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Thinking of Adding a New Service to Your Menu? Try Microdermabrasion

As a former spa owner, I know how nerve wracking it can be to add a new service to your menu. There is a variety of issues to consider – from staffing to cost to space requirements (if a machine is involved). The first step is to create a list of questions to ask yourself in order to make the best decision possible. Some of these questions include:

  1. What are my clients asking for? What service would they most respond to?
  2. What is the cost involved with incorporating this service into my salon?
  3. Will I need to hire additional staff or pay to train my own?
  4. Do my competitors offer this service? If so, how is the service performing?

In the late 1990s, my husband (and co-owner of our salon) and I happened upon microdermabrasion while attending a trade show. At the time, the procedure was just making its way out of the medical world (it had been pioneered in Italy as a treatment for burn victims) and into the aesthetic world after doctors noticed the dramatic improvement it had on the look and feel of patients' skin. When we saw the amazing results of microdermabrasion we knew instantly that this was a treatment we needed to bring to our clients.
At the time, however, the treatment was so new that we really couldn't make a decision as informed as a spa owner can today. In fact, there were hardly any other salons in our home state of California performing microdermabrasion so it was difficult to project just how we would do. But our gut instincts told us to go for it and so we did, investing quite a bit of money into a microdermabrasion machine. I was quickly trained to operate it and before we knew it, we were one of the first salons in the United States to perform the service.
Following our instincts was one of the smartest business decisions we have ever made. Within mere months, we had so many clients signed up for $1000+ treatment packages that the machine literally paid for itself. Our revenues after the first year of offering the service increased exponentially and we knew we had stumbled upon something big.

First and foremost, what is microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is a resurfacing treatment that relies on particle exfoliation (usually sand or sugar) to remove dead skin cells. These particles are literally blasted onto the skin and then sucked up via a vacuum-like tube, which plumps up collagen and helps to decrease fine lines and wrinkles. The treatment as a whole is extremely effective in reducing not only the signs of aging but pore size, hyperpigmentation, and overall improvement of the look and feel of the skin.

How much is a typical microdermabrasion machine and what should I look for when purchasing one?
The cost for a microdermabrasion machine is usually between $3,500-$10,000. When making your professional choice you should consider aspects such as the frequency of usage, the size of your treatment room, the question of portability and – last but not least – the budget you have available for this purchase. Ask yourself questions such as how many microdermabrasion treatments per day/week you are going to perform? How much actual space is available for this piece of equipment in your treatment room? Are you going to transport the device to perform microdermabrasion "on location" at all? How much money can you spend etc.?

What type of training does one need to perform microdermabrasion?
Most professional device manufacturers offer introductory training sessions with their machines. Additionally, one should participate in a microdermabrasion class with a renowned aesthetics school. Those are typically weekend or one day seminars and participants get a certificate for successful participation at the end. Make sure that both theoretical and hands-on training are included in the class of your choice.

What type of client will benefit from microdermabrasion?
That is the beauty of the treatment – EVERYONE can benefit from it because exfoliation is the key to beautiful, healthy, and radiant skin. While an older client may need more treatments to help even out years of pigmentation issues or thoroughly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, a younger client can still benefit from a monthly or bi-monthly treatment to maintain an even, clear complexion.
Also to many people's surprise, microdermabrasion can be used on acneic skin. It is actually highly beneficial to clearing up acne as it cleans deeper than typical facials. The key is to use the microdermabrasion machine on a low, non-compromising setting in order to avoid tearing the skin. (Microdermabrasion should never be performed on open, weeping acne, however.)

How do I convince my regular clients to try microdermabrasion?
When I first began, I offered my clients (including my celebrity clients) the chance to experience the treatment FOR FREE. I would perform microdermabrasion on one of their hands to demonstrate how dramatically different skin looks after the service. Once that captured their attention, I gave them an introductory rate so they could experience a full facial treatment.

How else can I incorporate microdermabrasion into my salon?
Microdermabrasion is the perfect treatment to add-on to a variety of services. For example, many spas across the country are beginning to offer microdermabrasion manicures and pedicures during which hands and feet are deeply exfoliated with a microdermabrasion machine during the treatment.
Microdermabrasion is not just for the complexion; it is also an amazing body treatment. It can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and allows for cellulite treatment creams to be absorbed at deeper levels. A lot of spas are offering microdermabrasion prior to body mask applications in order to increase the efficacy of their regular treatments.
Finally, I have heard about many salons offering microdermabrasion sessions prior to spray tanning sessions. The exfoliating effects of microdermabrasion buff away dry, dead patches of skin and even out texture so tanning solutions actually go on more evenly and without the threat of blotches.

What kind of profits should I expect to see from incorporating microdermabrasion?
In my experience, microdermabrasion is one of the most effective ways to boost your salon and spa service profits. A one hour treatment is usually offered at $120-$150. By that account, if you perform eight treatments per day five days a week you can see your salon profits go up by $4,800 to $6,000 per week - or up to $24,000 per month!
In closing, I cannot think of a better treatment to add to your menu of services than microdermabrasion. It is profitable, beneficial to clients across the board and one of the most effective treatments in the professional world today. I believe that now is the ideal time to incorporate this service into your business thanks to the proliferation of at-home microdermabrasion systems (including those by some of the largest personal care companies in the world). Because of the huge advertising dollars that have been spent on educating the public on microdermabrasion, consumers are more privy than ever to its benefits. In most cases, this means that they are now more apt to try microdermabrasion than ever before. So jump on the microdermabrasion bandwagon. I'm confident you'll be happy you did – and your clients will be too.

Amby Longhofer is an award-winning skin care expert Amby Longhofer is a former owner of one of the most successful day spas in the United States. Longhofer revolutionized skin care when she co-created the first at-home microdermabrasion system, DermaNew. A pioneer of the industry and a sought-after lecturer, she is often called upon for her depth of knowledge and insight as a leading innovator in skin care.

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