Raechel Cunningham – Aesthetician / spa owner – NYBy admin | May 29th, 2011 | Category: 2007, Columns, Fall 2007, The Beauty Agenda | No Comments »
Aesthetician and Spa Owner, Raechel Cunningham of New York Laser
Raechel Cunningham is a licensed aesthetician and the director at New York Laser & Aesthetics, located in the center of Manhattan. Raechel is a highly motivated aesthetician with extensive knowledge in the Skin Care industry. She is a graduate of Florida College of Natural Health, where she received an A.S. in Natural Health and obtained courses in both Aesthetics and Massage Therapy. Raechel has extensive experience in various Laser Treatments such as IPL, Laser Hair Removal, Laser Vascular Treatments, and Photo Facials. Raechel’s non-laser experience includes facial treatments, microdermabrasions, enzyme and acid peels, pre-/post-operative skin care, hair removal, camouflage make-up, anatomy and physiology, and nutrition of the skin.
“New York Laser & Aesthetics is a skin spa. We provide skin care solutions to our clients that serve to aid in the promotion and preservation of a healthy, beautiful skin appearance by using well-researched skin care products and treatments. Since not all skin care treatments work the same on people, we offer our clients an assortment of the most up-to-date skincare practices for the best possible results. “
Tell me about your spa.
We’re right off 5th Avenue, next to the Plaza. And when you walk into the spa, you’re greeted like you’re in a home/waiting room with a nice couch, flat screen TV, and music playing. We wanted to create a very comforting environment. We sell skin care products here with our organic skin care products called Imminent. I like to combine laser treatment with organic skincare.
What kind of laser treatments do you provide?
Laser hair removal (FDA approved machine); we also do photo facials for sun damage, hyper pigmentation due to hormones or the sun; we do skin tightening, and one of my fortes is laser vascular therapy.
What does laser skin tightening entail?
You come in and show us the areas that are bothering you. I come up with these things called vector points. The laser’s going to focus on tightening. The laser puts out an infrared heat source, which heats up collagen on the dermal layer. Collagen is lying on the surface under your skin in little coils. This treatment creates those coils to tighten up, and it almost kills them; but you’re not having any burns on the surface of your skin. You have nothing that looks like you had anything that was done. In 3-4 weeks when the dead collagen cells reach the surface, they come off; and your body senses that you have a wound, so it starts promoting new collagen at a very quick rate. After the second treatment, you really start to see results and a fifty percent improvement. So someone who’s not ready for plastic surgery, if you have a lot of fatty tissues under the skin like somebody’s neck or jaw line, skin tightening isn’t going to work as well as it would with somebody with hanging or crappy skin. When somebody also has spider veins, the laser also targets the spider veins, like legs, red vessels on their face, nose, cheeks….
Do you know what causes spider veins?
It’s basically a lot of pressure on the legs. And the veins that are responsible for moving the blood along have so much pressure that they start forming all these little veins that help search for new channels so they can handle the pressure more effectively. Sometimes we treat the veins, and they might come back in other areas. Somebody would probably need to see a doctor if that happened.
The treatments last for how long?
With the vein treatments, if they go away and your body doesn’t produce more veins, it can be permanent; or they may come back in the same area. It just depends on once we close those little channels, your veins still have those pressures, so it may form new ones. People get great results here. People we did a year ago still don’t have new veins. It can last for quite a few years. The same thing with all the hyper pigmentation, all the treatments I do here take a few treatments; but once they’re gone, the only way they’ll come back is if you’re doing things to cause them to return.
Laser hair removal, is it a better method than electrolysis?
It is a better method, but whether you’re doing electrolysis or whether you’re doing laser hair removal, there are three phases of hair growth. These are things as a consumer you wouldn’t know. It’s very easy to misunderstand or get talked into buying something. So what I’m trying to do is explain that there’s the one phase of hair growth. It’s called antegin and that’s when the actual hair is attached to the pila. That’s what develops the hair. So when you do electrology or laser or anything that delivers heat into the pore, it has to conduct to the follicle so that it damages it, [keeping it] from making any new hair. You’re only in this phase for a short period of time. You can be receiving the treatment, your hair may fall out, but you’re still going to have hair grow in. So that’s why with laser hair removal, we try to promote it in packages of six. That’ll give me enough time to get all the hairs that are in that “right” phase. With laser you can do a larger surface area in quicker amounts of time and you’re not risking inserting a needle and probing into a hair follicle, putting too much heat in that follicle and creating a dark spot—I see it happen a lot. I also went to school for electrology so I am very familiar with how that works, and I definitely think laser hair removal is a better way to go.
In your professional opinion, is the laser hair removal actually permanent?
It is permanent, but if I did it to you and you were in that phase of antegin, which is the growth phase, your hair’s going to fall out and not grow for a month; and then it’s going to start to grow. So it is permanent, but you have to have the right amount of treatments.
How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been doing this for over eleven years. 1996, I started doing manicures and pedicures. I was working in a spa where they gave facials, and I was interested, so I went to school to learn that. And I had been a licensed aesthetician for almost eight years. I am originally from Florida. I’ve been working for a dermatologist most of my career, so I have a lot of experience in corrective skin care. I moved to NY about a year and a half ago. I worked for a large laser company chain. I decided to quit and work for a plastic surgeon who was really adamant about being partners with me and opening up a spa. So I pretty much did, and here I am. I have a partner who owns the place, and I pretty much run it and have a small share of the business myself. I was very lucky. It’s not like a regular spa. I wanted to run it like a doctor’s office, so far as the treatments that I offer, but still very relaxing, like you’re at somebody’s home. I have two rooms: a laser room where I do all the treatments (looks like a doctor’s office), clean and sterile; the other room is where I do all my facials. It’s very personable here.
What are your prices?
Titan Skin Tightening, full face $1,100;Laser Spider Vein Treatment, 30 minutes $400; Laser Hair Removal, Brazilian, $340 per treatment;Cranberry Pomegranate Treatment, $250.
Of all the skin care treatments that claim to do what the laser treatments do, you chose the laser. Why is this the better way to do it?
I chose laser because of all the treatments that I do, the laser is more aggressive (hair removal). It’s kind of a tool of the future. There’s no other tool that lets you do hair removal in a timely manner. I feel like laser is going to be very popular in the future, more so than it is now. As long as you have an FDA approved machine, and you’re trained on it, I think it’s safe as long as the user is licensed and educated in the laser.
Have you ever had a client where there was nothing corrective you could do?
On my level, I have had clients on an aesthetic and cosmetic level where I couldn’t help them. I refer them to a plastic surgeon on staff. I have a dermatologist I refer to.
So in other words, you’re a skin care specialist, not a magician. Any tips you’d like to give to your average female on taking care of her skin?
I reference to laser. If anybody’s contemplating doing laser, they should really do their homework and make sure that where they go is licensed, the people are licensed, and that they have an FDA approved laser to prevent burns or things that could happen that they don’t want to happen. And maintaining at home with a good skin care line that’s good for their skin.
What about acne? Is there a laser that can help that?
There are certain treatments that are called LED lights. They come in different colors. The blue LED light helps to kill the bacteria that’s responsible for causing acne. It’s a temporary treatment. How I handle acne here would be a series of chemical peels and then a laser treatment called laser genesis. It helps kill the bacteria as well.
Can any age do this?
I usually start treating kids from 12-13. I do a mild chemical peel or laser treatment. Hair removal, I like to do it starting from age 16 and up. Do your homework, make sure whoever you go to is really licensed and knowledgeable. I’ve seen a lot of burns and bad things happen to people, and I don’t want that to be something people think about when they think of laser.
You said earlier that you see laser as the treatment of the future. Not that you’re a psychic, but in five years where do you think laser might be?
The technology will be much more advanced. Currently, the FDA regulates how deep the wave lengths go into the skin. I think in the future, maybe the lasers will be able to penetrate a little bit more. I also think that they will be regulated a lot more. Some states are not regulated, and anybody can do them. I think it will be something that will be taken more seriously, but I definitely think the effects of laser will keep improving.
To learn more about New York Laser, visit www.nylaskin.com for before and after shots. If you’re in the New York area, make an appointment with Raechel Cunningham, Director of Operations:
New York Laser & Aesthetics
21 W. 58th Street #1C/D
New York, NY 10019
Interviewed by Kaylene Peoples