Looking and feeling your best for your wedding day is a priority! You choose the perfect attire and conduct hair and make-up trials, but have you considered how utilizing a Medspa near you could help you feel even more confident? Today Sara is interviewing Dr. Mary Christina Simpson, the CEO, physician, and medical director of SeaMist Medspa. Dr. Simpson shares how medical aesthetics could help brides and grooms reach their full physical potential. From Botox to CoolSculpting to laser hair removal to facials, Dr. Simpson covers it all! If you are trying to determine what modern procedures and beauty techniques you could take advantage of before your big day, today’s episode is perfect for you!
My name is Mary Kristina Simpson. I am a physician who works in Rhode Island and I own a medical spa called Seamist Medspa, down in South Kingston and in Newport. We serve men, women, any gender, ages 18 to 99. And we take care of all people and for different events- from just normal everyday self care to preparation for weddings.
How many years have you been doing this?
So I’ve been a physician for about 20 years, and I’ve been doing medical aesthetics for about five years now.
I love it. It’s such a great industry. Let’s dive right in. A lot of our listeners are preparing for their wedding. What can they do to help beautify their image?
Absolutely. So number one is trying to make sure that your life is as stress free as possible. Obviously, this is a super stressful time in your life. So you do want to have a plan. Number one: a healthy diet and lots of hydration are going to be key! Any kind of stress diet or super fast exercise plan is going to take a toll on not only your body but your skin itself. So making sure you plan out at least four to six months before your wedding if you want to do some sort of exercise or diet change is the best.
With that being said, once you’re doing the internal care, we can then move to some things more external. Feeling positive about yourself looking good in these pictures is key. We definitely have to come up with plans for both your skin, face and body.
Can you tell us a little bit about some of the procedures and services that you offer at Seamist?
So as a medical spa, we do more medical practices. So we are doing things like body sculpting with a machine called CoolSculpting. We also have muscle toning devices. We then move into the laser realm where we do laser hair removal, pigment work, vessel treatments and laser resurfacing. Then move into the injectables, which include dermal fillers and neurotoxins, to relax wrinkles. We also do Hydrafacials, which is a great kind of facial that hydrates, cleanses and exfoliates the skin. And, we do chemical peels. We have a whole range of services treating basically all parts of the body! We can do threading with PDO threads, which helps lift the skin. So if you have any tissue laxity, it can help lift the whole face and or body depending on what area we treat!
What do they need to know what type of services they want? How do you suggest that the listeners even start with a plan that they’ve never even walked into a medical spa?
I would say come in as early as possible. So say that you get engaged, you come in about six months to a year ahead of time of your wedding. Then we’ll talk about your individual needs. Do you have skin concerns? Do you have a good skincare routine? What are you doing for your own self care? What are your problem areas or issues that you want to focus on? These are questions we’ll have to discuss.
When we look at someone, we treat them as a whole person. We’ll talk about the body first. So say you’re coming in and you have a couple extra pounds you want to lose or there’s some areas that you want to tone up, you already are going to the gym or going for your own hikes or self care. From there, we can do things like CoolSculpting or M Sculpt. You do have to plan to do these procedures at least 13 weeks before you’d want to see results.
Tell us more about the procedures.
One procedure is called CoolSculpting. This is a procedure that we do where we actually freeze specific areas, resulting in 25% fat reduction each cycle. The cycles are determined by the area that you want treated, and how large the surface area is plus how much fat adipose tissue you have to lose.
Usually you do want to plan to do this at least 12 to 13 weeks before you want to see results. Six weeks is the absolute minimum, but you won’t see your full results.
Perfect. So then what is that you can do for other parts of the body?
Those are things like the double chin, arm fat, “bra fat”, your flanks, inner or outer thighs… really anything you might have an issue with. I tell people all the time, you’re treating yourself with these machines – but it’s adjunct to stuff you’re already doing. You still have to exercise and eat well. If you’re going to put all of this time and money into your body and your skin, you need to be able to augment it with a healthy routine.
Absolutely. What other procedures can they look into?
EmSculpt Neo is kind of a fun treatment as well, as EmSculpt. These are muscle toning devices. It works via magnet, where it does basically 20,000 situps in 30 minutes. Or if you used it on your bottom, it’s the equivalent of 20,000 squats in 30 minutes. We can treat inner thighs, we can treat arms, and they will turn the different muscle groups. Again, you’re going to see your best results six to eight weeks after you’re starting the treatments.
Anything else to point out that you can do?
There’s always other body treatments, for things like vacations or honeymoons. We offer services like laser hair removal. For most people, things like that will take 6-8 treatments at the site. Those treatments are usually 4-6 weeks apart, so again, these are longer term treatments. If you don’t want to shave every day, if you don’t want to be worrying about this, you have to plan ahead. Also take in mind that you cannot do laser treatments in certain areas, depending on how tan your skin is. So you have to make sure you’re going to a provider that really knows different skin types, different laser treatments and really knows how to target your exact issue.
We talked about body sculpting laser hair remover removal, what’s some other procedures that you recommend that people hone in on?
So at least three to four months before your wedding, you can start thinking about wrinkles – around your eyes, eyebrows and forehead lines. For that, you’d want to consider a neurotoxin like Botox, Dysport, Xeomin or something similar. You’d want to try it 3-4 months before your event so that we can tweak your doses and know what your body needs. So you need to really plan that three to four months ahead of time to get your initial treatment to see number one, how do you like it? How does it affect your smile? How does your makeup change without wrinkles? And then you’re going to do it at least three weeks before your wedding in case you need any adjustments.
So, what is the difference between Botox and neurotoxin?
Neurotoxin is the medical name for the brand name of Botox, Dysport and Xeomin. Each company has their own unique name, kind of like Kleenex brand tissue! But, it’s a relaxer for wrinkles. It does this temporarily by being injected into the muscle group that you want to relax. Again, I say temporarily because depending on the dose, it relaxes at anywhere between three to four months, those wrinkles will come back. So, if you have really deep wrinkles, you do have to plan much further ahead. But if you’re young and you have just started off, you want to do this for wrinkle prevention and you have just very fine lines, this is great to start at least four months before your wedding.
How about fillers? I hear so much about it but I have no idea how to know if it’s done right!
Dermal fillers are a word for hyaluronic acid or injectables, meaning that they basically plump up the tissue that they’re injected into! There’s a couple of different kinds of fillers but most of the fillers on the market are hyaluronic acid. The other types are often calcium based, called Radius. These fillers all last approximately six months to a year and a half. Some can last longer, it just depends where they’re injected. Hyaluronic acids are actually dissolvable too, so if you absolutely don’t love them, you can have them dissolved.
These are also things you should do before your big day. Test them out and go to someone who really knows your face well. They can go in your lips, chin, things like that – all to become more defined, not over done.
So, one of the number one things I get asked to edit is laugh lines or crow’s feet. What would someone be looking to do if they want to minimize those in your industry?
So that is more of a Botox, Dysport, Xeomin picture. Again, it can be a combination of a filler and a neurotoxin, because some people lack a lot of space. So if you have a lot of volume loss, underneath your eyes, huge dark circles, no Temples, because you’ve lost all the fat in your temples… then we have to talk about filling the space first. There are a lot of different procedures out there – we aren’t even getting into half of them. But those are the easiest ones for younger women.
The next thing to talk about is skin care. People really need to take care of their skin. You can do all of the expensive treatments but it’s no good if you don’t use good skincare. Right? So, again, that starts with a good diet, very good hydration, avoiding the sun, avoiding smoking and pollution and using skincare that actually helps the issues you’re having.
For example, people love plump, glowing skin. The best way to get glowing skin is to have a good treatment regimen where you’re cleaning your face each morning and night, washing makeup off and washing it again. Make sure that you have a toner that balances the pH and you’re using vitamin C serum for the antioxidant effects. Of course, make sure you do a really great job with sunscreen and keep applying it when you’re out.
Is there a certain brand that you can offer to our listeners for sunscreen?
I tend to love the Xeo skincare line. It has this smart tone, skin tone, or skincare that has pigment in it if you’d like a tinted effect. They also have clear SkinCeuticals makes great skincare. Oh, and Elta MD makes great, great sunscreen. So there’s a lot of product lines. But unfortunately, a lot of things that you can get over the counter don’t have the active ingredients that you need! You really have to look for the zinc oxides, and titanium oxides and things that are not chemically based.
Let’s talk about facials. I get microneedling done personally. Can you tell the listeners what that is?
Absolutely. So there’s three basic kinds of micro needling. There’s micro needling plain, micro needling with platelet rich plasma, and there’s radiofrequency microneedling. Microneedling plain is basically what you hear of as normal microneedling – tiny, tiny needles that go different depths into the skin, but really more of a superficial treatment where you’re not penetrating as deep as you can with other more intensive treatments. So this is a fantastic treatment to do every three to four weeks. You might do this if you have melasma, enlarged pores or acne. They’ll break up the tissue and pigment in the superficial skin layers. Microneedling plain would be great for young women who want really great glowing skin or who want to help fine lines wrinkles, decrease their pore size, help with some acne scarring and just rebuild some superficial collagen. This is a great treatment to do and it’s very little downtime and you glow.
If you’re doing the platelet rich plasma version, we’re taking some of your blood and spinning it down to get the plasma (which has growth factors in it) and we apply it to the skin. Basically, you’re getting the skin to heal quicker. Your skin might look a bit red but the next day or so after, your skin is absolutely glowing!
Now, when you talk about radiofrequency microneedling, you’re adding in heat. Heated needs go beneath the level of your skin – you’re numb for this procedure. The heat energy is used to actually tighten below the level of the skin so it creates micro tissue damage, to tell the body that it needs to create collagen and elastin around that damaged area. This is a more intensive procedure that you’d do for a few months. It’s going to take awhile to see results because collagen doesn’t grow overnight.
I love it. I can’t say enough good things about it! How about Hydrafacials?
So, HydraFacial is a brand name for a facial that is basically a cleaning, exfoliating and hydrating process. It’s not the kind of facial you’ll see where someone’s using their hands to massage you. HydraFacials use a machine and a water-based serum that exfoliates then infuses serum back into the skin. The reason why people love it is because you leave and your skin is gorgeously glowing and it cleans out all of your pores. For a wedding, consider doing a HydraFacial with dermaplaning. This is a process where we take a scalpel and remove all of the hairs that create peach fuzz on your head and face. It doesn’t grow back darker or more fully. But it’s a great idea to do before pictures.
I assume that is something that you would do a week prior.
Not even. Sometimes you can do it as early as five days before because you have other events. You’re not going to see a major difference between 5 or 7 days before your event.
I also hear a lot about chemical peels. Tell us a little bit about that.
No surprise, there are a couple different kinds of chemical peels so we’ll just talk about them briefly. There are light acid peels – this won’t have the big snake skin peeling you would have with a deeper peel, if you’re expecting that. These target rosacea and are called Mandelic peels. If you have really deep redness, consider Glycolic Peels with lactic acid. This takes off a layer of superficial skin which helps you to glow. Again, you can do a different strength or depth of peels, but the stronger you go, the more downtime you have to recover. So you need to talk with your provider about the best time to do it. It’s not something to do immediately before your wedding.
Another thing we do for facial resurfacing are our laser treatments. We can do light and bright treatments to go over acne scarring, or something deeper where we’re taking off deeper lines. For younger women with mild scarring or minor pigment, the best time to treat these things is when you don’t have to be in the sun a lot and do a series of them because it takes time to heal.
You brought up an important point about healing time and different times of year. Can you tell us more about planning for these procedures throughout the year?
Absolutely. So the biggest piece of advice is to make sure you go to a provider that can manage expectations appropriately, with a common goal in mind regarding timing, pricing, and expected results. Starting with your face, plan 4-6 months ahead of your event with a great skincare routine. Then you can consider a seasonal chemical peel prior to your wedding to exfoliate the dead skin. you can also do a hydrafacial up to five days before the wedding. It won’t have a lot of downtime and gives you that immediate glow. Doing that every six to eight weeks is a great way to prepare for your wedding.
When it comes to laser treatments like hair removal, you’ll want to plan 4-6 months ahead of time too so you can get multiple treatments in. This also helps make sure that your provider isn’t trying to treat you when you’ve got a spray dan or dark tan naturally.
If you’re doing body treatments, for months before your wedding, make sure you’re working on your diet and exercising simultaneously. The body treatments help lessen fat and turn them off, but you need to be doing them 12-13 weeks before your wedding.
About 2 weeks before the wedding, make sure your Botox and fillers are perfect;. It can take up to 2 weeks for swelling to go down, so that’s the minimum to have those done. The week of the wedding should really just be your final HydraFacial or a radiofrequency treatment to tighten and plump up the skin.
So Dr. Simpson, you went over so many wonderful procedures and things that people can do for themselves. But where does someone begin? How does somebody even know that they’re going to someone that they can trust, or that’s the right person for them?
I think you absolutely have to meet the provider. While you can see a lot on social media where people display their work, you still need to make sure you click and they know what your expectations are. The biggest thing is that a provider should never promise too much to you! You want to make this a long-term relationship with a plan. Have a timeline to follow these things and get to know the people you might work with. Read reviews, meet in person, talk with your friends.
The other piece of advice is to budget for it because a wedding is already expensive. These treatments are pricey too. You need to plan for that self-care budget. Having that for yourself makes it less stressful.
Make sure you talk about the procedures and recovery time. Like, you shouldn’t do laser hair removal in the summer – someone should be explaining why to you. A provider should be able to explain what’s realistic for your age and body, as well as the risks, what the procedure entails and pre and post procedure directions. I also want to encourage you to stick with one provider – they’re able to track where you are and make sure you’re going to get those results that you really want.
What are some key things that consumers should look for in the medical spa? There’s so many out there!
You’re absolutely correct! They’re popping up everywhere but you should look for:
A medical spa that’s established, clean, and run by medical professionals. You should have doctors, nurses, and other medical providers doing these procedures.
Check their credentials and recommendations. Medical spas have to be credentialed, which helps regulate a lot of the setup.
Make sure you like the provider before you do anything. Understand their areas of expertise and make sure you’re a good fit. Ask them your questions about downtime and explain clearly what you’re hoping for as an end result.
Links Mentioned in the Episode
What We Discussed
How to beautify your image before the wedding day (3:08)
What Seamist MedSpa offers (4:29)
How to plan for a medical spa (5:34)
Timeline for procedures Dr. Simpson recommends pre-wedding (32:29)
How to find the right provider for you (37:03)
Wrap-Up Question (40:00)
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