Blue Water Spa, a plastic surgery medical spa in Raleigh, North Carolina, is owned and operated by Kile Law and her husband, board-certified plastic surgeon Michael Law MD. Prior to opening the spa, Kile was a medical spa and laser hair removal consultant in her hometown of Orange County, CA. Kile has used her expertise and experience as a medical spa consultant in opening a very successful spa of her own. Kile recently received the honor of being asked to serve on the Day Spa Association Advisory Board.
Kile explains the appeal of medical spas to consumers. 'I think I'm a pretty typical client. I'm a busy mom who also has a part-time career. I look forward to pampering, but if I'm giving up an hour, I want to see results, not just feel better. Likewise, I want to feel special and pampered. A sterile medical environment might have something for my skin, but it doesn't do much for my well being.' Law continued, 'In one hour, I want you to make me feel good. I want to be in a beautiful, elegant, relaxing environment. I want a therapist who will make me feel special and I want to see visible results.'
Law explains that this special combination of pampering and visible results can only take place in a medical spa. She often speaks to physicians, nurses, spa owners and investors looking to open medical spas and laser hair removal centers. Her competition, according to Law is not the medical spa or doctor's office in her community doing good work, but the potential clients who have had bad experiences with a particular treatment and won't try that treatment again. 'Laser hair removal is something that many people would like to have, but many individuals have had terrible experiences with laser hair removal treatments that didn't work and were painful to boot. I wish everyone would use the technology I use. Then, the word on the street would be positive about laser hair removal. There are still businesses using lasers that require a full hour or more to treat the legs. These businesses discount treatments in order to try to stay competitive. Clients experiencing treatments with older laser hair removal technology perceive laser hair removal as uncomfortable, very time consuming and often not effective.'
Law feels that there is more than enough business for everyone, but urges medical professionals and spa owners to carefully evaluate technology and receive extensive training. When evaluating technology, she says, 'Think revenue per minute, not revenue per treatment. If an outdated laser hair removal system requires an hour or more for a procedure and a state-of-the-art laser requires just 20 minutes for the same area, you can make more money while charging your client less for the treatment. More revenue for the practice, lower priced laser hair removal for the client and more procedures performed in a day is a win-win-win!'
After discussing profits per treatments, she finished by stating, 'The most important consideration is choosing technology that really works and treatments that are safe and proven to be effective. You can look at numbers all day, but the proof is in the results. If clients see great results and they are happy, they will be back and so will their friends. If they don't see results, they won't return and they will spread the word.
Laser hair removal has come a long way since the first laser for hair removal received FDA clearance in the mid 1990's. Older generation lasers were very slow, very painful and worked only on individuals with very dark hair and very light skin. Today, lasers can work on all skin colors and some lasers are even safe for treating tanned skinned.
Many laser hair removal centers today operate without a physician. It is important to be certain that a board certified physician is on the premises and available in case of a concern. To determine whether or not a physician is board certified, go to www.abms.org. Board certified plastic surgeons can be found at www.plasticsurgery.org
Topical Numbing Preparations
These drugs are designed to help make laser treatments more comfortable but are totally unnecessary if using a laser with a DCD cooling system. If a patient uses a laser that requires topical numbing with a cream, he or she should be aware of all possible complications and contraindications in order to make an informed decision. In high concentrations, when used in appropriately, these drugs can be very dangerous.
Each laser has a different way of cooling the skin. Some lasers use a topical cooling gel, others use a chilled tip. The most consistent, comfortable and safest way to cool the skin is with a Dynamic Cooling Device or DCD. Lasers that cool the skin using a DCD are very comfortable and there is no need for topical numbing preparations
The spot size of a laser determines how much skin area can be covered per laser pulse. Lasers with larger spot sizes ( 18 mm ) can cover more area much more quickly. For example, a laser hair removal treatment of the back or full legs could take as long as 2 hours with older lasers. Today, these areas can be completely treated in less than 20 minutes. The spot size not only determines the speed and comfort of the treatment, but the efficacy as well.
Laser Hair Removal works on hair while it is in the growth phase only. At any given time, between 20% to 40% of the hair on any face or body area may be in a growth phase. Multiple treatments are required for complete clearance of the hair. However, each person may respond slightly differently. Laser hair removal centers should charge for just one treatment at a time. A reputable medical office or medical spa offering laser hair removal will offer individual treatments and not insist on payment of multiple treatments up front.
Because lasers for hair removal are much faster today than ever before, prices should be lower as well. An office offering laser hair removal can charge less for a laser hair removal treatment of the legs taking just 20 minutes vs. a 2 hour treatment with an older generation laser. Avoid centers offering "specials" on treatment packages, particularly if there is pressure to buy because a 'special' is set to expire.
A complimentary consultation should be available for you to visit the facility, meet the laser technician and experience a spot test with the laser.
Law discourages businesses from selling treatments in a package. If the treatment works, the client will be back. 'Why would you want to take someone's money before they see the results they are paying for?' She also discussed turning people away from treatments they don't need. 'There have been many occasions in our practice that patients come in saying they need a face lift, and they are ready to pay. Sometimes, all they need to achieve the results they desire is microdermabrasion and a sun block.' She insists, 'Do NOT sell people things they don't need! It will be quick money followed by the quick demise of your reputation and your business.'
Law provides consulting services for those considering opening medical spas. Some of the technology she uses in her medical spa that she feels is vital for a successful medical spa:
Laser Hair Removal, Candela GentleLASE Plus www.candelalaser.com
Rosacea, Spider Veins and Skin Tightening, the V-beam Laser from Candela, www.candelalaser.com
LED,Photomodulation, Gentlelwaves LED www.lightbioscience.com
Microdermabrasion, International Business Solutions, www.ibstn.com
Computer Scheduling and Spa Management Software, NexTech, www.nextech.com
She also mentions companies by name that she would not work with again. Most of the time the problem was not just the technology, but absence of support and expert training. She urges all medical spa owners and physicians to have an attorney review all contracts before signing anything.
When asked to reveal her secret to success, Law answered, 'Treating my clients and staff the way I like to be treated.'
Blue Water Spa opened January 2003. In that time, they have expanded twice. The spa has been voted #1 day spa in their metropolitan area by Citysearch http://triangle.citysearch.com/best/results/8552/ and received the Metro Bravo Award for best day spa 2003 and 2004. Dr. Michael Law is the only private practice plastic surgeon voted among the best 2003 and 2004 by Metro Magazine www.metronc.com, the local lifestyle magazine.
Kile Law has been selected as part of the Day Spa Association ( DSA ) advisory board for the 2005 year www.dayspaassociation.com, She has written a number of articles on medical spas and laser hair removal that have been published in professional journals. Interviews with Kile can regularly be seen in plastic surgery journals, medical spa magazines and consumer publications. Kile recently Won the 2004 ABBIE Award for best editorial feature in an industry publication. Kile owns Blue Water Medical Spa and Laser Hair removal center with her husband, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Law. Her series of articles, 'Starting from Scratch' appeared in four consecutive issues of Skin Inc Magazine, a national skin care and medical spa publication. The articles documented the amazing success of Michael Law MD, Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and Blue Water Medical Spa and laser hair removal center during their first two years in Raleigh, North Carolina.
For more information about Kile Law and Blue Water Spa, go to www.bluewaterspa.com or www.michaellawmd.com.