Imagine walking into the waiting room of an aesthetician that is filled with plastic chairs, artificial plants, old magazines, and overflowing ashtrays. While the receptionist is polite, waiting for a facial is the same as waiting for any other service.
Once the aesthetician is ready for your appointment, the pampering begins. The client crawls into a warm bed covered with clean white sheets. As the aesthetician begins working, the client falls into a relaxed state while receiving a facial massage.
Today, the client walks into a spa where melodic violin music is softly playing in the background, and the air is scented with the soothing fragrance of candles. An escort leads the client to a locker to store personal belongings. Changing into a fluffy white robe and slippers, the client heads to a bed covered with fragrant white sheets.
Tools for injections, needles, and face products fill the counters. Settling into the covers, the client begins relaxing and feels his/her eyelids slowly close to the rhythmic music playing in the aesthetics room. The aesthetician’s goal is to provide a relaxing and peaceful environment where the client receives complete pampering.
Aesthetics once appealed to a small demographic of women. This elite class was the primary clientele because they had large sums of disposable income and considerable leisure time. Services were utilized in order to remain relaxed and feel renewed and refreshed. Today, the aesthetics industry has discovered a way to appeal to a wider market: welcome the working middle class.
With the addition of the working middle class, there has been a shift in desired services from aestheticians. Clients are demanding longer-lasting results from services to continue to appear younger looking. Anti-aging and medical aesthetics have received a major boost in popularity because, for a little more money, results from the procedures are effective for a longer period of time.
“People have become more educated in taking care of their skin, and there is an array of different financial levels of people who come in,” says Eckles, an aesthetician and owner of Beaujola spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. “A working class person comes in every six weeks instead of every three or four. It is definitely appealing to a larger mass at all income levels.”
Dr. Juan A. Brou, a licensed and certified plastic surgeon in Oklahoma, and owner of a private practice, performs non-surgical cosmetic services. Dr. Brou has practiced medical aesthetics for twelve years. His services include: fraxel (aids in removing unwanted acne scars, brown spots, and wrinkles), botox injections, soft tissue fillers (helps restore volume and fullness to skin), laser hair removal, and skin care.
“The best part of my job is that I affect their lives and do significant life changes in things that they [the clients] don’t have the power to change. Even though it appears to be frivolous or superficial, it is really very meaningful to many people,” Dr. Brou says.
While there has been a shift in clientele, there has also been a shift in services. “People don’t want the basic facial, they want something that will do more for them,” Eckles says. “It is becoming more advanced, and a lot of light therapy is the new cutting edge in the industry. Every aesthetician is different, and most of the anti-aging is the most popular service.”
D’Armi Esthetics University of Scottsdale is strictly an aesthetics school. Director of Education Amy Hirshfeld works closely with the students to ensure they are receiving the best education possible to be prepared for the industry. Hirshfeld is only one of twenty certified aesthetic instructors in the State of Arizona and has opened several successful spas and salons.
“Over the past few decades it has progressed from a minor role in the beauty industry into a wide variety of specialized services offered in medi-spas, wellness centers, cosmetic surgery centers, destination resorts, salons and day spas,” Hirshfeld says. “The professional avenues and career options that a licensed esthetician has are infinite due to the constant progression of esthetics.”
Eternity Aesthetics & Anti-Aging, a spa in New York City, New York, offers patients a private medical spa and anti-aging services “in a private and state-of-the-art treatment room.”
Dr. Patrick M. O’Shaughnessy transitioned from emergency medicine to aesthetics and anti-aging after working and training with numerous plastic surgeons. “[I] saw the desire for [my] anti-aging patients to improve upon their cosmetic appearance,” Dr. O’Shaughnessy says, according to the Eternity Aesthetics & Anti-Aging website. “[I] continued post graduate training to obtain certification in various cosmetic laser modalities, as well as become certified in the administration of various nonsurgical cosmetic restorative techniques including, botox, Restylane, and chemical peels.”
There are two different types of spas where an aesthetician offers services: a beauty spa or a medical spa. Both types of spas offer basic facial and body treatments; whereas, a medical spa also offers injections and deeper chemical peels.
“There has been an explosion in popularity for botox injections. It has grown exponentially,” Dr. Brou says. “Even the simple injections of dermal fillers, such as Restylane, are popular because there is more publicity for these services. People are more aware of these procedures.”
Often, doctors with successful dermatology or plastic surgery practices will incorporate medical aesthetics into their practice. In these cases, a doctor is on hand to administer, or as a minimum, supervise these procedures.
Dr. Brou says that he has noticed a clientele increase in medical procedures. “People are a lot more conscious about their looks and health in general.”
Medical aesthetics can be used in conjunction with medical services.
“There are a lot of lasers and other highly technical procedures that offer improvements without surgery, which is much more appealing to the general public,” Dr. Brou says. “Procedures are more affordable and it’s safer.”
The aesthetics industry has grown rapidly over the years with an increase in clientele and in offered procedures. People are willing to pay top dollar to maintain healthy, younger looking skin.
Now that the facial bliss is complete, the client stirs from the relaxing and soothing environment. As the client removes the fluffy white robe and slips back into his/her regular clothes the feeling of rejuvenation, and renewal is overwhelming. With soft glowing skin, the client begins the process of entering the real world once again.