By Megan Bagdonas
Tony Cutrona, owner and operator of Spa Riviera, spends his days trying to give people a certain glow.Among the hundreds of day spas in Southern California competing to pamper the public, Cutrona's Redondo Beach day spa caters to a niche clientele -- those wanting microdermabrasion.
Using a device that resembles a small sandblaster, Cutrona sprays tiny crystals across the face, neck and chest area, mixing gentle abrasion with suction to remove the dead, outer layer of skin. This technique of skin care may help to reduce fine wrinkles, scarring, sun damage and enlarged pores. At $135 a session and a series of sessions is usually recommended for maximum results, Cutrona says microdermabrasion is a cheaper way to get younger looking skin without going under the knife.
So can you really take years off people's look?
In most cases you can give them a healthier look.
What's the best part of your job?
Seeing the results. Some gals use cover-up makeup and when they realize they can now not have to go to work or their daily activities with a heavy cover-up on -- that's a wonderful feeling. They look healthier, so that's rewarding for me.
How about the worst part?
Clients who don't show up for whatever reason. That's kind of disappointing, I just have to sit around ... It's also a shame, some of the younger kids who come in with severe acne and you see how it's really brought their self-esteem down, and that's depressing. The only upside is that we can usually get it back to normal so they can have happy, healthy lives and great-looking skin.
What have you learned about people through your work?
Most everyone has their little skin issues and no longer are only the Hollywood stars or multimillionaires coming in for treatments. Secretaries and the gals working at the bank have found out that they can remedy issues and get treatments they thought were only available for the higher elite.
So more people are taking care of their skin?
They're taking care of their skin a heck of a lot more than they used to. Back in my generation it was baby oil and iodine, slather it on and lay out in the sun and roast.
Do you have any universal beauty tips?
Use sunscreen every day and drink plenty of water.
Are you more judgmental of other people's complexions?
My mother tells me to keep my mouth closed. I can't go up to everybody and say, "You know, we can help you." But that's like in any business, you'll notice things that go wrong or right and you see how they
can be changed or improved.
What would you be doing if you weren't a spa owner?
Selling real estate.
Ever wonder how certain people never seem to age and their skin looks so beautiful? I have, and now I know their secret it's microdermabrasion. Recently, I had the pleasure of experiencing microdermabrasion treatments for the first time under the expert care of Tony Cutrona, Spa Riviera, located in the Redondo Beach Riviera Village.
He specializes in microdermabrasion and also offers full facials, waxing, peels, skin and body treatments. Spa Riviera will soon be a full-service medi-spa with a medical doctor on staff who will be able to offer laser, vein removals, botox and restylane. Tony is most passionate about microdermabrasion though because of the results he is able to achieve with just six treatments. Clients come from as far away as Arizona, San Diego, and as near as the local South Bay area to receive his gentle, expert touch.
He is so good at microdermabrasion that other spa owners in town will come to him to have their treatments done. As a matter of fact, he trained quite a few of the aestheticians who work in other salons. For many years prior to starting his own business, he educated doctors and aestheticians on microdermabrasion which is how he developed his expertise. He has been doing this for over seven years and knows what to do to make you look and feel beautiful.
The reason microdermabrasion is so crucial to keeping a youthful appearance is it helps remove dead skin cells and fine lines that come with age. Apparently, when we're young, our skin naturally sheds these dead skin cells, but as we age the oil glands slow down and our skin doesn't shed as readily. A microdermabrasion treatment is a less expensive, less invasive way to help take care of fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, hyper pigmentation, acne scarring, enlarged pores and stimulate new skin cell growth.
When I came to Tony I had some sun damage and lines that I was interested in having resolved. After analyzing my skin, Tony began applying a basic cleanser and enzyme peel to soften my pores and dissolve oils. Once that relaxing facial treatment was completed, he began applying the microdermabrasion machine which is like a vacuum with one pump distributing small crystals to polish and stimulate skin cell turnover and improve blood flow, while the other pump sucks up all the dead skin cells and feeds oxygen to the derma level for new skin cell generation to create a youthful look. He adjusts the pressure to get better results with less irritation for each client.
Sounds weird, but it's actually a very interesting sensation. I almost felt like my skin was being sand-blasted off in a way, but it was very soothing and relaxing. He's extremely thorough, and gives more passes over every area than others in his field. His one-hour treatment includes the face, upper neck and decolletage.
He's helped other clients remove ugly acne scarring that no one had been able to help before. He also told me about a woman who came to him to have two dark brown spots that had developed during her pregnancy that were so bad she had to constantly wear heavy concealer just to leave the house.
After six treatments, not only were the marks removed, but she could go bare-faced again. Tony says, "A microdermabrason treatment will help normal moisturizers penetrate better, makeup apply smoother and more evenly, and make skin softer and smoother."
Tony wrapped up my treatment with a customized masque especially suited to my skin type which contained Vitamins A & C to help rebuild collagen and elastin and induce healing.
I loved the way my face and upper chest looked after just two microdermabrasion treatments. I did experience a little sun sensitivity afterwards, but apparently that's to be expected. It quickly went away though and now I have radiant skin to show the world. Even the deeply entrenched lines around my lips are softer and less noticeable. The whole experience was so relaxing; I can't wait to do it again. However, you only need a microdermabrasion treatment every six weeks or so for maintenance.
Now I'm much more careful about applying sunscreen because I want to maintain my healthy glow. Before I left, I bought some Babor sunscreen, which is the leading, recommended skincare system in Continental Europe. I like it because it doesn't have the odor normally associated with sunscreens and it feels good when I apply it. As a result of using it, I've noticed my skin is soft even after a day out in the sun driving around in my convertible.
Tony trained on the east coast with Catherine Atzen Labs South and the Babor Skincare Institute.
Overall, visiting Spa Riviera and being treated by Tony Cutrona was a delightful experience. You may not know what to expect when you enter the building, but you are definitely satisfied when you leave. The soothing decor, tapestry furnishings, new age music and running water fountain help set the relaxing mood. Tony is warm, personable, and cares about making you feel and look your best. I highly recommend his services and his spa to anyone interested in experiencing microdermabrasion for the first time, or the eightieth time. Treatments are available days, evenings, and weekends by appointment only.
Ongoing client, Andrea Lingman, said she originally came in for the Spa Riviera Beauty Spa Package because the price was so reasonable. However, what keeps her coming back are Tony's fantastic results from even the very first visit. She also appreciates the relaxing environment.
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