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SkinSpirit Arrives in Burlingame

By Christine DelSol

SkinSpirit co-founder Lynn Heublein at her Woodside home.

You might think the field Lynn Heublein chose after she burned out on Silicon Valley is about as far as you can get from technology. Think again: Though her sunny, fresh-faced good looks are a terrific advertisement for the SkinSpirit clinics she co-founded, her experience in the tech industry plays a significant role in the company’s success.

With an engineering degree and a Stanford MBA, the Woodside resident made her mark in Silicon Valley developing startups, primarily in gaming technology. An entrepreneur to the core, she thrived on the intellectual challenge, the stimulus, the partnership with brilliant people. But eventually, she says, “it just didn’t work for me.I don’t do well with 9-to-5, and I definitely don’t do well with 7-to-7. I wanted to work on something I was more interested in — I was never working on something I just had to have in my life.”

She extended one of the industry’s customary breaks between launches to a year, assuming she’d go back and take on another startup. Then the cosmetic surgeon she’d been seeing in Palo Alto for microdermabrasion, Dr. Michael Dean Vistnes, told her about his idea for a new type of spa-like clinic that would offer noninvasive, science-based skin and body treatments, supervised by medical personnel.

“I thought about it for awhile, then I just fell in love with it,” Heublein says. The two formed an LLC in 2001 and debuted SkinSpirit in Palo Alto in 2003. They will open their 10th location in downtown Burlingame in mid-May. In the meantime, SkinSpirit clinics opened in Los Gatos, Mill Valley, San Francisco and Walnut Creek; three also opened in Washington (Heublein hails from Seattle). The ninth location — San Francisco’s second— bowed in April in Noe Valley.

The interior of the Noe Valley location, which just opened in April, is similar to the forthcoming Burlingame clinic.

SkinSpirit is now testing Emsculpt — not to be confused with CoolSculpting, which freezes fat cells — a new treatment that sends electronic impulses to stimulate muscle contractions in the abdomen and gluteus. These are the same contractions you’d get with sit-ups, squats or crunches — if you could do 20,000 reps in a half hour. The big idea: Fat reduction and muscle tone occur in a fraction of the time it would take to achieve through exercise, while bypassing the sweat and soreness.

Heublein’s tech background is perhaps most evident in her excitement over the robust research and development going into aesthetic skin and body care. PRP and Emsculpt are both FDA-approved, and both prompt the body to make its own improvements without drugs or surgery. As Heublein and Vistnes foresaw, people are increasingly choosing less invasive ways to enhance their skin and bodies.

New season, new openings: A downtown Burlingame clinic (1375 Burlingame Ave.) bows later this month. In April, a second San Francisco outpost opened in Noe Valley (3939 24th St.). Hours for both: Tues.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri., 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed on Mondays.

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