Skin Gym – The New Age Of Facials?

Is the spa the new gym? Of course this sounds silly at first, but more and more spas, salons and clinics are encouraging clients to treat their facial regime like the gym – a routine, something to be worked on, on a regular basis, for a prolonged period of time, to see real results.

It’s now a common understanding that in order to achieve visible improvement to the skin, booking in for regular treatments is the only way. The days of the once-in-a-blue-moon facial are, for the most part, gone, with advances in treatments and devices meaning clients can treat more conditions, more quickly and affordably than ever before, with anything from wrinkles and loss of volume, to scarring to stubborn pigmentation fixable with a few simple treatments.

This is particularly true for the surging popularity of non-surgical skin treatments like LED, BBL, or Clear+Brilliant just to name a few, where recipients generally won’t see a drastic change in their skin before roughly 6-10 treatments are carried out. Indeed this is likely the main driver behind the ‘skin gym’ revolution, and clients are less hesitant to commit because they know the results will be there at the end.

A popular move to accommodate the trend is spas and salons offering gym-style memberships or package pricing options – a major plus for any small business with a focus on repeat clientele.

Suzie Hoitink, founder of Clear Complexions, is a big believer in creating a long-term skin plan for all of her clients, opposed to a one-off quick fix, and the relationship she builds with clients is not unlike that of a personal trainer.

“Nowadays, we are so conscious of the health of our body with regular exercise and eating well; yet so many of us pay little respect to what gives us our identity – our skin. I think of myself and my team at Clear Complexions as skin coaches. Just like going to a personal trainer when you have decided to get fitter, we are there to advise you and support you through the process.

There are no quick fixes when it comes to achieving beautiful, healthy skin. You need to follow a routine of holistic medical-grade treatments, whether that be injectables, fractionated lasers or light-based therapies, combined with medical-grade cosmeceuticals, to achieve the best result. A good routine will set you on a healthier path with your skin, one that sees your skin age better than it currently is now.”

Former Chairperson of the Australian Society of Dermal Clinicians Jennifer Byrnes, however, recommends exercising caution when it comes to regular facials, warning too many invasive treatments can not only be counteractive but damaging.

“A gym membership approach is certainly suitable for therapies/treatments that aim to maintain, improve/repair barrier function or reduce oxidative stress in the skin. These are generally your everyday facial, gentle cleansing, massage, masks or emollients with low percentage active or benign ingredients that are designed to address SC lipid integrity and hydration for example.”

“Treatments that induce inflammation or are invasive disrupting the integrity of the skin should not be performed too frequently or where there is no clinical need. Even exfoliation can be counterproductive if performed too frequently and unnecessarily. From a tissue repair and wound healing model, treatment frequency and invasiveness should be on a case-by-case basis. That’s not to say a series of treatments is not needed, but a cookie-cutter approach to how many and how often and locking into that arrangement can be damaging and potentially cause complications.”

Jennifer advises that training staff to deliver highly customised treatment plans for all clients is key.

“Gym membership approaches need to have a high degree of flexibility and encouragement as well as training for staff to deliver treatments as the skin needs and can cope with, not because of business KPIs or budgets.”