Is Your Medical Spa Safe? Five Ways to Tell

Pass the BOTOX cocktail and relax! Medical spas are on the rise, comfortable and even luxurious places where you can enjoy your body wrap with a quick laser lipo session. Today, it’s not uncommon to find injectable fillers and skin tightening procedures on the spa menu, and medical spas are becoming some of the most coveted spots to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy a mini-makeover.   

As attractive as these choices sound, some sanctuaries may not have qualified staff to perform your procedure. A ‘medical spa’ needs to have a licensed physician and medical director on staff, but the physician technically does not have to be present during your procedure. While you hope that the spa professional is adequately trained, you may not always know how much training or experience they have. Are you setting yourself for a BOTOX disaster?  

Here are five ways to tell if your medical spa can deliver a professional and safe treatment:  

1. Are you able to consult with the lead physician? Any type of cosmetic procedure begins with a formal consultation, and this needs to be an in-depth analysis of your needs, goals and expectations. If you’re only meeting with the spa director or a staff member, you may not get the best recommendations for your services. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) encourages patients to meet with the physician on staff – not just the medical supervisors – for the consultation.

2. Are the products FDA approved? With hundreds of new beauty, skincare and enhancement products on the market, it can be difficult to determine which ones have undergone a rigorous testing and research process. Make the process easier by seeking treatments that have been FDA approved.

3. Where is the medical spa located? Medical spas found within a physician’s office are often the most reputable and well-managed venues for cosmetic treatments.  If you encounter any problems during or after your treatment, you can receive medical help immediately. Standalone medical spas can be risky, especially if there’s only one physician on staff; narrow down your search by including location on your checklist.

4. Read up on State regulations. Every State has different rules and regulations about who can administer dermal fillers and injectables such as BOTOX, Restylane, Sculptra and Juvederm. Make sure you have a way to verify the person who will be administering your treatment – whether it’s a nurse, physician or other professional – so that you will be in good hands. Check the rules and guidelines for your state on’s State-By-State Guide 

5. Do your homework on laser treatments. While laser treatments are marketed as the ultimate solution for facial rejuvenation and other cosmetic enhancement procedures, they’re not necessarily the right match for everyone.  Some skin types can burn easily or become inflamed, so a consultation and a patch test will determine if you’re a good candidate.  If the medical spa doesn’t take these extra steps to make sure you’re a good match, set your sights elsewhere (Source: The American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery).

As more people turn to the medical spa for dermabrasion, hair removal and mesotherapy injections, spas across the country are offering several innovative body and skincare – many that were once reserved for the cosmetic surgeon’s office. Taking extra steps to learn more about the spa, the staff and the treatment options can help you determine which medical spa can offer a safe and effective treatment.  

Visit our cosmetic surgery resource section to learn more about your next procedure, or find a medical spa in your area to start your review process - and look forward to that BOTOX injection with peace of mind.