What Is Drop-In Dermatology?

Let’s face it, as a society we are all busier than ever. With the average American reportedly working 47 hours a week (a 90-minute increase from 10 years ago), there’s not only more to do, but there’s also less time to do it. No wonder concepts like blow-dry bars (where you go for just a quick shampoo and blowout) are so popular. After all, when you’re putting in nearly 10-hour days, who has time to style their own hair?

But while the blow-dry bar concept is nothing short of a genius idea, a new concept based on the same principle (and financed by the people behind the No. 1 blow-dry bar chain in America) is coming to a city near you. The problem is, this one has the potential to be a very bad idea.

It’s called “the Drybar of Botox,” and it’s a strip-mall clinic where you can make an appointment or just walk in and get Botox or other injectables just like you might at a dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it does in theory, anyway. But strip-mall cosmetic surgery may not be as good an idea as it sounds – and here’s why.


While the people behind these new clinics assure clients that the staff are either nurses or physician assistants with years of direct experience, there is legally only one doctor required to be on the premises at any one time. So, if you have 10 physician assistants giving injections and two patients have medical emergencies at the same time or at an overlapping time, who does the doctor treat first? How does he or she decide who needs more assistance – and what happens if the doctor makes the wrong call or one situation turns life-threatening while he or she is tending to the other? In medical offices, these injections are given by a doctor, or at a very minimum, one patient at a time.


Along with staffing comes employee turnover. Due to the extended hours of operations like these, it could be rare to have the same staff on any given day or time. For some patients this may be fine, but for some patients with specific requirements or for those who feel more comfortable building up trust with their practitioner, this may not be an ideal setup.


While the images from the current clinics in California look spotless and pristine, these clinics also serve food and drinks out in the open, operating more like an upscale salon than a medical practice. While that sounds nice, would you really want a bunch of people standing around outside the door to your exam room, laughing and sipping wine while you’re being treated?

Sales Pressure

According to a recent article in Fast Company about the practice, sales people can show you what your expected results should be – but with one caveat. They want to upsell you, of course. So, while you may already know what you want or at least what you want to correct, their job is to sell you more services, whether you need them or not.

Ultimately, it is up to the patient to make the choice about whether to try one of these practices. However, it is Dr. Chau’s recommendation that you do so with caution. Don’t just read the reviews – check the board certification of the doctors on staff, and check their reviews as well. Furthermore, if this is your first time getting a particular injectable, we strongly caution you to schedule an appointment with an established plastic surgeon instead of attending a drop-in clinic or med spa.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Chau, please call 248-799-2880.