5 of the most popular cosmetic procedures on P.E.I.
'It's become more mainstream over the last 10 years, definitely'
There are a handful of medi-spas on P.E.I. that now cater to women — and yes, most of the clients are women — most of whom are looking for procedures to help them look younger.
"It's become more mainstream over the last 10 years, definitely, because people are more educated," said Dr. Trina Stewart, owner of Esprit Medical and Aesthetics in Summerside, P.E.I.
She's also a family doctor, but for the last 11 years she's dedicated two afternoons a week to customers who want cosmetic procedures like Botox and chemical peels. The business also includes makeup, nails, skin care and massage.
"People are not as fearful of it … people are more comfortable," said Stewart, who notes her "phone doesn't stop ringing" with people looking to get work done. Most, she says, are between 35 and 60 years old.
"We have all ages from 20-year-olds that love getting their lips done to 70-year-olds," added Linda Duffy at Elle Medi Spa in Charlotetown, whose husband Dr. Charles Duffy carries out the injections.
Here are the five of the most common procedures spas in P.E.I. do.
1. Botox injections
Most of the businesses agree Botox injections are the most popular procedure they do, and frown lines between the eyebrows and crow's feet are the most common injection site.
Botox is "best done a little at a time," said MacPhail. Her spa begins with injections to frown lines and crow's feet, wait two weeks and finish up with other facial lines including smile lines, neck cords and wrinkles along the sides of the nose known as "bunny lines."
Getting Botox is almost as common "as whitening your teeth," said Stewart. "P.E.I. is a little bit slower to adopt these types of things but it's definitely becoming more mainstream."
Botox runs around $250 to $500 per treatment. This procedure can be safely done every four months, but some people only get it once a year.
Injection techniques have improved, Stewart said, so fewer women now get what she calls "duck face" from such injections.
"You still have the ability to pucker, eat your soup and drink your coffee," she laughed.
2. Dermal fillers
There are a variety of products injected now to fill fine facial lines, including gels like Restylane and Juvederm.
Doctors inject fillers to soften the cheek folds that run from the corner of the nose to the sides of lips, "marionette lines" in the chin area, and to plump lips and fill out cheeks for a more youthful look.
Fillers are more expensive than Botox, at $600 to $1,200 per treatment, said Stewart, but last longer — between six months and a year, occasionally even two years.
3. Chemical peels
Chemical peels are an acid solution applied to facial skin for deep exfoliation, revealing new, younger-looking skin beneath.
"I have a lot of clients that love them," said Duffy. "They leave the facial skin feeling and looking refreshed — they smooth fine lines and increase collagen."
Chemical peels have also improved over the years — estheticians use lower concentrations of acid, which are less invasive.
Peels cost approximately $100 each, but are usually done in a series of five or six (once a week for several weeks), so will cost about $500 for visible results, said Stewart.
4. Hair removal
Hair removal, whether with a laser or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is popular for upper lip, but also lower face and chin, bikini line, underarms and arms.
Stewart charges about $100 per treatment and most people need at least three (one per month for three months) for a total of $300.
There is "no such thing as permanent hair removal," asserted Stewart — customers will require once or twice a year maintenance treatments.
But customers have told her this procedure has a big impact.
"It changes their lives. They're so happy when they've had it done, and for them it was worth the investment," Stewart said.
5. Skin resurfacing
"Ninety per cent of my female clients over 30 come in once a month for a skin treatment to boost collagen production and tighten skin called Glycolic SkinTite RF (Radio Frequency)," said Cat MacPhail, owner of Laser Esthetics Botox Medi Spa on Riverside Drive in Charlottetown, one of the longest-running medical spas on P.E.I. Her spa also offers something called Thermage RF skin tightening.
Stewart uses a laser for skin resurfacing and said she often only does one treatment, because on P.E.I. "people are on budgets," she noted, and a full face costs about $1,000.
The spas can also do spot resurfacing for acne or chicken pox scars.
Two plastic surgeons on the Island do carry out surgery including eyelid lifts, tummy tucks and breast reduction for Health PEI — Dr. Gary McLean and Dr. Jurgen Kontor. Those procedures must meet guidelines to be considered medically-necessary rather than cosmetic — in other words, they're done for health reasons, which is why they are fully covered by the province.
And the spas acknowledge many Islanders also have procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, in clinics off-Island including Moncton and Halifax.
Dr. Stewart is also on the board of the Canadian Association of Aesthetic Medicine, which would like to see better regulation of the industry. She believes medical doctors connected with medi-spas should have more hands-on oversight of nurses and estheticians carrying out procedures like injections, which could have medical side effects.
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