The following piece was written prior to the pandemic. Checking in with Visage Medical Spa Clinic lately, I was happy to hear that the clinic is still open, treatments are still being offered, and special precautions are being taken including pre-screening of clients over the phone, wearing of masks and gloves, repeated disinfecting of surfaces, and a second screening of clients at the main door.
Every once in a while I want to do something special for myself. Recently, it was to get a facial. But, not just any old facial. I had heard about “medical” facials and wanted to see how they differed from the usual treatments I had had at various spas.
The Visage Medical Spa Clinic on Hazelton Ave. in Toronto’s tony Yorkville area was my destination. Pushing open the doors, I was met with a warm, calm ambience. Subdued lighting, in golden, flattering tones bathed the reception area and a huge bouquet of flowers graced the counter.
Before my treatment, Margarida Avila, patient relations, gave me a tour of the facility. Vibrant Gucci and Christian Lacroix wallpaper with prints of exotic birds wrapped the rooms and hallways, tinkling Venetian glass chandeliers lit the space with a soft glow, and a living art wall of moss, eucalyptus and olive leaves lent a comforting, natural touch to the space.
Visage Medical Spa Clinic is the creation of Dr. Marc DuPéré, a plastic surgeon who graduated from the McGill University Faculty of Medicine and went on to train with specialists in Paris, Los Angeles and New York. The clinic offers cosmetic surgery, as well as medical spa services such as laser treatments, skin care, non-surgical fat reduction and more.
I was there to see if a medical facial could give my tired winter skin a springy lift. Ushered into the skin analysis room, I sat surrounded by mirrors as Darlene Gonzalez, a medical aesthetician, probed and prodded my face with a number of hand-held instruments. “For a regular facial, the aesthetician can only guess what the skin needs. With our equipment, we know exactly what it requires,” she explained. The first test was for hydration. My skin was dehydrated. Next was the lipid shield and that was up to snuff. My elasticity was medium, pigmentation was low and the measure of sebum (oil) was dry on my cheeks and balanced in my T zone.
The analysis provided a guide map for Darlene, who marked down on a clipboard all the products she would use. This was really helpful later, as she gave me a printout in case I wanted to purchase anything for a home follow up.
She led me into the treatment room and after donning a robe, I lay down on the spa bed, my face slightly propped up. I had decided to splurge and opted for the Champagne Caviar facial with Omega 3-6. It was supposed to plump the skin and reverse inflammation and damage. My skin is especially prone to the ravages of winter’s cold, not to mention the drying effects of harsh indoor heating.
Darlene took her time, examining every millimeter of my face. Then she went to work, applying, massaging, cleansing, and repeating the process over again with different concoctions. She used products from professional French spa line Biologique Recherche line. My skin was cleansed with a gentle milk, a lotion was applied and then a masque with vitamin E. Next came the serums. “Serum is water for the skin, while cream is food for the skin,” she explained. Serum’s molecules are small and go deep and while a cream moisturizer seals them in. I was wrapped up like a mummy to allow all the nutrients to penetrate and then came the pinky caviar, applied in very thin, almost paper-like sheets. After letting the non-fishy smelling treatment sink in, she swept my face clean, dabbed on a finishing serum and applied a final moisturizer, an uplifting potion called Crème Metamorphique.
Using my phone as a mirror, I chronicled the process. I had gone from dry and scaly, to a scary mummy, to a beaming, fresh faced, younger looking woman.
A treatment like this takes time, around 90 minutes, and perhaps taking such a luxurious break from my work-a-day world also contributed to the happy end results.
Refreshed and revitalized, I looked into the mirror as I was about to depart and… my skin thanked me.
For more information: visageclinic.com
Text and Photos by Maureen Littlejohn.
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