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Sizing up Cellular Intelligence Luxury MedSpa
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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While I have been to several spas, it's safe to say that I haven't been at a place like Cellular Intelligence (CI) Luxury MedSpa.

The facility had a Nip/Tuck vibe to it (and I like that show)—but I'm happy to report that the staff quickly put me at ease.

I also understood why celebrities (reportedly) go there: the aforementioned staff, and the services. Among the services CI provides are the use of dermal fillers (such as Restylane, Juvederm and Botox), Dermaflash facial treatment, laser hair removal and chemical peels.

CI also offers CoolSculpting, an alternative to surgery that I can see many people opting for in the near future. According to the spa's website, "CoolSculpting by Zeltiq targets unwanted fat cells in the selected area resulting in a noticeable, natural-looking reduction of (on average) 20-25% fat in the treated area." And if the thought of diminishing love handles isn't attractive enough, there is practically no downtime—and people have even talked on the phone or worked on their laptops during treatment.

However, experiencing is believing, so I underwent a few procedures myself after completing an extensive application on a tablet (a nice alternative to the standard pen-and-paper process). I started with a deep-pore cleansing facial (with exfoliation) along with Dermaplaning—which, according to the spa's Rich Campbell—is from the Dermaflash treatment.

It was a good thing I was in the very capable hands of Jessica, who calmed me a bit after she said Dermaplaning involved using a blade. While thoughts of Edward Scissorhands coming after me whirled in my head, she showed me the blade, which was basically a scalpel with the sharp edge removed. However, this procedure is, indeed, excellent at removing the outer layer of skin (also called the horny layer, Campbell said). He also said that this procedure means that "anything we do after that provides a really nice penetration. All the peptides, all the anitoxidants sink right in, and you get the best benefit from them."

I was also subjected to a mist of hyperbaric oxygen that helps a previously applied serum penetrate the skin—leaving the client glowing. There is a thin line between "glowing" and "shiny"—and, fortunately, the treatments left me more of the former than the latter.

Something that's key, Campbell added, is using some of the spa's skin-care products after you leave in order to maintain: "The idea is that if you're complete with your regime, the next time you come in there's an exponential benefit. We're building a foundation—and it forms a partnership [with the client]." As for the time between visits, "that depends on the procedure," he said.

By the way, I asked Campbell about the dermal fillers, which are all the rage. He emphasized that clients get "a whole consultation. Basically, 'What is your objective? These are my thoughts.' The nice thing about [Medical Director] Dr. [Brian] Braithwaite is that he's a plastic surgeon. … A plastic surgeon's training is about taking the abnormal and making it normal. That could be anything from a birth defect to [the results] of an accident, and making it normal.

"To do that, a plastic surgeon has to know not only the skeletal structure of the face, but how the muscles pull over the face, how our fat is laid around the face. So he'll see how your face moves when you talk with him. When you speak with him, you feel really comfortable; nothing will have you looking overblown."

While going to such a facility used to be more for women, "I think we're going to see a huge influx of men getting treatments. We're moving into a baby boomer generation, and [people] want to keep their competitive edge. Even now—it's not just gay men, it's not just straight men, it's not older men or younger men."

When it comes to taking care of your skin, the folks at CI definitely know what they're doing. Now, about that CoolSculpting…

Cellular Intelligence Luxury MedSpa Chicago is at 100 E. Walton St.; see or call 312-255-1495.

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