Your Health

About face: Former model-turned-esthetician aims to make others look, feel younger

When cystic acne wreaked havoc on his self-esteem – not to mention his skin – Richard Haxton didn’t run and hide. He hit the books and studied.

Haxton, a Los Altos-based medical esthetician, said the embarrassment he felt as a former model with “very severe” disfiguring and discoloring acne in his late teens and early 20s led him to seek advice and various treatments – none of which appeared ideal. He said his self-esteem hit an all-time low when he found himself waiting until 3 a.m. to venture out to shop for groceries one day.

“I was exhausting thousands of dollars on facials and other treatments … and I found the problem was made worse by people in the industry who were advising me,” said Haxton, owner of Transformational Skin Solutions at 1000 Fremont Ave., Suite 160. “At one point, I was actually considering plastic surgery and was quoted $50,000 for the work.”

Instead, he began studying dermatology, herbology, vitamin therapy, cosmetic chemistry, endermologie and several other disciplines to become a certified medical esthetician. Haxton then developed his own practice that offers a host of nonsurgical services, such as LED rejuvenation treatments, customized chemical peels and microdermabrasion facials, among other things.

In addition, Haxton said he pioneered a proprietary method of facial sculpting – a method that includes manipulation of the lymphatic system – to “retain firmness” of the skin. The self-developed method, which also incorporates a form of microdermabrasion and elements of other disciplines, is often referred to as a nonsurgical face-lift, he noted.

“I’ve had many clients with deposits paid for face-lifts who come and try out what I do,” he said. “Look, if I’m a plastic surgeon and I have a bad day when you come in, it can dramatically change your quality of life.”

Haxton moved his business from San Francisco to Los Altos nearly a year ago and said his new city is an ideal location for his clients – some of whom travel from other parts of the state for his services.

“I found that Los Altos, location-wise, has everything that allows me to address people’s needs,” he said. “It’s a location that’s close enough for people to come down from San Francisco. My office is in a private location, and that seems to work for people.”

And while women constitute a large portion of his customer base, Haxton said it’s fairly common for men to walk through his doors as well. Regardless of gender or age, he added, his customers are all essentially seeking the same thing – a little help in looking younger.

“You would be surprised how many men come to me – coaches from the football team, doctors, police officers, firefighters,” he said. “My office is very different from a spa, where it smells good and feels good. … People who know me know that I want my clients to feel good, but I want them to see results, too.”

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