day spas today than ever before. Also called spas or pleasure areas, these facilities offer a wide range of personal wellness services. But what defines a day spa, and when should you visit one?

Day spas differ from medical spas in that they do not offer an array of services requiring a doctor’s supervision. One or more doctors typically own, operate or manage medical spas and their operations. But your services can take place under the care of a range of practitioners, depending on the required licensing, skill and knowledge. Some of the professionals working in medical spas include:

  • Dermatologists
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Estheticians
  • Nurses
  • Massage therapists

You can expect the relaxation of a day spa and expert care of a doctor’s office in a medical spa. However, you can expect a higher level of care and deeper relaxation in a day spa.

Med Spas vs. Traditional Day Spas

The primary difference between a medical spa(1) and a day spa is the services offered. A traditional day spa cannot perform medical procedures. But at a med spa, you can receive treatments performed by medical professionals working in fields requiring special licensing and education.

A med spa must have at least one medical doctor overseeing its operations or affiliated with the business. Not all of the spa’s services are performed by a doctor. But that physician, usually a plastic surgeon or dermatologist(2), supervises offerings and patient treatments.

Each med spa offers its own array of services. These depend on which spa you choose, their philosophy of treatment and the type of medicine the primary doctor’s practice. For example, a dermatologist-operated spa typically offers skin treatments for acne and other skin conditions. But a plastic surgeon-supervised med spa may provide cosmetic procedures, such as Botox injections or dermal fillers.

Your treatment also varies from one med spa to the next. Some are luxurious. Others are more clinical. Some focus on getting the results you need, whereas others strive to pamper and relax patients.

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Treatments Provided by a Med Spa

Each day spa determines its menu of services. But most offer treatment for specific conditions or needs. Common services include:

  • Acne treatments
  • Ageing skin treatments
  • Hair removal
  • Facials
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Varicose and spider vein treatments

Some also offer luxury treatments like salt scrubs, massage, and body wraps. Although, others offer cosmetic procedures like laser and light treatments, chemical peels(3), Juvederm, Botox and Restalyne. However, many treat specific skin problems, such as breakouts, hyperpigmentation(4) and scarring.

Treatments Provided by a Day Spa

There are several treatments offered by day spas, such as massage therapy. However, there is also a certain level of depth that comes with day spa massages. They may include techniques from several different areas of study or use specialized equipment to make them more effective.

Additionally, they offer services that many consider more relaxing. Examples include mud baths, cleansing facials and much more. Each service helps the person partaking relax and experience inner peace and calm that is simply lacking from regular day-to-day activities. As a result, they will do important things to keep feeling at their best, even after their fun spa day.

Read: Treatments for Aging Skin

Who Works at Spas?

The type of treatment you receive determines who provides that treatment. In day spas, for instance, they have a fair amount of specialized masseuses. But at least one doctor supervises the facility as a whole and maintains responsibility for the performed medical services. Under this physician’s management, you can receive services from nurses, estheticians, physical therapists, massage therapists or medical doctors.

Estheticians are skin care professionals. They perform non-medical and cosmetic procedures, such as body scrubs, acne treatments, body wraps and massage. Among these services are chemical peels, facials and microdermabrasion. If the medical spa sells skincare products, your esthetician also guides the selection of your products and how the ingredients work. If you want to receive injectables, chemical peels or laser treatments, only a doctor can perform these services.

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Will a med spa treat my skin problems?

Each medical spa is unique in the services it provides, as well as its treatment philosophy. You need to talk to your chosen spa before setting an appointment, to ensure your treatment goals align with their mission and offerings. Through a quick conversation or your doctor’s recommendation, you can find the right med spa for your individual needs.

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