February 5, 2003 — Petaluma, CA — A recent SpaTrade poll reveals that the spa industry is divided on whether Botox® treatments are appropriate in a spa environment. Of the over 600 respondents, more than half (57%) were opposed to the use of Botox in spas. The remaining 43% voted that Botox could be appropriate in a spa environment.

Botox is a purified protein that relaxes the muscles and is proven to notably reduce moderate to extreme facial wrinkles. It is administered via injection, which in turn blocks the nerve action that causes muscle contraction. The most common areas for treatment are between the eyes, the forehead, and around the eyes. The cost of this procedure is low, when considering the cost of elective cosmetic procedures in general, the total cost for one year falls between $975 to $4000, depending on areas treated and frequency of treatments. The number of Botox injections rose 2,356 percent over the past five years, with more than 1.6 million procedures in 2001.

In follow-up interviews with spa owners and managers, SpaTrade CEO Nancy Griffin found that those against offering Botox in their spas revealed a variety of different reasons for doing so. Chief concerns of spa owners were liability considerations, philosophical and positioning issues. 'We believe in holistic health and a natural approach to beauty, says day spa owner Eiko Studier of Marin County, CA, 'Botox does not fit here, even if some of my clients are getting Botox injections from their doctor.'

With continuing pressure from dermatologists and plastic surgeons adding spa services, and a growing trend toward the creation of "medi-spas" that offer both traditional spa services plus services more generally found within a medical practice, some spas are leveraging their client base to increase revenues. 'The arrangement can be highly lucrative for the spa, if structured properly,' states SpaTrade expert consultant Cheryl Whitman. 'The going rate is for the spa to receive 20% of the booked service.' Clients usually pay from $350 to $650 per treatment in addition to the incremental revenues derived from pre- and post-treatment product sales.

Botox may soon have competition in Restylane®, a synthetic form of hyaluronic acid that smoothes wrinkles. Popular in Europe and currently in final FDA trials in the US, Restylane is non-toxic and dissolves naturally with time.