For most people, going to a spa is a feel-good indulgence. You enter a soothing world of plush robes and massages, foot scrubs and facials, and leave relaxed, unkinked, and glowing.
But if feeling good means tackling wrinkles, worry lines, scars, unwanted hair, and cellulite, traditionally you would visit a dermatologist or plastic or reconstructive surgeon. Now, however, due to advances in technology, you can receive many such services in a medical spa, like the recently opened Novo Sano Med Spa in Rowley, an airy white space with six snow-white treatment rooms next to Backstage Salon + Spa in Rowley Marketplace.
“We are a medical aesthetic clinic,” says the spa’s 52-year-old founder, Louis Belmonte, who also formerly owned MiniLuxe Wellesley, founded a medical equipment and supplies company, and currently co-owns Essentials, which provides products and education to beauty and medical spa professionals. “We offer noninvasive outpatient services that need a physician’s authorization but require no anesthesia or surgery.”
Novo Sano Med Spa’s services fall under the umbrella term aesthetic medicine, a $50-billion-plus industry consisting of cosmetic practices aimed to improve a person’s appearance and sense of well-being. Some aesthetic medicine therapies are invasive, and others are noninvasive, like the ones offered by Novo Sano Med Spa, which has three mother hubs—Wellesley, Woburn, and Rowley, offering a full menu of services—and two mini clinics in Andover and Winchester, which perform facial treatments (Winchester offers limited body treatments).
Overall, nonsurgical aesthetic medical treatments fall into three main categories: injectable therapies, such as administering Botox®; energy-based therapies, such as using lasers; and active cosmetic therapies, such as employing chemical peels.
The injectable therapies that you’ll find at Novo Sano Med Spa include Botox and Dysport® (also a botulinum toxin); dermal fillers to plump facial lines, lips, and cheek areas; and PRP injections, which involve drawing one’s blood and spinning it in a centrifuge to isolate the platelet-rich plasma, which is then injected back into the targeted area to combat wrinkles, promote skin elasticity, and brighten the complexion. The clinic also uses PRP injections in conjunction with other therapies, such as microneedling, which is used to encourage hair growth. The Collagen Induction Facial also involves microneedling, through a sterile device that creates microscopic punctures in the top layer of skin to stimulate collagen production.?
Should you wish to boost your mood and/or energy level, you can get a vitamin B12 injection. You also can get an IV hydration drip to treat a variety of symptoms from hangovers to jet lag.
Novo Sano Med Spa’s energy-based therapies include laser hair removal, laser tattoo removal, and aesthetic laser treatments, such as lightening age spots. You can get electrolysis and photofacial rejuvenation via intense pulsed light (IPL) to help minimize such skin issues as rosacea, broken capillaries, and hyperpigmentation. The Ultrasonic Facial involves a flat metal blade delivering high-speed vibrations to cleanse pores, reduce fine lines, and revitalize the skin. Similarly, microdermabrasion uses a wand-like tool to exfoliate the top layer of skin to cleanse, smooth, and freshen it. Other energy-based therapies available are CoolSculpting, which freezes fat cells in targeted areas, causing the cells to die and leave the body; and CooLifting, which uses a small machine (that looks like a hair dryer) to spray carbon dioxide in conjunction with hydrating serums to lift and plump the skin.
Novo Sano founder Louis Belmonte
For cosmetic therapies, Novo Sano Med Spa has a variety of chemical peels to minimize lines and treat adult acne and skin lesions. They also use these cosmeceuticals in conjunction with other therapies, such as applying hyaluronic acid after microneedling during the Collagen Induction Facial to further plump and nourish the skin. The goal behind Novo Sano Med Spa’s services is to help “reveal the best version of you” in a thoughtful, safe way.
“In most cases, clients will come to a medical aesthetic practice and say, ‘I need Botox to get rid of some wrinkles,’” says Belmonte, “so someone will escort them into a room, inject them with Botox, take their money, and send them home. Here, you’re going to sit down like you’re in your physician’s office, and you’re going to get an iPad to fill out your health history.” Then, you’ll meet with a medical provider or aesthetician to discuss what goals you hope to achieve, and together you’ll develop a treatment plan, tailored to your health, age, and desires. If the plan requires a physician’s approval, it’s sent to Boston area plastic surgeon Joseph Russo, MD, a partner with Novo Sano Med Spa, who has agreed to provide medical oversight when needed. Dr. Russo or one of his nurse practitioners will review your suggested treatment plan and either accept it, tweak it, or reject it. If the plan is approved, the Novo Sano Med Spa nurse can proceed immediately with whatever treatment was authorized. If the treatment requires no physician’s authorization, like a chemical peel, an aesthetician or medical provider can provide the service.
“No one is telling our nurses what treatments to sell,” says Belmonte, who feels this is, in part, what sets his company apart from the competition. “Our nurses do not report to us. They report to the physician (Dr. Russo) and deliver services based on the needs of the patient. They’re not driven by profits.”
What’s more, Belmonte says, many medical spas see health regulations as a hindrance to doing business. “But in order to protect every guest who walks in the door, and make sure that the nurses who work for Dr. Russo’s practice are protected legally in the event there was an adverse reaction, we run our business the way we do and abide by the regulations,” says Belmonte. It’s more costly, for sure, but it’s the only way to set the gold standard in medical aesthetics.