Tuesday, December 1, 2020

This post was originally published on Forbes - Startups

Home Startups This Start-Up Is Democratizing Non-Invasive Beauty Treatments For The Masses

This Start-Up Is Democratizing Non-Invasive Beauty Treatments For The Masses

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This post was originally published on Forbes - Startups

I have been getting non-invasive, energy-based beauty treatments for years. I attribute these treatments as one of the reasons some people think I am younger than I actually am. The problem is that that these treatments need to be done with some level of regularity to maintain the benefits, which means they can get costly. The associated costs have been one of the reasons that I haven’t done these treatments as regularly for myself. But, then I discovered VANA Laser Club.

VANA Laser Club

VANA Laser Club

Courtesy of VANA Laser Club

Launched in 2018 by founder Nicole Stern, VANA Laser Club is the first and only membership-based aesthetic practice that offers discounted pricing to its members to address a variety of skin conditions. Non-members are still able to utilize the club’s services—just not at the significantly discounted membership rates. “VANA Laser Club was designed with results and affordability in mind,” says Stern. “Aesthetic medicine has exponentially evolved over the last decade. But, the access to treatments has remained confined to a doctor’s office and up to a couple thousand of dollars for one treatment.”

VANA offers the paradigm shift to the status quo.

“After extensive research of the best aesthetic medical devices on the market today, we concluded that skin and body results not only require multiple treatments, but a combination of technologies to deliver the best results,” continues Stern. “Our mission is to be the one place where you can come to openly discuss your aesthetic goals and work with a medical professional to develop a specialized treatment plan that achieves those goals while making it affordable so that you can be the best version of yourself.”

Members and non-members alike can receive a variety of services at VANA including: laser hair removal, tattoo removal, melasma treatment, medical micro-needling, sunspot removal, facial vein removal, body contouring including cellulite and skin tightening, Botox, B-12 injections, lymphatic treatments, and more. “We’re not into trends,” Stern tells me. “We’re into efficacy. We work closely with both medical device manufactures as well as physicians across the globe actively participating in clinical studies to improve non-invasive skin and body results that utilize evolving laser technology.”  

VANA Laser Club

Senior Corporate Managers, Emily Pearlson (l) and Meredith Piper (r)

Courtesy of VANA Laser Club

VANA offers treatments from Syneron Candela and Lumenis, two of the leading manufacturers of non-invasive energy-based devices in the world. With technology advancing so quickly in the aesthetic space Stern tells me that they upgrade their machines as quickly as the technology evolves. “We are very proactive when it comes to staying up to date with industry events so we have machines that offer the most effective treatments for our clients.”

When I ask who the VANA customer is, Senior Corporate Manager, Emily Pearlson tells me, “Anyone who is looking to change, improve, or get rid of any skin or body concerns. When you look good, you feel good. Because everyone’s aesthetic journey is different, we have the tools to get you there. Most people can recognize what they don’t like about their skin or their body. But most people don’t know how to improve or fix it. With guidance from our medical professionals and our various technologies, we build a customized treatment plan that is closely monitored throughout the course of treatment and can be changed accordingly to achieve the desired results.”

One of the things that I like most about VANA is that they don’t just let anyone operate the machines. Estheticians administer some of the treatments while either Physician Assistants or Nurse Practitioners administer the laser treatments. “Most skin and body concerns start at a cellular level and in order to treat those concerns effectively we’ve invested in licensed medical professionals who’ve had extensive educational and clinical experience to deliver those results,” explains Senior Corporate Manager, Meredith Piper. “Because these are Class 4 lasers and there are some risks that come with them, even in experienced hands, it is important to have medical professionals who can address those issues in-house.”

VANA Laser Club

VANA Laser Club’s Medical Esthetician, Karolina Gonzales administering Lumenis’s Legend Pro+ … [+] Microneedling

Courtesy of VANA Laser Club

VANA Laser Club

VANA Laser Club’s Nurse Practitioner, Diane Baijoo-Diaz administering Lumenis’s Stellar M22 IPL … [+] treatment

Courtesy of VANA Laser Club

I sought out the services of VANA for a couple of skin issues I had including sun damage, fine lines, facial veins, stretch marks, and fat reduction in a few trouble spots. To address my concerns, VANA created a personalized plan for me that utilized a variety of energy-based technologies including: Lumenis’s Stellar M22 for sun damage and facial veins, Lumenis’s Legend Pro+ for fine lines and hyperpigmentation as well as reduction of fat, and Syneron Candela’s PicoWay technology for stretch marks—all of which yielded impressive results. 

Karolina Gonzales, one of VANA’s Medical Estheticians administered Lumenis’s Legend Pro+ treatments to both my body and face to address some of my skin concerns. 

“Lumenis has advanced their technology in terms of comfort that allows clients to tolerate the radio-frequency treatments for longer spans of time, which in turn delivers visible results with fewer treatments,” Gonzales tells me. “Other technologies in the market make the treatments uncomfortable, which deters clients from continuing with the treatment plan and seeing the desired results. What I like most about the Legend Pro+ is that you can target multiple concerns at once, such as skin tightening, texture, pore reduction, acne scarring and fines lines and wrinkles. This is beneficial because it minimizes wait times in between those independent treatments while still delivering the desired results.”

Macrene Alexiades, MD PhD, and Founder & Director of Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center of New York participated in the clinical trials of Legend Pro+. “This device has become my current favorite go-to tightening and wrinkle reducing technology. It is unique because it offers Tripolar Radio Frequency, which is painless, yet extraordinarily effective compared to prior skin surface radiofrequency modalities. At the same time, it offers a unique monopolar-like micro-needling radiofrequency that can provide significant wrinkle reduction with very little downtime.”

Alexiades tells me that the Tripolar Radio Frequency function of the Legend Pro+ is especially effective for skin tightening and fat reduction on the lower face and neck. “Another favorite use of this device for me is the VoluDerm functionality as a replacement for Botox. Repeated treatments in the frown lines, forehead, and around the eyes have been proven to rejuvenate skin reducing the need for neurotoxin. I am observing a skin tightening effect two weeks after the first treatment with the tripolar handpiece and a wrinkle reducing effect starting at two weeks following the Voluderm. Mostly I’m observing very happy patients!”

Diane Baijoo-Diaz, one of VANA’s Nurse Practitioners, administered both Lumenis’s Stellar M22 laser for my facial veins and hyperpigmentation as well as Syneron-Candela’s Picoway laser for old stretch marks. She tells me, “M22 is great because it is highly customizable with the 9 different filters.  You can choose which wavelength to use for specific skin conditions. You are also able to change the size of the crystal that allows you to treat specific concerns in a smaller area.”  

VANA Laser Club

Same Day Treatment Photos of Lumenis’s Legend Pro+ used for skin tightening. Before treatment (l) … [+] Immediately after treatment (r)

Courtesy of VANA Laser Club

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD and Medical Director of West Dermatology, who is one of the original founders of the Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology that makes up the Stellar M22 laser tells me, “The Stellar M22 is the 6th generation IPL from Lumenis. You can treat vascular lesions, skin texture refinement needs, tone or pigmentation issues, and hair removal requests. The new Stellar M22 allows for easy and quick treatment with great output and efficacy and provides a much more comfortable treatment for the patient.” 

When it came to addressing old stretch marks, I had no idea I could even treat them. While Baijoo-Diaz tells me that ideally you want to treat stretch marks that are 1-2 years old to improve the appearance of the red colors often associated with them and to stimulate new collagen and elastic for a smoother appearance—older lesions can be treated too. “For older or white stretch marks, we can improve the appearance and stimulate new collagen, although these will require more treatments to see the desired results. Above and beyond treating stretch marks, PicoWay is one of the most impressive laser technologies on the market today for a variety of concerns such as acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, irregular texture, surgical scars, birthmarks, and tattoo removal.”

Currently, VANA Laser Club has three locations in the South Florida region including Miami Beach. However, VANA has plans for nationwide expansion in the near future. “Since opening our first location in 2018, we have grown at a faster rate than what we had originally projected,” says Piper. “We have proved there is a gap in the market and we are looking forward to filling that gap nationwide. We will be seeking franchising partners by next spring—something we have gotten a lot of inquiries about. We expect to be in every metropolitan market within a few years.”

Not only was I impressed with my results and my overall experience, I think VANA’s model of bringing non-invasive aesthetic treatments to the masses by lowering costs without sacrificing patient safety or results will be a game changer. Everybody deserves accessibility to looking and feeling their best.

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