Madeline Weinstein wasn’t always keen on getting Botox injections.
“I’ve had some not-so-great experiences with an injector who rushed, which resulted in bruising and they never communicated or asked what my skincare goals were," the Charleston woman said.
That’s when Weinstein turned to The Skin Clique, a concierge medical aesthetics practice founded in 2019 by Claire O’Bryan, a nurse practitioner, and Dr. Sarah Allen, a board-certified Internal Medicine physician.
“The Skin Clique takes the time to explain how injectables can help you and the amount of units you’ll need,” Weinstein said. “Claire has your best interest at heart and as a well-seasoned nurse practitioner, injector and skincare expert, I know I am in the best hands possible. She’s amazing."
O’Bryan, of Charleston and Allen, who practices in Murrells Inlet, met about a decade ago at the Medical University of South Carolina. Allen started her practice in 2018 and knew she had to make a change.
"It became very clear after a certain amount of time that we either needed to grow or stop, as most companies or medical practices do,” Allen said.
She grew up with O’Bryan’s husband, Ed, who is also a physician. The three talked about the convenience of providing the injection service in people’s homes, and Ed O’Bryan knew of a place where they could train providers from other areas.
“After I decided that this would be a joyful part of my practice, I thought, ‘Medicine is changing in its delivery. People expect a different level of service than they ever have and I think that is very apparent in the aesthetic medicine realm,’” Allen said. “I firmly believe that patients value accessibility and convenience and the easiest way to do that was for us to come to them in a safe way with board-certified experts and expert medical providers.”
“We have found that patients open up to us so much when we are in their safe place, and in a place where they feel comfortable and they’re not intimidated. That has been a real blessing for us.”
The female-owned, South Carolina-based business is the only of its kind to provide in-home Botox, dermal fillers, skincare and chemical peels.
The duo started with three injectors and only served South Carolina. The business has grown to more than 35 injectors, serving portions of the southeast, Tennessee and Washington state. Their plans include expanding into Michigan, New York, California and Illinois.
To recruit their medical professionals from other states, both highly selective partners speak with the prospects and then, if they make the cut, the professionals are invited to Charleston for training. Those who make it through the training, Allen said, have told them it was the best training they have received.
When COVID-19 hit earlier this year, naysayers of the go-to-the-client practice were changing their tune.
“What we found to be super interesting was when COVID first started, there were practices that had previously said they don’t agree with what we’re doing and then immediately started doing what we were doing, which was going to their patients,” O’Bryan said. “At the time, that was their only option, and we’d been doing that safely for two years at this point.”
That time also gave the two a chance to add skin care to their business plan, which started in June.
“That was something people were able to do in their homes,” O’Bryan said. “We kind of saw that explode.”
The company now offers four different types of medical-grade subscription boxes to tend to different needs: the essentials, an acne-fighting box, an anti-aging box and one for pregnant and nursing mothers. Each box includes medical-grade skin care products that are specifically chosen for the patient based on a consultation survey. The boxes come each quarter and the client has access to a medically licensed skin care specialist.
Kelsey Nichols, of Murrells Inlet, said she has tried several products The Skin Clique offers, and has received Botox and the derma-planning service. Nichols said now that she has tried the injections at home, she couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.
“The best thing about The Skin Clique is Dr. Allen and all of her providers,” Nichols said. “They are so knowledgeable, professional and understand exactly what women are looking for. We all want to age gracefully and they are here to help us.”
Allen and O’Bryan said going to a plastic surgeon’s office or a dermatologist can be very intimidating, especially if a person has not been to one before. With their service, and particularly now during a worldwide pandemic, the risk for exposure to any virus is much lower when one certified injector is coming to a person’s home and practicing proper sanitation.
“Going to a plastic surgeon or dermatology office really deters a lot of patients who feel like they’re too intimidated to do that,” O’Bryan said. “This really opens the door.
“Waiting rooms are going to be a thing of the past for a long, long time.”