Epi Center MedSpa of SF (The OG) is celebrating 25 years

The term medspa has become ubiquitous over the past several years. In almost every corner of the world, the moniker has become a beacon of hope for those seeking rejuvenation and confidence. It’s a strong label, signifying authority and professionalism, and thanks to San Francisco’s Margaret Mitchell and her business partner, world-renowned dermatologist Patrick Bitter, Sr., MD, it’s worked its way into our beauty vernacular.

Mitchell and Bitter combined the words ‘medical’ and ‘spa’ 25 years ago to best describe the services offered at their San Francisco dermatology office Epi Center MedSpa: Botox®, fillers, PhotoFacial, microneedling, CoolSculpting®, coining the now universal term. , tattoo and hair removal, Morpheus8, chemical peels, and medically supervised weight loss and leg vein treatments. Bitter, a Silicon Valley cosmetic dermatologist who invented the famous photofacial procedure, and Mitchell, an accomplished medical office administrator and businessman, joined forces in 1998, just as the industry was finding mainstream popularity.

Margaret Mitchell and Dr. Patrick Bitter, Sr

YYou and your founding partner coined the term MedSpa, which is now universally used by industry practitioners. How does it feel to revolutionize the vernacular of art?

Being in another country and seeing medspa in symptoms is very interesting. Originally we were going to trademark that expression with our name but when others started calling to see if they could use the ‘medspa’ brand name we decided we would see how far and wide the name would spread.

You were named the National ‘Med Spa of the Year’ in 2010 Spa Magazine. How has that notoriety affected your business?

It is always better to name “best” or “top”. This type of advertisement lends credibility.

As in the world of technology, personal care is constantly evolving. What changes have you seen over the years regarding aesthetic treatments?

The changes I have seen with laser, RF and IPL devices are speed in treatment delivery and treatments are less painful. In the world of dermal fillers, where there used to be two or three types of fillers, there are now perhaps 12 types of fillers to choose from depending on the area you want to treat.

Aesthetic enhancements are no longer just for special ‘problem’ solvers. A young client has embraced the idea of ​​’preventive’ treatment. What are your thoughts on this?

It started 25 years ago when laser hair removal and microdermabrasion were FDA approved and MedSpas opened. Now, younger people address preventative aging with routine Botox for their hair, hydrafacial treatments and treatments that address symptoms such as acne or rosacea.

Younger clients are also more open about having procedures, making the practice less ‘taboo’ or secretive. Lip fillers, for example, are becoming as routine as applying lip gloss. How does this openness open the door for others to freely experiment with their appearance?

Instagram has really helped the industry because of young people posting.

At the same time, many clients continue to request absolute privacy. How do you react when you face a client in public?

My job is to keep my clients’ personal lives private. So, for example, at events, I stand back; I don’t initiate conversations unless I’m invited.

Are there some low-risk treatments or procedures that someone new to the practice could try? What is a good place for a ‘new’ start?

Botox, microneedling, and photofacials are great initial treatments.

If a client books a treatment with you, what kind of service can they expect – from start to finish?

We’ve created a program called Centered on You so that each person who comes to MedSpa receives a custom treatment plan to follow based on their skin type, symptoms and budget. Everyone is considered a VIP. Our Union Square-located office, led by a caring and compassionate staff, is warm and inviting. We do our best to put our clients at ease.

What can be considered a ‘bang for the buck’ treatment – a quick and painless procedure that provides a marked difference?


What is your personal favorite treatment?

I just don’t have one. Botox, fillers and photofacial treatments are what I do regularly.

What skin care products do you carry and how much emphasis do you put on daily skin care?

Our most popular lines include our own Epi Center MedSpa line that we developed, as well as Elta MD, SkinCeuticals and Obagi. We’re also bringing back a premium organic line….coming soon!

Can you share your thoughts on the importance of a healthy lifestyle in maintaining one’s appearance and mental health?

A healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally, is paramount. Our bodies work better when we are happy. So many women want to be confident with their appearance. We can help them. Being confident is one of the most important attitudes people can feel about themselves. It’s the moments when our patients happily look at themselves in the mirror after their procedures that give me such joy.

EP Center MedSpa: 450 Sutter St #800, San Francisco, CA

Photo courtesy of Epi Center MedSpa

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