Business feature: Area aesthetic services expanding

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Macrodermabrasion removes layers of dead skin cells, allowing new cells to reproduce at a quicker rate, giving skin a fresh, younger look.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Dr. Donald Brown didn’t become a dermatologist to give Botox injections or photofacials. But when his patients began inquiring about those services, he decided to offer them.

“That’s not my (main) business,” he said. “It’s just something I do extra for them.”

Brown opened Clovis Dermatology in 1994 and began expanding his services to include aesthetic services in 1998.

“My patients would ask if I did this or that,” he said. “For them, I decided to.”

Brown’s office provides a number of aesthetic services including Botox injections, non-ablative skin resurfacing, Restylane, hair removal, microdermabrasion and photofacials. He said many of his patients come to him for these types of services because he performs each procedure that uses a laser.

But even with that reassurance, aesthetics aren’t the bulk of Brown’s business.

“The people that spend a large amount of money on aesthetics don’t spend it here,” he said. “Bigger towns have more call for cosmetic surgery.”

Though Brown said he spent $172,000 on one laser, he said he bought it knowing full well that he would not recoup that expense in Clovis.

“There’s not that kind of cosmetic draw here. Everyone wants something but can’t afford it,” he said.

In recent months, Brown said he’s seen a slight decrease in the amount of cosmetic work he’s done.

“I’m sure it’s due to the economy,” he said.

But he’s not worried. The majority of his business is done for other reasons, such as skin cancer and acne.

Khaki Cooper, a laser technician at Women’s Medical Center, is one of four staff members in the Laser and Cosmetic services department. WMC began offering cosmetic services in 2005 and slowly increased the variety of the services.

Cooper operates the laser and performs hair reductions, skin rejuvenation and reduces the appearance of spider veins.

Cooper said her patients range from pre-teen to about 75 years old and that it’s best for anyone receiving cosmetic services to stick with it over a period of time, instead of coming in for random appointments.

“It’s a process,” she said. “But those people that do stay with it look amazing when they’re done.”

The laser that WMC has is macro instead of micro, which means it can cover a larger surface area, Cooper said.

“But it is medical grade, so it is overseen by a physician,” she said, including that a physician is on the premises at all times.

Cooper said issues that result in cosmetic services have several different causes.

“A lot have internal issues, not just external. Really, cosmetic services brings the whole synergy of Women’s Medical Center together because we’re able to utilize the doctors and the lab,” she said.

Cooper said the department offers a large selection of skin care products simply because everyone’s skin is different.

“Some people have allergies, some are more sensitive,” she said. “It all just depends. And that’s what the consult is about.”

One of the more recent products Women’s Medical Center offers is called Latisse, which is an eyelash expander. With daily use, Latisse is intended to make eyelashes longer, thicker and darker in about two months.

Kathy Teston with Women’s Medical Center has been using Latisse for 40 days and has already seen a difference.

“I’m one of these people that has short stubby eyelashes,” she said. “And when I’m putting on my mascara, I can tell a difference.”

Teston said that the Latisse solution is brushed across the eyelid daily.

“It takes some time, but to me it’s been worth it because I finally have eyelashes,” she said. “I am impressed and it takes a lot to impress me. I’m a tough customer.”