What’s the Difference Between a Day Spa and a Medical Spa?

What’s the Difference Between a Day Spa and a Medical Spa?

Who doesn’t love to treat themselves to a luxurious spa day every once in a while? It’s the perfect opportunity to relax in a peaceful environment for a few hours, while nourishing your skin and body with some indulgent treatments. However, there are some key differences between the traditional day spa and medical spa, and it’s essential that you understand what these are so that you know what to expect from your spa experience.

Days Spa for Pampering and Relaxation

When visiting a traditional day spa you can expect to access treatments which focus on personal care, beauty and health. Massages, aromatherapy, facials, mud wraps, reflexology, manicures, pedicures and even hair and makeup transformations are typically on offer at traditional day spas. There may also be access to facilities like swimming pools, saunas and gyms.

The procedures performed at day spas are not typically performed by medical professionals such as doctors or nurses. They will usually be performed by trained and qualified therapists, such as massage therapists or spa technicians, who will have a certain degree of knowledge about the human body in order that they can complete the procedures safely. However, since the procedures aren’t strictly medical in nature, they do not need to be undertaken by medical professionals, nor does the spa have to be supervised by a medical director.

Medical Spa for Medical-Grade Cosmetic Treatments

A medical spa tends to have the relaxing, spa-like atmosphere of traditional day spas, but they are at heart a medical facility and therefore suitable for administering medical-grade procedures. Rather than focusing solely on pampering visitors, medical spas offer treatments which can provide lasting improvements to the skin. The procedures are designed to correct a wide range of skin issues, from lines and wrinkles, to skin laxity and fat reduction. Medical spas are very similar to medical skincare clinics, but the treatment rooms, facilities and general atmosphere is designed to be peaceful and relaxing like you would expect from a day spa.

The other important thing to note is that due to the medical nature of the procedures offered at med spas, they must be supervised by medical professionals, and treatments must be administered by skilled providers. Here in Texas, it is mandatory to have a trained, licensed physician to oversee medical spas in order that treatment providers, who are usually registered nurses, physicians assistants or licensed aestheticians, are supervised.

It is also necessary in Texas for individuals to be assessed by and evaluated by a physician before they are approved to undergo a medical procedure, even if it is non-surgical. This includes procedures which involve the injection of medicines, such as dermal fillers or Botox, or the use of FDA approved devices such as ThermiRF or PhotoFacial. So, if you’re planning on undergoing a medical procedure like this, you can expect to be initially evaluated by a physician or other trained professional with prescriptive authority before you are treated by anybody else.


Some of the treatments you can access at medical spas may appear to be similar to those offered at traditional day spas, but usually they are far more potent and effective due to their medical nature. Let’s take a look at some popular medical spa procedures.

Injectables
Botox, Dysport, Kybella and Dermal Fillers are incredibly popular med spa procedures which work to reduce wrinkles and plump and smooth the skin to create a more youthful appearance.

Microneedling
These skin rejuvenation procedures work to induce collagen production throughout the skin’s surface in order to promote the growth of new skin cells and improve the texture and clarity of skin.

Medical Grade Facials and Chemical Peels
Compared to facials and peels at day spas, those offered at med spas often contain lots of active ingredients to provide highly effective results. Plus, they usually target very specific skin problems such as acne, rosacea or skin hyperpigmentation.

Non-Surgical Liposuction
Devices such as BodyJet Lipo allow for minimally invasive removal of fat cells in order to sculpt the figure without the discomfort and downtime of traditional liposuction.

Lasers and Radio Frequency Devices
The likes of PhotoFacial (reduces wrinkles and uneven pigmentation), Strawberry Laser (reduces stubborn fat), ThermiRF (smooths skin laxity) and LaserCap LCPRO (promotes hair growth) are all FDA-approved medical devices that are popular in medical spas.