The things people valued at the start of lockdown in March were different from what they value now, such as relationships and experiences. Getting a beauty treatment topped the list then, according to a study by Kantar Media, which scanned social media mentions from March 24 to 30.
This tidbit was not lost on Dr. Vicki Belo, founder and chief executive officer of Belo Medical Group. “Beauty therapy was two-and-a-half times more important than the second thing they would do, which was to visit friends and family,” Belo told Lifestyle in an email interview. “For them, beauty treatments are important not for other people to see, but more for their own well-being and happiness.”
The pandemic has drastically changed how we go about our daily lives. In the past, cleaning and sanitizing a public space were done as unobtrusively as possible—usually early in the morning or late at night. Now, businesses make a big to-do about it.
“We knew that safety would be more important than anything. So gone is the whole thing about having beautiful clinics and beautiful flowers and giving them all these extra cookies.
“Instead, we started making the space very safe with Intellipure, a filtering system that was given a grant by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). It can filter particles that are 40 times smaller than the Hepa filter, which was the standard of care before. It can filter out viruses and particles that are 70 times smaller than the coronavirus,” Belo said.
Belo clinics are now also outfitted with scavenger systems that target the “plumes” created by certain procedures, such as the salt facial, which releases vapor.
Her husband, Dr. Hayden Kho, designed personal protective equipment worn by the staff. The couple also started looking into different kinds of face masks and face shields.
Even with the numerous challenges faced by businesses like hers that involve working in close quarters with clients, Belo appears up to the task. She credits this to her willingness to learn and adapt to new technologies in dermatology, and her decades of experience.
“We keep updating whenever there are better lasers, when there are better procedures,” she said.
More and more, patients list stress-related concerns such as maskne, which does not respond well to traditional medicine, and heavy hair loss.
“We were able to find a yellow laser in Paris last January that clears up acne by killing or shaking the oil glands, thus drying up the sebaceous glands. The great thing about it is, it also increases collagen and elastin so that the skin quality improves,” Belo said.
She treats hair loss using Belo Hair Tech MD that makes use of peptides to address the problem.
“After 30 years of practice, I have a very clear picture of what patients need and desire. Their most common problems are acne, pigmentation and aging. So if you’ve treated those three problems, you’ve got 70 percent of your patients covered. The remaining 30 percent are issues concerning keloids and body fat stuff,” she added.
With their health and safety at the top of the list, clients have been wary about booking appointments, even as Belo assures them that rooms are sanitized after every patient. Walk-ins are no longer allowed, and doctors see only five or six patients daily instead of the usual15 to 20.
“Actually a lot of people are a bit afraid to go to the clinic so we’ve become more aggressive in pushing BIY or is Belo-It-Yourself treatments that can be done at home. The most popular ones are the Salt Glow (exfoliation for softer skin) and the Illuminating System (which helps whiten).
“We also do a lot of Zoom consultations now, which is great. We have Zoom consultations from all over the country and around the world. For some reason, they all think that in December, there will be no more problem, that they will be able to come here, so they’re already making their appointments.”
Belo is looking ahead to a time when things will regain a level of normalcy. Next month, she is introducing the Fillmed brand from Europe.
“With Fillmed, we’ll add a lot of peels. They have a brightening peel for whitening the whole body, getting rid of dead skin and softening the face. They’re also very much into boosters, where you feed the skin certain ingredients to make it healthy.”
Through it all, she continues to update and bring in new machines.
“I think what makes Belo different is that we really concentrate on results. It’s so important for me that the patients get what they want.”