Tools of the Trade


In years past, facials were considered spring cleaning for the skin. But since then, they have evolved to do much more. Today’s facials tackle a host of skincare concerns—and a growing number of skincare devices have appeared on the market to help in the cause. From microdermabrasion to light therapy, there are now tools to better cleanse the skin, improve product penetration, eliminate acne-causing bacteria, minimize hyperpigmentation, firm and tone the skin, and more. If you want to take your spa’s facials to the next level, then you may want to consider enhancing your treatments with one or more of these skin-saving devices.


Feel the Vibrations

One tool that has become especially popular is the Clarisonic Sonic Skin Cleansing System, which uses a patented sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second to cleanse the skin in just 60 seconds. “In the same way sonic technology changes how people care for their teeth and gums, it is also changing the way people care for their skin,” says Kelley Humes, professional marketing manager for Clarisonic. “Clarisonic’s Sonic cleansing brush moves back and forth with skin’s natural elasticity to get rid of dirt, oil, and makeup—gently cleansing six times better than hands alone.” According to her, clinical studies have also proven that it helps prepare the skin for better product absorption following a cleansing.

Cecilia Wong, facialist and founder of Cecilia Wong Skincare (New York City), is especially excited about ultrasonic technology, which uses heat and high-speed vibration to stimulate circulation. “It’s still not widely utilized, and when it’s used correctly, the benefits are extraordinary,” says Wong. “It pushes antioxidants and vitamins deep down into the skin, changing and impacting it on a level not easily achieved.” Wanting to reap the benefits of ultrasonic, Wong recently introduced the Hello Moisture Facial ($200, 60 minutes), which incorporates the technology.


Light the Way

Light therapy, which relies on a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) system, has also become a staple on many treatment menus due to the fact that it has been proven effective in treating various skin conditions. For the lowdown on this popular technology, check out “Let There Be Light,” page 80, in Medical Spa Report. Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon (New York City) and Skincare Collection, is such a fan that she now offers clients a patent-pending LED light therapy bed so that their entire body can reap the benefits. “My viewpoint on LED is pretty straightforward— it’s simply the best thing that could ever have happened to the beauty industry,” says Vargas. “It builds collagen in quantifiable percentages, corrects surface imperfections like sun damage, lines, and even large pores. These were all issues that could previously only be corrected with lasers and chemical peels. Now I can have my clients undergo a series of light treatments without suffering any side effects and see significant skin benefits. It’s like my magic wand, and it’s truly thrilling to be able to deliver exactly what a client has dreamed of for her skin.”

Blue LED light is often used to treat acne-prone skin. “I started using LED technology about a year after I opened my West Hollywood Clinic, and ever since I started offering the treatments, I have had a more than 90 percent success rate in treating acne,” says Kate Somerville, creator and director of Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts (Los Angeles). “It greatly changed the way I take care of clients.”

Somerville also incorporates laser therapies into her spa’s treatment menu, such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), a shortwave light treatment that is commonly used for hair removal and photorejuvenation. She uses it to treat hyperpigmentation, small capillaries, sun damage, age spots, and general redness. “It also reduces pore size and refines the overall texture and tone of the skin,” says Somerville.


Needle the Skin to Good Health

In recent years, microneedling, the process by which micro-perforations are created in the skin with needles to activate its natural repair function, has become more common. The Dermatude Meta-Ject FX 50 device with ultra-thin needles is one instrument that can introduce this technology to your spa. According to Robert Waters, vice president and general manager of Dermatude/ Nouveau Contour, the device creates micro- perforations in the skin, which the body treats as skin damage, thereby stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. “As a result, the skin is restored from the inside out through regeneration of the skin tissue,” says Waters. The treatment also involves placing active ingredients into the skin in the form of Subjectables, which are serums that contain various ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, that are inserted into the deeper layers of skin to help stimulate cell regeneration. “Subjectables enable you to carry out very specific and targeted treatments that suit the skin type and purpose of the service,” he says.


Get Current with Microcurrent

Around for decades, microcurrent has long been embraced for the results it provides. NuFACE facial toning devices, for instance, deliver a massage-like current for both instantaneous and cumulative effects. “It’s natural, non-invasive, fun, easy to use, and customizable to perform a variety of treatments with the interchangeable treatment attachments,” says founder Carol Cole.

Skincare patches are another option. “BIOBLISS harnesses the power of galvanic microcurrent in the convenience of a patch, without requiring an investment in large and expensive machines,” says Chris Hobson, president and CEO of Iontera, makers of BIOBLISS. According to him, studies show that most people see a decrease in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles from the galvanic infusion of hyaluronic acid, muscle- relaxing and collagen-stimulating peptides, and antioxidants. “As most skincare professionals know, the skin’s outer barrier layer, or stratum corneum, is very effective at its primary function, which is keeping water in and keeping foreign substances out,” says Hobson. “The academic literature consistently states that only 1 to 4 percent of the active ingredients in a cream, lotion, or serum actually penetrates the stratum corneum while the other 96 percent just evaporates or gets washed away.” The patches are a convenient way to enhance your spa’s facials, as they can be applied to clients’ crows feet or forehead while the esthetician is busy performing extractions or giving a hand massage.

Vargas, who has developed the Triple Crown Facial (starting at $250, 60 minutes), her spa’s signature microcurrent treatment that utilizes exfoliation, oxygen, and microcurrent to lift the face, oxygenate the skin, and revitalize the lymphatic system, considers microcurrent one of her favorite technologies for the face. According to her, the technology has improved greatly over the years. “It’s amazing to see how the skin and muscles respond immediately,” says Vargas. “Long term, a treatment like microcurrent can really change the way a woman ages. Clients who would have turned to facelifts in the past now know there is a solution that will truly enhance their beauty, not alter it forever.”

No matter what skincare issues concern your clients, there are various technologies to address them. In fact, many of today’s esthetics machines and devices are designed to perform multiple tasks. For instance, The CACI Ultimate combines microcurrent, microdermabrasion, and LED light therapy all in one machine. And there are many other multipurpose machines, some of which offer up to 12 functions. Incorporating one or more of these technologies is an easy and economical way to give your clients the visible results they want.



Extend the benefits of your spa’s facials with these skincare devices that spa-goers can integrate into their homecare regimens.

BIOBLISS Anti-Wrinkle Patch for Forehead 30-Day Kit: Targeting fine lines on the forehead and between the brows, this patch gently infuses skin with more anti-wrinkle ingredients than topical applications.


Clarisonic Opal Sonic Infusion System: This palm-sized sonic infusion device is designed to help build skin’s resilience over time and prevent future damage by gently pulsing the skin around the eye at 125 sonic movements per second. It also dispenses a specially formulated Anti- Aging Sea Serum.


G.M. Collin Instant Radiance Eye Patch: Instantly reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and puffiness, these patches feature a hydrogel texture that delivers an in-depth and effective mixture of active ingredients to visibly revitalize the eye contour.


Le Mieux Ultrasonic Spatula Device: For professional and at-home use, this ultra- sonic device offers gentle, non-invasive exfoliation for the face, neck, and décolleté areas. Extremely gentle, it allows serums to deeply penetrate the dermal layer.


LightStim Acne Light: This blue light therapy device kills blemish- causing bacteria, helps heal existing blemishes, and prevents future breakouts.


NuFACE Trinity Wrinkle Remover: This FDA-cleared red LED phototherapy attachment for the NuFACE Trinity is designed to deliver a precise combination of red and infrared light therapy treatments to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.


PMD Personal Microderm System: This at-home microdermabrasion system features aluminum oxide crystals and a powerful vacuum suction to reveal fresh and youthful skin and allow products to penetrate 20 times deeper.


ReFa PRO: This platinum electronic roller is a handheld waterproof device that features two octagonal-shaped rollers that provide a low-electrical current flow to help stimulate the skin without discomfort.