This time of year ushers in a season of family events and celebrations like none other throughout the year. With so many memories being made, it stands to reasons that people want to look their best for those images that are going to line the pages of albums for generations to come!
We asked members of our esteemed faculty to weigh-in on tips and tricks for treating cosmetic patients in the rush up to the holiday season.
CSF: Which particular treatments or procedures do you see spike in your practice during this time of the year?
S. Chilukuri, MD: In the early fall, I see a spike in the number of chemical peels and IPL treatments as patients are ready to reverse their skins’ summer sun damage. In late fall and winter, I typically see a rise in patients wanting to be ready for charity and holiday events. As a result, we have a full schedule of patients receiving the C-Lift our signature nonsurgical facelift.
J. Kaufman, MD: We see a spike in laser resurfacing, like fraxel, since it’s easier to avoid sun exposure during these cooler months. Fraxel 1927 is great at removing post summer sun damage, including actinic keratoses and lentigenes- leaving the skin smooth and even for the rest of the year. Holiday pick me ups definitely include neuromodulators (BOTOX®, Dysport and Xeomin) and fillers. Even those who do these procedures regularly, will make sure they have themselves on the schedule for the holidays.
M. Rubin, MD: Whenever patients are going to be seeing family members they want to look their best (holidays, family reunions and weddings), so there is a bit of an uptick in patients during the holiday season. We find that patients generally want the same things they always want – they are just under a time crunch for the holidays.
V. Bucay, MD: Agreed. People simply want to look their best, so we see an increase in neuromodulators and fillers; light chemical peels; laser treatments that have no downtime, such as Cutera’s Laser Genesis and radiofrequency treatments like Pellevé for small targeted areas, e.g. periorbital region.
H. Galadari: This is the season before the holidays, so neuromodulators and fillers performed at this time are perfect. Patients get the benefit to see the results first hand and if they like it, they can keep it (at least from a neuromodulator stand point), for the next months.
J. Downie, MD: The treatments and procedures that I see spike during the holidays are basics, of course BOTOX®, filler, laser, and non-invasive fat melting. We find that chemical peels are popular as well this time of the year.
Z. Rahman, MD: I find the winter holiday season the ideal time for busy patients to undergo fractional ablative laser treatment. The time off from work, or the ability to work from home (which many people are able to do during the holidays) makes this a great time to recover from the higher downtime procedure.
J. Niamtu, DMD: I have a large injectable practice but my forte is cosmetic facial surgery and that is what my concentration involves. Cosmetic surgical procedures are somewhat seasonal and people prefer to recover either in the preholiday or postholiday season especially as there is less to do outdoors. That said, for us (like many, I’m sure) October is a really busy month for injectables because people want to get ‘tuned up’. For many of our patients this falls into part of an ongoing cycle where they will return for neuromodulators every 3 months. So much of the cycle has to do with life events such as reunions in the spring time, weddings in summer, and then then the holidays, that this timing makes a lot of sense for them.
CSF: Do you have any special procedures – or combinations thereof – which you like to highlight leading into the holidays?
J. Downie: We have holiday specials with discounts for the patients that encourage them to combine their filler and BOTOX® in particular.
N. Lowe: We don’t have any special treatments, but make a point of focusing on technique that delivers the best results. The art of successful filler treatment is to select cannulas, needles or combine them to deliver appropriate fillers for different anatomic areas and indications.
V. Bucay: I like the combination of Laser Genesis and DermaSweep for skin that looks smooth, even toned, and glows.
H. Galadari: Hassan – I like to start off on “holiday” injectables now. This is the time. I prefer not to wait till the last minute and then start having them performed. Patients may not like the results, so it’s better to see them first so we can achieve the look they want. Peels may also be performed at this time since their effects may need time to take into effect.
S. Chilukuri: The treatment combo our patients love is The C-Lift . It is a signature, nonsurgical facelift procedure combining fillers, neuromodulators, lasers, radiofrequency, rejuvenating peels, and skin care.
J. Kauffman: I think it also important to remember to suggest skin care. It’s great for holiday gifts, too. We package our favorites in beautiful gift totes, for a quick and easy grab on the way out of the office. Skincare is a great gift for nearly everyone on your shopping list, we even have a bag for men’s skin care.
CSF: Are there any cutoff dates for particular “pre-holiday” procedures in your office?
J. Niamtu: One of the biggest problems for surgical or nonsurgical procedures as people trying to cram in their schedule before a big event. The best way to lose a patient is to bruise them before their wedding or Christmas Eve, etc. My staff and I really have to explain things to people that have unrealistic expectations.
H. Galadari: There is no X date. Rather, one has to manage expectations. If patients understand that these procedures need time, then they will have no issues with them. That’s why I start off treating them just after the summer. This will allow my patients to see their results and then further be able to manage their expectations realistically. If a patient is ok with having neuromodulator performed a day before, who are we to stop them? They will just have to know that they just won’t see the results then, but may start doing so by New Year’s.
M. Rubin: Body contouring treatments can, of course, take weeks to months to reach their maximum benefit so if anyone is going to a tropical environment for the winter holidays they need to be working on their body contouring now, so they will look good in a bathing suit in December.
For filler and toxin injection we just remind patients they need about 1 week to be their best so if they have a big social holiday season, they need to be in our office by early December at the latest to be ready in time for the holiday parties.
V. Bucay: This is particularly true of treatments that require several months for optimal results, such as Ultherapy and Sculptra. Body contouring treatments like CoolSculpting and Vanquish ME also require more time for optimal results.
S. Chilukuri: I remind patients who are trying to fit into a special dress or tuxedo that the maximum effects of nonsurgical body contouring take 3 months. Similarly, nonsurgical procedures to improve neck contour usually take 3 to 6 months to see fantastic results as well.
CSF: Do you employ any special techniques for reaching out to patients re: cosmetic procedures which work particularly well at this time of year?
M. Rubin: We don’t do any advertising or specials in our practice. But we do work longer hours during the holiday rush and try to accommodate as many patients as we can who are panicking because they didn’t think ahead and schedule an appointment way in advance.
J. Downie: We use Constant Contact and advertise through social media.
V. Bucay: We use email blasts though Constant Contact, as well. And we, too, find social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to be helpful.
H. Galdari: We do not advertise in print, but push through an active social media campaign. Each of our doctors has their own platforms which they may use, as well as the clinic’s.
We are currently studying whether we should put together a text messaging system to increase the promotion of such procedures. This may be implemented before the holidays if we believe it will help.
S. Chilukuri: While we don’t utilize any external marketing, but we do utilize eRelevance to help educate our current patients on what new technologies we have to refresh their appearance.
J. Niamtu: Since cosmetic surgery is so seasonal, we do reach out to patients letting them know that this is the time to come in if they are hoping to look younger for summer, etc. The preholiday season is also a time for us to do specials on injectables and skin care.
J. Schlessinger: We often see our colleagues doing an ‘event’ that is in an evening around the holidays. So far, we haven’t found the need to do one, but we often run specials that attract a great amount of interest.
These specials are usually a combination of fillers and neurotoxins with some value added. That can often be Latisse or a skincare product. Most often, our corporate partners will supply these if asked.
Whether your practice is large or small, there are usually some products around that haven’t sold and they can be used as an inducement to come in for holiday ‘makeovers’.
Additionally, many companies will come in for a daily event (we do ours over the entire day, but not in the evening). This allows our staff to help with patients and to make stronger, better informed relationships that last well beyond the duration of the event.
While we aren’t against the concept of a night time event, the concern in our area is weather. When we did these in the past, rain, snow or other issues led to poor attendance, sometimes negating thousands of dollars of advertising. Virtual events have bridged that gap and are just as exciting for our patients (and staff)!