Dermclinic at SM Fairview Branch
(A Consumer’s Review)
I went to this branch of Dermclinic which is located at the LG/F, SM City Fairview. Their one liner says they are the true skin and hair clinic. I remember, more than ten years ago, when facial therapies were not yet that popular, I have been seeing a lot of Dermclinic’s establishments in malls. My first impression during those days was that these clinics are only for those who have dermatological problems and thus are “patients”, so you do not enter Dermclinic just to have your normal routine of a beauty facial therapy. But today they have also changed to include facial therapies. So one morning of July 17,2009 I went to try one of their “medical facials”, I wanted to see what are the similarities and/or differences between other facial and beauty centers/therapies out there with Dermclinic and I hope I was not missing out on fabulous treatments. But when I tried to book for an early 11am facial, the receptionist told me to come back at 1 pm (after lunch) because she does not have anyone yet who will be left at the reception area. So obligingly I did.
At 1:05pm, I returned and was asked to wait for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I was observing the ambiance inside Dermclinic which is comparable to a doctor’s clinic lounge. There is a water dispenser just right beside the sofa lounge, there are no clients waiting in line, there are retail products for hair and skin displayed behind the long sofa. Instead of music, it has a television on top of the retail shelves which during that time was airing a lunch time program in a local network here in the Philippines. If you are someone looking for a “spa” type of lounge, do not expect it here. What I like about their ambiance though is its professional and tidy looking set-up giving us the notion that what you will get are medical-based facial therapies. Another thing I like about my first visit, is that the receptionist told me to fill up a client intake (or patient assessment) form before my facial so details like my allergies or skin conditions that I am most worried about were asked. This gives me the peace of mind that the center does really take data and information about their clients important, for me that is a big plus, as each of our skin is different.
Upon looking at their list of facial services/ price list, I found that a medical facial treatment costs Php 395.00 (approximately $8.00). If you choose to add an “add-on” like pore-minimizer, anti-wrinkle, lymphatic drainage or a galvanic eye treatment you will have to add Php 100.00 (approximately $1.00) while an oxygen therapy is Php 200.00 (approximately $4.00) - not bad. If you will again opt to add any mask aside from these add-ons you can either choose a forming mask, whitening mask and a collagen mask which all costs Php 100.00 each (approximately $1.00). If on the other hand, you opt to try any of these specialized facials like a total rejuvenating facial, anti-aging facial, intense whitening facial, the cost of each is Php 695.00 (approximately $14.00), still not bad. The lower priced facial is the collagen firming facial costing only Php 495.00 (approximately $10.00) and the higher priced facial is the anti-aging facial which is Php 695.00 (approximately $16.00). So for my first time with them, I tried the medical facial with an add-on of anti-wrinkle treatment plus a whitening mask. A total of Php 595.00 (approximately $12.00).
After my wait time is over I was ushered inside by another staff, who is wearing a white coat/uniform similar to medical staffs in a hospital but without the usual name plates. There were no names on their uniform and the staff did not introduce herself so I wasn’t sure what to call them. I was assisted to put on a white Dermclinic facial robe and a hair band. I was asked to wash my hands with a bar of soap and wash my face with a liquid soap or should I say cleanser because it did not produce any bubbles. It is odorless, it feels similar to the brand Cetaphil (take note that I did not say it is this type of brand but it feels like it anyway, maybe a local brand but of similar composition). What I like about my washing session is that she did not give me any towel instead I was asked to use the facial tissue, which I like because it assures me that someone has not yet used what I have used. Not that I am against using a sanitized, clean and laundered facial towel. But this is a nice change for awhile. If you are to think about it, this might be a good alternative to a facial towel because it’s more economical for management. No laundries to take care of anyway.
When the staff asked me to lie down I became conscious because everything was in white including the facial bed cover and I was worried that my shoes might stain it. So I removed my shoes and lay down. The staff applied cleanser and then with mechanical revolving foam, applied it all over my face. After that was the facial massage, what strikes me during my facial massage is that she massaged my face while wearing gloves. Hummmm….not very relaxing and might make the client feel that they have a contagious skin disease. This has its pros and cons on the side of the staff and on the side of the client. If someone has any fungal infections or warts, the staff might contract it while most don’t they might feel intimidated by the facial massage with gloves. Then came a ten minute steaming session, then facial brushes (you know the type that revolves and its mechanical head can be changed to a small brush or a bigger sized brush or sometimes a foam but in this medical facial treatment, the facial therapist only used the two types of brush) then the galvanic machine which of course, will just feel a cold temperature from the application of the heads of the machines rolling over your face. Then mask agad (right after). The staff immediately left me but before leaving she asked me if I wanted a magazine which I did. I like that she asked but if ever you are expecting more while waiting for your mask to dry up like a relaxing shoulder massage, head massage, or a warm hand mittens and massage- if you are also after these special add-on services, you will not get it here. During the time when I was waiting for my mask to dry up and had my facial therapist return to remove the mask, I remembered that consumers have also evolved in the way they view facial therapies. Gone are the days that people view facial centers as establishments only for those with serious skin conditions. Now people are becoming aware that they need to take care of their skin as well as their body. They want more than just the usual routine doctor and patient relationship and they will find ways of fulfilling their desires by looking for other healthcare professionals who offer a similar experience and almost the same (if not the same or even better) results. If you are the type who just visits for a beauty ritual or skin care maintenance, if you are just a “validoso” or “validosa” (someone who is beauty conscious) and do not have any medically related concerns for your skin, you might choose other facial centers or a medical spa instead. If, on the other hand, you have a skin disorder, I think a visit to Dermclinic as well as other dermatology clinics will be a better choice.
So came the time that my mask has to be removed. She sprayed distilled water to remove the mask. Then, came the extraction time. I wonder if she forgot to extract before my mask or that is their usual routine for a medical facial. ummHummm….Hummmm…until now, I don’t understand the logic or scientific explanation behind this. Mask first before the extraction? Anyway, after this came my LASER treatment (which again is using a high frequency machine NOT the real LASER). Again, I don’t understand why my staff told me that she will be applying a LASER….Hummmm…isn’t this a medical clinic? And believe me I did not hear her wrong. Anyway, I like that the staff did not use anything to make to applicators for high frequency machine slide on my skin because I like the smell of the current. Since they are made of glass tubing, I also like the feeling of current running on my cheeks and forehead and nose. Also, a direct application, with the use of glass electrode is very effective for oily skin conditions like mine. Let me give a very short idea on how it is like. The applicators for high frequency current are made of glass tubes from which the air has been removed. When the current passes through the tube, it causes it to light up with a violet reddish colored discharge producing a buzzing sound. These tubes in fact, come in different shapes for treating various skin areas like the hair, scalp, face, etc. Other facial centers use it with a lotion, cream, gel in combination with a high-frequency current. It is possible (though rare) for the violet reddish spark to cause combustion so it is always best to know whether the ingredients used in combination with the high frequency are flammable. In this case, they did not apply anything at all with the high frequency machine, so no need to worry. Except if the glass tubing broke on my face--- hehehe----which is almost impossible because it is always applied with very little pressure. Just to let the glass tubing slide on my face. Ahhh….if I can only request that the high frequency be applied longer than usual….but of course, I would not because I know that too much exposure to hf current is also not good for my skin.
After my session is over I was assisted to remove my hair band and my white robe. Overall when its time to pay my bills my instant dilemma is if I have to tip because generally one does not give tips to staffs inside a medical facility. Anyway, they might feel insulted so I opt not to. In the meantime, I asked the receptionist to differentiate the facial therapies to me instead, she presented a book with all the procedures they do. I like this because I get to really know what is behind their list of services and what I would expect during the facial. For anti-aging facial I saw that they will be applying a topical Botox and for the non-surgical facelift they will be applying a lift mask and what they call a miracle firm. A total rejuvenating facial has eight steps all in all while a medical facial doesn’t have some of those steps. Then that was the time that I finally had the courage to ask the name of the staff who attended to me, her name was Grace.
The website (http://www.dermclinic.com.ph/) is a well designed website which also doubles as their brochure. I think what might be lacking is the friendliness of their staff. You know, the kind that you would want to return, not because you needed it but because you feel rejuvenated and at home there. The level of service, explanation and performance I received was not that exceptional. Overall, I would give a 79% to this experience. So the next time I visit, I might try their other services.
More about them: I like that the reception area has the business card of their chief dermatologist who is Dr. Vinzon Pineda and that their main clinic is in Legaspi Village Makati. It also has a list of their branches nationwide so I get to have their contact details and call them up beforehand.
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