Headline: How sweet it is: The Sugar Spa comes to town

The Sugar Spa in La Jolla is pioneering new ways for men and women in La Jolla to cleanse, beautify and protect their skin with the latest, cutting-edge advances in the industry.

Services at the new spa at 3251 Holiday Court, Suite 203 even go so far as to include professional teeth whitening.

Friends since they were teens, spa co-owners Anne Futterer and Suzanne Lockyer have pooled their talents and resources to open a new hybrid facility that could transform the industry.

"We thought something was lacking in spas," said Lockyer. "Usually, spas are more medical and very doctoral procedural, or are day spas that are more like relaxation."

"We sort of wanted to bring those two together," said Futterer, "a medical and a day spa."

Futterer and Lockyer are marketing their new deluxe spa as using professional, results-based procedures while adding a touch of sweetness. Hence the spa's name.

Lockyer formerly worked with Pfizer in the pharmaceutical industry. Fetterer owns another business, Hollywood Smiles, a teeth-whitening procedure that she sells to spas and related facilities. For them, working as a team has been a winning combination. "We each have brought a piece of the pie as entrepreneurs," said Lockyer, "my love for science, and her love for innovation, this melding of the two."

The Sugar Spa offers a plethora of medical skin care and laser services including an array of facials, microdermabrasion and laser removal of hair, surface veins, age spots and sun damage. The spa also offers a wide assortment of chemical peels, Botox and Restylane anti-wrinkle treatments that help restore volume and fullness to the skin, as well as providing waxing and permanent makeup.

Most procedures are performed in an hour or two in a treatment room. Some procedures need to be performed periodically for maximum effect.

Futterer and Lockyer have been in business in San Diego together for about two years. They moved their operations to La Jolla in December 2006. Lockyer said it was a wise move. "La Jolla is just a mecca for appearance and beauty and taking care of yourself," she pointed out.

Futterer said they chose to set up shop off Via La Jolla Drive because of its prominent location. "There's a lot of competition in downtown La Jolla," she said. "We're right off Interstate 5 here, so it's pretty convenient. We also chose this location so we can bring in clients in Del Mar and Carmel Valley."

Education is integral to the services which The Sugar Spa provides its clients. Said Futterer: "We very much pride ourselves on making sure clients get consulted and everything's explained and they understand the different procedures and treatments, then let them choose for themselves. You have to explain to people how your skin works."

Lockyer noted skin is the largest organ on the human body and the least understood. It's therefore crucial to pass along the latest developments in skin research. "It's amazing to be able to do research for our clients so they don't have to sort through the masses of what's out there, find the best products and the best treatments available," she said.

How to prevent damage to skin caused by exposure to sun is perhaps the most important issue Futterer and Lockyer counsel their clients on. "We all come from a generation of sun worshippers," said Lockyer, "and now we're paying the price. When we go to a spa to take care of our skin, it's important to get a product that works."

Futterer said The Sugar Spa carries Obagi Skin Care, a product line featuring the latest in sun block protection. "We treat the damage but it's also prevention of further damage," she said, "trying to get people in here when they're younger so they can understand that even UV light in a room can damage your skin. Sunscreen is one of the most important things to do."

Lockyer said most over-the-counter sunblocks only offer partial skin protection. "UVB means burn," she said, "and UVA means aging. Most over-the-counter products protect you from UVB, but it's the UVA rays that really are what's damaging your skin and aging you. So you have to have a sunblock that covers both."

One of the most popular procedures done at The Sugar Spa is microdermabrasion, which uses a stream of fine crystals delivered across the skin's surface to remove damaged cells and reveal fresh, invigorated skin. A machine with suction is used at the spa to exfoliate a client's skin. Laser hair removal is another popular procedure done at the spa. Permanent makeup is another procedure routinely done at the spa, which also gets referrals from reconstructive plastic surgeons in the area to work with female patients who've had mastectomies from breast cancer.

Cosmetic surgery can be delayed, or even avoided, via spa treatments like the ones offered at The Sugar Spa. "It's to prevent you, down the road, from having to see a plastic surgeon," said Lockyer. "We can fix the damage, as much as possible, before you have to take that step."

The Sugar Spa has grown from three to seven employees, and presently serves about 500 clients.

A grand opening celebration will be held at The Sugar Spa Friday, March 9 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Hours at The Sugar Spa are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information call (858) 784-0000.

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