The Business of Beauty Avanti Skin Centers Puts a New Face on Cosmetic Procedures

They’re called ‘lunchtime procedures,’ and they’re not just for the Hollywood set anymore.Treatments such as Botox injections, ultrasound facials, and chemical peels were once seen as the beauty secrets of the elite, but increasingly, they’re becoming more common, as well as safer, more effective, and less expensive.
One of the biggest selling points of these cosmetic procedures of late, however, is speed.

Dr. Raj Birudavol, director of operations for Avanti Skin Centers in Springfield, said that once, there were tell-tale signs that someone “had some work done”: a few days missing from work, for example, and physical signs as the body healed.

“In the past, these types of treatments would leave people with swelling or red faces, but not anymore,” said Birudavol. “There are few signs, and there’s very little, if any, downtime.”

Avanti Skin Centers opened in Springfield just under a year ago, and while Birudavol said it’s a business poised to capitalize on new acceptance of cosmetic treatments from all types of people, he also hopes to play an important role in educating clients about their options, and about the preventative measures they can take to protect and care for their skin.

“We insist on education,” he said. “We can help people identify problems, and it’s not all about ‘the big sell.’ Many people, especially young women, don’t know what to do to protect their skin from damage, and many kinds of damage — from the sun, or acne, for example — are avoidable.”

Saving Face

To that end, a visit to Avanti usually begins with a skin analysis, using the VISIA Digital Skin Analysis system, which takes a deep, multi-layered look at the face and what damage is present.

“From there, we teach people how to prevent further damage, and how to maintain the health of their skin,” said Birudavol, adding that there are several treatment options from which to choose if a client decides to pursue them.

Avanti’s services include laser hair removal; microdermabrasion, pulsed-light therapy that treats skin damage non-invasively; non-surgical facelifts; Botox injections and dermatological wrinkle-fillers such as Juvederm; and chemical and enzyme peels.

The center also offers a wide range of medical-grade products for skin repair and maintenance — brands such as Skin Medica, Skin Essentials, and Illustre Essenza.

Birudavol said all of this represents a growing sector of medicine.

“Aesthetic centers are becoming very popular,” he said, “and because the procedures and products are minimally invasive, it’s more accepted. People didn’t want to talk about it before, but now, many people are realizing that medical-grade products and procedures are more effective than what they can buy over the counter.”

Often, these treatments produce results that last for several months, said Birudavol, and this is another draw toward medically based skin treatments.

The Light Fantastic

Take, for instance, one of Avanti’s most popular offerings, the Regenique procedure, which combines three technologies. First, a medical microdermabrasion system removes the topmost layer of the skin, essentially smoothing and polishing. Second, an ultrasound treatment deep-heats the layers of the skin while electrical stimulation massages the tissue. Finally, non-allergenic skin products are combined with a silicone mask to address specific skin conditions or issues, forcing toxins out of the body.

Regenique is designed to treat the effects of aging skin by reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration; reduce the visibility of scars and acne; restore even coloration in cases of hyperpigmentation; remove tenderness and swelling after surgery, including liposuction; or lighten stretch marks. Clients generally schedule a few weeks of treatment, but Birudavol said many see results after one session.

“Having the treatment once a month can keep you looking fresh,” he said. “We call it ‘1,000 facials at once.’”

Other popular treatments at Avanti include Titan, the non-surgical facelift that uses infrared light to tighten skin, and 3D Skin Rejuvenation, a pulsed-light or ‘photorejuvenation’ therapy that treats several of the issues associated with sun damage.

These treatments vary in price, but begin at about $100, speaking to the new affordability of these ‘lunchtime procedures.’

That’s not to say the equipment used for some of these treatments is easy to come by, particularly lasers that can cost upwards of $200,000. Still, all of the equipment used at Avanti has been FDA-approved, and as technology continues to improve, Birudavol said Avanti is positioned to add even more services to its repertoire in the future. These include several minimally invasive or non-invasive treatments and procedures, such as ‘body sculpting,’ which uses medical fillers to correct small imperfections such as acne scars or even a slightly crooked nose.

“We’re hoping to add more laser procedures, too,” he said. “Photomedicine is really taking off.”

To allay any lingering fears among potential clients, Birudavol said medical skin care may not be for everyone, but added that medical supervision is virtually constant at the center, and aestheticians are trained to use the laser systems by the equipment manufacturers.

Avanti is staffed by two physicians (medical director Dr. Craig Schacher rounds out the team) and two full-time aestheticians, including a licensed RN, in addition to a number of support staff focused on management, marketing, and patient coordination. The venture’s next move, said Birudavol, will be to continue its educational efforts and to forge new collaborations with other beauty-centric companies in the area.

“We’d like to hold more open houses to explain to people what we do, and especially to reach out to young people and tell them what they can do to take care of themselves better,” he said.

He’s also working now on an effort to create what he calls “makeover teams,” that, through partnerships with dentists, salons, and other outfits, will address issues with hair, skin, and teeth as a whole, and suggest options to improve all three.

Brave New World

All of these efforts are aimed, he said, at arming people with the information they need to make positive decisions about their health and appearance.

“There are so many things that people can do, and if they’re not afraid, they have even more options,” said Birudavol. “It’s a new world … and they say in this new world, 50 is the new 40.”

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