In her twenties, Mona Sappenfield developed an interest in aesthetics. Then a flight attendant for Braniff Airlines, Sappenfield and her co-workers would get pampered on overseas trips: “The crews would get different types of beauty treatments for relaxation. In London, we’d all get facials. If we were in the Orient, we’d all get a massage,” she says. But she began to see something that sparked her curiosity.
“I noticed that there was quite a bit of change in the skin of some women — our senior flight attendants,” she says. “There was this growing industrialization of people being so mobile, and the oxidation [resulting from] travel and busy lifestyles was accelerating the aging process. I was seeing so much difference in the women I was working with compared to my mother and my aunts and what they looked like, so I started studying and embracing different cultural ideas of what beauty was. I really wanted to be involved in that industry.”
Sappenfield left her job with the airline to study at the Jean-Pierre Fleurimon Institute in Paris and later in New York at The Lancôme Institute. Today, she sits on the Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners (a governor-appointed position), is an internationally certified CIDESCO diplomate (a prestigious qualification for aesthetics and beauty therapy), and her company, Mona Esthetics, has been a leader in age-defying skincare and beauty treatments in Memphis for more than 25 years.
Over the years, Sappenfield has watched the industry change and grow. “Our technologies have changed a great deal,” she says. “We always want to embrace that soft side of aesthetics, where people can come and get facials, but those facials have changed, and we’re now working with light devices, laser devices, ultrasound devices — sophisticated technology and formulations of ingredients.”
Many elements in our environment and in the food we eat, in addition to everyday stresses, create toxicities in skin tissue and in the body. “Since the skin is the largest organ of the body, it does need to have some kind of new moisture, energy, and nutrients introduced professionally to keep it young and healthy,” Sappenfield says. The treatments offered at Mona do just that.
To assist in detoxifying, Mona offers a variety of spa facial treatments that use the June Jacobs Spa Collection, a line of luxury products made using high-quality, natural ingredients. Its formulas do not include parabens, preservatives, synthetic dyes, or sulfates and are mostly petrochemical- and fragrance-free.
Mona’s aestheticians are licensed and certified to perform time-tested massages, as well as a relaxing, skin-lifting Jin Shin Do massage that Sappenfield learned during her early training.
Mona’s facial options are designed around the “core” Deep Pore Cleansing-Detox Facial, a traditional European facial that incorporates multi-tasking herbal and plant extracts to efficiently clean pores, detoxify skin tissue, and add moisture, energy, and nourishment to the skin, giving the face a wonderful glow.
The Signature Copper Lift Facial enhances the Deep Pore Facial, incorporating an enzyme or peel prep mask, peptides, an eyebrow clean-up, and a moisture, energy, and nourishment treatment for the hands and arms. Sappenfield added the Stem Cell Facial to the lineup last year to introduce Stemulation Luxury Skin Care. “It’s a skin-tightening ‘red carpet’ treatment that infuses growth factors and peptides using stem cell technology,” she says.
To gently smooth facial skin, Mona offers Microdermabrasion Plus. “This is our third generation of mechanical skin-exfoliation technology. It sweeps away dull surface skin cells with an oxygenated tip,” Sappenfield says. “The ‘Plus’ is red, yellow, or blue LED lights applied simultaneously with cool oxygen.”
What does the application of LED do? Sappenfield explains that, depending on the condition you’re looking to treat, an aesthetician would select either a red, blue, or yellow light. “A blue light would be selected if someone had bruising or post-inflammatory acne scarring,” she says. “We’ll also sometimes use our blue light techniques on clients if they’ve had our Ulthera Treatment [a non-invasive ultrasound treatment used to lift the skin on the neck, chin, and brow] or injections because the blue light can take away any bruising much faster.”
Aestheticians may use a red LED light on someone who suffers with allergies and red, dry skin. “Microdermabrasion would slough off all the powdery skin cells, and then we clean up the skin with enzymes,” Sappenfield says. “The skin may be a bit itchy or irritated after microdermabrasion, but the red light would calm that down quite a bit. Our rosacea clients use this, and vascular eruptions can be treated with red light as well.”
Yellow LED lights are used to treat the “rusting” that tends to happen with aging. “The face may get darker, but it’s not actually a UV tan — it’s just from poor quality oxygenation going on in the skin,” she says. “So we use antioxidant ingredients with the yellow light, and it helps penetrate and excite the skin cells because it clears out the toxins a lot faster.”
To treat red or purple facial spider veins, red dots (cherry hemangiomas), and red discoloration from scarring on the face, Mona offers the Laser Excel Vein treatment. The laser delivery setting is based on the color of your skin, and the application involves a three-millimeter spot laser beam.
“The color in the blood will actually absorb that light, and a lot of the tiny veins will just evaporate right there in front of you,” says Sappenfield. “The ones that respond to the laser treatment are gone, they never come back, but because you’re predisposed to having them — maybe because of a genetic predisposition or maybe you’ve had too much sun — others can come. The more clearing you have, the less will come, so we treat one or two times for a good clearing, and then you might pop in seasonally or annually and have a few more picked off that come later.”
Mona also offers an ultrasound “fat-melting” treatment — UltraShape — for those who want to shed a few inches without surgery. “The acoustical ultrasound is focal targeted by an adjustment that the technician makes with a camera,” Sappenfield says. “Because it’s only targeted for fat, it destroys and kills the fat cells, but it does not interfere with blood vessels or any other tissue.” Other similar systems have shown to destroy surrounding tissues, causing bruising and swelling.
Sappenfield says to be best-suited for the UltraShape treatment, a client will need a high-functioning liver to help process out the dead fat cells. “We coach our customer that a healthier liver and a healthier lifestyle is going to get that fat through the system a lot faster,” she says. “We treat every two weeks for three treatments. And for that period of time we suggest drinking lots of water and keeping the liver clear, meaning not a lot of alcohol and things that can make the liver slow down. If we get someone with a high-performance liver and people who are exercising, we can really contour their body. And in those three treatments, they can lose two inches, but we’ve seen people lose a lot more.”
Sappenfield has a passion for offering age-defying treatments using natural products and industry-leading technology. Mona has pioneered the aesthetician’s practice and use of facial treatments, laser, and ultrasound technology for a healthy approach to defying the skin’s aging process. Today’s clinic incorporates aesthetic injections with registered nurses and a medical administrator, Amy Funderburk-Mock, M.D.