Med Spa

Published On June 10, 2013 | May/June 2013

The Benefits, Risks and Latest Procedures

Dr. Shirat Ling of Innate Beauty Rejuvenation Center gives her insight on what we should really look for to have the best experience 


Medical Spa emerged as a result of the union of spa and fitness industries, promoting healthy lifestyle and beauty treatments that are beneficial to your body. The International SPA Association defines this new institution as the provider of “comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment, which integrates spa services as well as conventional and complementary therapies and treatments.” Medical spas include certified doctors, dermatologists, plastic surgeons, and other experts who are willing to add a higher-level service to those who are seeking dependable treatment.

It is a new, popular trend that has been gaining support from many spa-goers, and it hasn’t been long since Austin joined the club. Some popular Med Spas in Austin include Austin Med Spa, Serenity Creek Med Spa, Aesthetica Med Spa, etc.

As popular as medical spa currently is, it’s not necessarily without risks. It’s important to do a thorough check on the credentials of the med spa you might visit, just like how you would check the credentials of certain doctors, schools, and professionals in other fields.

Dr. Shirat Ling of Innate Beauty Rejuvenation Center explained that 90% of the complications and problems come from aestheticians who bestow the title “medical aesthetician” upon themselves just because they perform the procedures in doctor’s offices. These aestheticians often don’t necessarily have credentials as medically certified physicians. She also explained that even though many medical spas might have a physician nearby, he or she does not perform procedures with much regularity and does not have direct supervision over the staff.

“One of my clients went to the med spa next door and got burned twice, with lingering hyperpigmentation, but they refused to refund her the remainder of the package she purchased,” Dr. Ling said, “she had lily white skin and black hair – the kind of skin that is the most ideal for laser treatments – absolutely no reason to ever get burnt.”

Therefore, it’s important to check the credentials and real customer reviews, including a credible amount of well-taken before and after photos. Also, it would be a good idea to investigate thoroughly about services that are highly discounted with services like Groupon or LivingSocial.

“Your face is the last thing you should go discount shopping for,” said Dr. Ling.

    Despite some risks and problems involved, medical spas are currently a fast growing trend in America. According to the measures taken by the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery last year, cosmetic procedures have risen 197% since 1997, and surgical procedures have increased by 73%. Non-surgical procedures, such as Botox, facial fillers and laser hair removal, have increased by 356%. It also reported that Americans have spent more than $10 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2011 alone.

    So what are some latest med spa procedures that have been gaining popularity? Amongst many procedures, we chose to look closely at Smart Lipo and Vampire Facial.


    Smart Liposuction is mainly meant for small areas of fat that are usually resilient to efforts in diet and exercise, like areas we call love handles, jiggly upper arms, and the stubborn belly fat that won’t go away. The procedure utilizes laser energy to melt and liquefy fat before it’s removed through a small tube.

    This type of liposuction has many benefits over more invasive traditional methods, according to information listed on It’s minimally invasive, has less downtime, and offers quicker recovery. The website also claims that SmartLipo can smooth and tighten your skin.

Dr Ling, who has been trained in SmartLipo, explained the cost and effects of the practice.

    “The results of SmartLipo are just about identical to tumescent liposuction after six months, but at 3 times the cost. The laser does help with skin tightening to some degree, depending on the aggressiveness of the practitioner in consistently removing the fat and getting it just below the skin to deliver the skin tightening portion. Many physicians do not perform this last part,” she said.

    For ultimate fat loss, Dr. Ling recommends, diet and exercise are still the most important part of the whole routine, as they will lead to the most consistent results and gaining muscle mass that would help prevent serious injuries.


Vampire Facial

The name Vampire facial was driven from traditional folktales (and maybe Stephanie Meyers) that define vampires as never-aging, enticingly beautiful creatures. Vampire facial is a nonsurgical facial rejuvenation procedure, and is a type of Liquid Facelift. While a typical Liquid Facelift uses Botox and other fillers like Juvederm and Restylane to sculpt the face, Vampire facial uses the body’s own blood instead to repair the skin.

However, there hasn’t been a medical evidence that has been published for this practice yet. Dr. Ling says it has been difficult to judge the effectiveness of Vampire Facial, partially because of the lack of evidential testimonies or results.

“When trendy procedures come to public knowledge, I tend to sit back and watch to see what the true results are within a year or so. Most of the time, it is just hype,” Dr. Ling explained her skepticism, “I believe that to be the case with vampire facelift.”

However, this trend is a step in seeking more natural facials that would have little to no side effects. One of the best parts would be the little or no risks of allergic reaction since there aren’t any synthesized toxins or chemicals involved in the procedure.

    When asked for general advice for her patients and anyone seeking med spa treatments, Dr. Ling suggested, “follow pre-and post-procedure instructions (such as avoiding alcohol, advil, fish oil prior to injectables) so you have fewer complications and get the best results. Just because you pay less does not make it a great deal. And just because you pay more does not make it better (case in point, all of Hollywood).”

    “I consider my patients my living sculptures, and I take pride in their non-artificial but youthful appearance,” she added.

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