Dr. Margaret Merrifield took out a $100,000 loan at age 64 to help pay for state-of-the-art machines to help patients deal with skin aging concerns.
The Richland integrated medical doctor decided to diversify her practice to help pay for quality illustrators needed for the children’s storybooks she’s writing.
The Dr. Merrifield Clinic and Esthetics in Richland aims to help patients achieve optimal health, she said. The esthetics portion of the practice was recently launched as part of her clinic.
Merrifield founded her Richland practice in 1997 and has many loyal patients from around the world.
She has worked in the field of medicine for 34 years. She started in conventional medicine, including several years in the emergency room and as director of a major collegiate wellness center.
She said she chose to expand into integrated medicine because she needed more tools to treat her patients.
“I’ve included and integrated the best of modern medicine with well-established modalities,” Merrifield said.
Integrated medical physicians take a whole-person approach to prevention and treatment.
Offering skin tightening, wrinkle reduction and body contouring with "three in one" facials adds another layer to the practice's whole-person approach to patients, she said.
“People don’t really want to go to the doctor, but they like esthetics,” she said.
Her new facial machines include a Legend+ device for wrinkle reduction, skin tightening and body sculpting. The OxyGeneo facial machine exfoliates, infuses nutrients and brightens the skin. Both are manufactured by esthetic medical device company, Pollogen, a subsidiary company of Lumenis.
So why would a self-proclaimed granola mom expand into the multi-billion-dollar esthetic medicine industry?
“Skin is how we present ourselves,” she said. “It’s the icing on the cake — the result of everything we do.”
The OxyGeneo cleans skin and stimulates the body’s natural processes during a 25-minute facial to rejuvenate skin, providing improved complexion, brightening, tightening, plumping and hydrating effects, noticeable after one session, Merrifield said.
Patients can choose between two formulas for anti-aging, and skin lightening and nourishment.
The facial begins with the application of one of these treatments, followed by a gentle yet deep exfoliation using Pollogen’s proprietary formula. As the skin is cleared of dead skin cells and other impurities, the formulas react, oxygenating the skin and leading to increased blood flow to the treatment area.
Increased metabolic effects enable more enhanced absorption, using ultrasound, of the formulas’ active ingredients, giving way to skin improvements, Merrifield said.
The process offers patients a minimally invasive, virtually pain-free option for eliminating stubborn fat deposits, fine lines and wrinkles, as well as skin resurfacing, plumping and tightening—all with no down-time.
"The Legend+ technology for esthetics is truly on the cutting edge,” Merrifield said.
The device offers treatments which feature a short microneedle approach combined with radiofrequency for skin tightening, volumizing, skin resurfacing, wrinkle and fine line reduction—without bleeding, pain and recovery time common with traditional microneedling and lasers, Merrifield said. She said the procedures are effective on all skin tones and types. There are only a few of these Legend+machines in state and the only one in the Tri-Cities, she said.
The machine offers patients a virtually pain-free option for reducing stubborn fat deposits with skin tightening with no down time, she said.
Pollogen recommends six treatments administered every one to two weeks over a six- to 12-week period for results that can last for up to two years, depending on age and the condition of the skin. Individualized maintenance treatments following the initial course can maintain skin improvements longer, according to the company.
A patient of Dr. Merrifield’s for over a decade, Patti Ammonet of Richland, a sexagenarian, said she has tried just about every anti-aging procedure available in the Columbia Basin and surrounding area short of plastic surgery.
Ammonet was the first to try Merrifield’s treatments and she’s a fan.
She also said the Legend+ can be used to eliminate stubborn fat deposits, as she’s had success with this treatment.
Unlike other treatments Ammonet has tried, such as filler injections, Botox, intense pulsed light and other laser-based therapies, she described her Legend+ experience as virtually painless. The body sculpting had a “soothing feeling” of circular motions over an area with a radio-frequency wand.
Merrifield said the technology uses heat rather than freezing to “melt away” fat deposits, monitoring the skin temperature via thermoscan to ensure they stay between 107 degrees and 111 degrees.
“Some people describe the experience as similar to getting a hot stone massage,” Merrifield said.
Merrifield said the method stimulates collagen and elastin production, while helping to break up fat deposits, which is then naturally eliminated by the body’s lymphatic system — a major player in circulatory and immune function. After the treatment she will have clients stand on a "vibration" machine to help stimulate the lymphatic drainage.
Merrifield also hired master esthetician Mary Johnson to help administer the new treatments.
Merrifield and her team are in the process of developing package deals for treatments. Individual session costs are $150 for an OxyGeneo session, and about $220 to $450 each for Legend+ treatments, depending on the size of area treated.
“Our intention is to offer cost-effective, time-efficient treatments with optimal outcomes,” Merrifield said.
But let’s return to the reason Merrifield launched these treatments in the first place — the books.
“What we’re trying to do is help change culture through young people, families and teachers,” she said.
Her series of 10 educational children’s storybooks will be funded through profits from the new esthetic services. They explore topics such as bullying, cancer, diabetes, abuse, intergenerational love, community activism and discrimination.
The books provide tools and resources to help children and their families navigate difficult topics, in an accessible way, Merrifield said.
Merrifield, who has chosen to self-publish them, said the artwork in the books will be done by acclaimed Canadian illustrators, Alan and Lea Daniel.
Her earlier books, “Come Sit By Me" and "Morning Light,” soon will be translated into multiple languages and offered free in the public domain, with the hope that more people will be reached, she said. They were two of the first books for children, families and teachers on the pandemic HIV/AIDS.
The first books in the new series are anti-bullying books. "I Act like a Bully" and an autobiographical story, "Bea's Fleas," both demonstrate the effect one small act of kindness can have on a person’s life.
Dr. Merrifield Clinic and Esthetics: drmerrifield.com; 509-628-3060.
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!