Finally, A Beauty Club We All Want To Join

Now that our middle-school days are far behind us, it's rare to find us clamoring to join a club unless it's an artisan-cheese-of-the-month club, obviously). But, now that we've had the opportunity to experience Blush Med Institute in Bethesda, a spa-club membership sounds like the most amazing idea, ever.
Founded by Dr. Arleen K. Lamba, Blush is a one-stop beauty destination that offers personalized treatments for everything from adult-onset acne and hyperpigmentation to cellulite, hair loss, and spider veins. Using medical-grade products and procedures elevates Blush above your neighborhood facial spot, but the hyper-customized experience is what keeps clients coming back. Bonus? If you have dermatological issues that need long-term management — or just want to make skin care a priority — you can sign up for a year-long membership, which costs $59 a month and includes a monthly treatment, along with other perks. The reasonably priced membership plan makes professional skin-care services attainable and affordable, which is Lamba's ultimate goal.
On our visit, we sat down with Lamba for a one-on-one skin consultation, where we enjoyed the singular thrill (if that's the right word?) of having our skin scanned with a blacklight-type device, which showed patches of dryness and sun damage like a heat map. (Hello, daily SPF and massive water bottle!) Each client starts with this experience, which allows Lamba to customize treatments, as well as the take-home products from the spa's in-house line. Think of Blush as a luxury spa with treatments that are next-level effective — at a totally worth-it price. Ahead, get to know Lamba, and take a tour of the spa. We think you'll be equally psyched about joining the club.
1 of 7
Photo: Courtesy of Blush Med Spa/Naiffer Photography.
What's the biggest skin issue you're seeing with women in their 20s and 30s?
"Adult-onset acne. I don't like to use the word 'acne' because it boxes you in. It comes back to me on a personal level — when someone told me I had acne in my 20s, I was shocked. But, adult-onset breakouts and scarring — those are the biggest issues people are facing.

"We always have some sort of stress in our lives these days. We're always working, always on our phones — and that stress is going to manifest itself in the skin, the body's biggest organ. There is no one cure that works for everyone, but if you keep up with a regimen and someone is following through with you, it will get better."
2 of 7
Photo: Courtesy of Blush Med Spa/Naiffer Photography.
Explain the bSkin monthly membership system. Do members pay all at once for the year, or is it billed monthly? Is the rate higher if you go month to month?
"The membership program is a huge hit for us. We launched it a year ago, but in the last six months, it's been a tremendous [success] because it resonates with what people can afford and what they're looking to do. For $59 a month, they get a core treatment [a facial, chemical peel, microdermabrasion, massage, light therapy, or spray tan].

"If a person can actually do [a treatment] once a month, their skin reacts better. It's a combination of maintenance and keeping bad things, like acne, breakouts, etc., at bay. Medical-grade treatments are usually extremely expensive; a person might get a treatment once every eight months, and it wouldn't do anything. Having a membership plan allows people to become partners in their care, and allows them access to treatments they've never had at a reasonable price.

"The one-year membership is $59 a month, and it's billed automatically to a credit card. If you can't make it in for a treatment one month, the credit rolls over. The other option is a non-one-year membership; that's $69 per month, and it's an option for someone who's maybe only in D.C. for a few months."
3 of 7
Photo: Courtesy of Blush Med Spa/Naiffer Photography.
What's the best thing we can do, in our 20s and 30s, to have better skin later?
"The best anti-aging weapon you can use is a sunscreen that is UVA/UVB protective. Sun damage is happening every day, and it takes a long time to reverse it. So, why not use something to minimize it? Sun damage will cause you to lose collagen; it will make you look more tired. Think of your skin as a fresh piece of fruit — imagine a beautiful apple sitting out in the sun. With the sun beating on it every day, it will start to show. Apply an SPF 40 to 50 every day; it will do so much for you and make you look more youthful. It's for every skin type — I can't even stress it enough."
4 of 7
Photo: Courtesy of Blush Med Spa/Naiffer Photography.
What are the most popular treatments at Blush so far?
"A mixed treatment called a micro-peel — microdermabrasion and chemical peel. Because we're a medical-grade [facility], we can make the microdermabrasion range from a polish to a more intensive treatment for skin that's pitted from acne. For the peel, we determine the intensity based on what your skin needs that month, and that's followed by an aloe mask."

Having tried it, we can confidently say that the micro-peel is the bomb.
5 of 7
Photo: Courtesy of Blush Med Spa/Naiffer Photography.
What are you most proud of when it comes to what you're doing with Blush?
"I consider myself very much part of the masses. I wanted to bring a certain type of lifestyle to [people who haven't had access to it]. I want the average person — a college student, a mom — to be able to afford great skin care. I want to be able to help these individuals and give them an amazing treatment, not skimping on anything, at an affordable price.

"I want people to feel like they're getting a treatment at a five-star spa. When I had my own skin problems, I couldn't afford a lot of treatments. I was always hoping some facial would do it, some treatment would do it. I was just going from place to place, and no one took charge of my care. I see myself in those people. At Blush, we've created a portal for people that wasn't there before."

Blush's in-house product line, Blush Blends, comprises standard and custom-blended creams, serums, cleansers, and lotions.
6 of 7
Photo: Courtesy of Blush Med Spa/Naiffer Photography.
Do you have any favorite drugstore products that you recommend for winter skin issues?
"Simple is a really good brand, really natural. I really like the makeup remover. Even though I don't wear much makeup, I still want to take the day off before I go to bed. I keep the pre-moistened towelettes on my nightstand and use them before I put on my serum, so I feel really clean before I go to bed.

"I'm a big believer in natural products. The more chemicals we put in products, the worse they are for our skin. Always reevaluate your products every six months, because your skin is totally different in the summer versus the winter. That's why the boosters [we add to Blush Blends products] are so important."
7 of 7
Photo: Courtesy of Blush Med Spa/Naiffer Photography.
Any plans for future Blush locations?
"We have a team that's scouting in Northern Virginia right now, since a lot of our traffic comes from there and from D.C. I really want to bring the concept to our clientele there."

At Blush, light therapy is used to treat everything from hair loss and scalp issues to rosacea and wrinkles.