By Tami Vigness
It seems like now, more than ever, people are investing time, money, and energy into themselves and their appearance. Every other post in our Instagram feed shows the latest trends in beauty and skincare from our favorite influencers, followed by the familiar hashtag #selfcare. The fancy treatments and products we used to think were reserved only for celebrities, have now become commonplace even to “regular” people. When I was younger, the thought of getting a facial or skin treatment seemed like a splurge or an unnecessary luxury. Besides getting pampered for 30 minutes or so, was a medical-grade facial really that much better than anything I could do myself at home?
The answer to that question is ‘yes.’ A facial done by a licensed aesthetician, using medical-grade products and state-of-the-art tools, is 100% better than anything you can do yourself at home. And with more and more people – myself included – looking beyond the face wash and skin care aisles at the local drug store, the need for medical spas and enhanced skin care studios offering these services has risen.
The newest medical spa in town, providing non-surgical and cosmetic treatments, is Chapter Aesthetic Studio. Opening its doors in April of 2022, the Grand Forks studio is one of 16 locations in the rapidly expanding brand. “What started as one studio in Fargo, ND, is now an exciting effort to make medical aesthetics accessible to everyone. We found prior to opening the Grand Forks studio, that several guests were traveling the hour to Fargo to visit the studio there, and we wanted to make aesthetics more accessible to those living in Grand Forks,” explains Melissa Rogne, founder and president of Chapter Aesthetic Studio. “When people think of medical aesthetics, they think of Los Angeles, Miami or New York City, and a certain look. That’s not what we’re doing here at Chapter Aesthetic Studio. We want women and men to have access to quality aesthetic treatments and to feel empowered to look and feel their best, no matter where they live. The company has aggressive expansion plans across the United States throughout 2023 and 2024, focusing on communities where medical aesthetics options are limited,” she continues.
For many, the idea of going to a medical spa can be a bit daunting. Even though the goal of these spas is to help people look and feel their best, the thought of a stranger analyzing our skin concerns and imperfections hits on a deeper level. Drawing attention to the things we feel self-conscious about can leave us feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable. Almost immediately after walking through the doors of Chapter Aesthetic Studio in Grand Forks, any feelings of apprehension or nervousness I had been feeling dissipated. The studio itself is bright and colorful. Rich jewel tones found in the furniture and accent décor contrast perfectly with the bright, clean white you’d expect to see in a spa. The staff greeted me warmly and completely put my mind at ease even as I wiped off my makeup and discussed my current skin care regimen, which is basic at best, and any concerns I had. Then, I was ready for the MAP assessment. MAP, which stands for My Aesthetic Plan, involves a high-tech piece of equipment that essentially takes photos of your face from multiple angles and shows what is deep under the surface to reveal your skin’s true health and appearance. Wrinkles, spots, pores, texture, porphyrins (bacteria in the pores), and UV spots are all measured during the MAP assessment. The MAP assessment is a complimentary service offered at Chapter and is highly encouraged as a starting point for new clients, it is also done periodically on existing clients to assess how effectively products and treatments are working. “The beauty of the MAP consultation is that we really get to take that time with our clients and ease any fears or anxiety they might have about their upcoming treatment,” explains Gretchen Peters, a nurse practitioner with Chapter and the managing clinical director at the Grand Forks location. If you’re anything like me, I cringed thinking about how my results would expose what years of foregoing sunblock, in favor of baby oil, did to my skin. But, as Gretchen explained to me, getting a realistic picture of an individual’s overall skin condition and health helps the team at Chapter not only identify any concerns, but also helps them develop a customized plan for their clients’ treatment or skin care.
One of Chapter’s aesthetic care specialists, Brittany Green, conducted my MAP assessment and reviewed the results in detail with me. Looking at 3D images of my 40-year-old face was fascinating. Areas of pigmentation caused by sun damage, breakouts, and age appeared darker in the images on the screen. Fine lines around my eyes and mouth appeared as squiggly lines in the next set of images. And, despite not becoming diligent with sunblock until sometime in my 30s, miraculously, my skin seemed to be in relatively good health. Based on the results of my MAP, Brittany was able to recommend products that would work well for my skin as well as other treatments to help my skin look its best.
Like many people, I have used ordinary skin care products most of my life. As I spoke with Gretchen, I asked if it was ever “too late” to get on the right path to better skin care, and fortunately, it’s not. The benefits of using professional skincare are that it’s developed to a better standard than drug store products, with higher concentrations of active ingredients leading to better results more quickly. “I really have seen big changes in skin with the pharmaceutical-grade products that we offer here at Chapter. When you think about buying a product over-the-counter, there is a chance that maybe you’re not buying the right product for your skin type or your skin concern, and that can lead to a lot of frustration,” Gretchen explains. “That’s why the MAP assessment is so crucial – we’re able to look at your skin, ask about your concerns, and really individualize your skin care plan just for what your skin needs,” she continues.
After discussing a new skincare routine with Gretchen and Brittany, and even trying some of Chapter’s skincare products on my face, it was time to head back to one of the private rooms for my SkinWave facial. The SkinWave facial is a combination of a classic hydrating and exfoliating treatment, but better. The SkinWave treatment infuses the skin with antioxidants, hydrates dry skin, helps to clear congested skin, and reduces redness and inflammation leaving your face smooth and bright. For around 45 minutes, Brittany treated my face with solutions and serums tailored to my individual needs. A variety of applicators were used on my face to deliver the topical solutions and remove impurities. My facial ended with a relaxing shoulder, arm, and hand massage as well as my personal favorite, a scalp massage. I’ve only had a handful of facials in my life, but this one definitely took the cake. I left the studio feeling relaxed, yet invigorated, and with my skin feeling softer and looking more radiant than ever before.
It's easy to roll our eyes at the endless stream of photos and posts tagged with #selfcare that fill our social media pages, but truthfully, it really is more than those photoshopped and filtered photos. Self-care might look different for everyone, but a little self-care goes a long way to help us feel better and more confident with the skin we’re in. And while we all have our insecurities, knowing there are professionals that can help us achieve our aesthetic goals, makes self-care something tangible, and more than just a hashtag.
Other Services Offered at Chapter Aesthetic Studio
• Dermal Fillers
• Exfoliating Peels
• Hair Restoration
• Hormone Replacement
• Kybella Non-Surgical Chin Fat Removal
• Laser Hair Removal
• Laser Skin Rejuvenation
• Laser Skin Tightening
• Laser Vein Removal
• Medical-grade Facials
• Medical-grade Skincare
• PDO Thread Lifts
• PRF Skin Rejuvenation
• RF Microneedling
• Vitamin Injections
701-505-8620 | 3300 32nd Ave S Suite 101
// To view the full story, check out the digital issue here
From Issue 1, 2023
PHOTOS BY: Manstrom Photography