by Nicolas Shammas
DERMATOLOGY USED TO BE ABOUT PIMPLES AND RASHES. HAS THIS CHANGED? WHAT ARE YOUR CLIENTS NOW LOOKING FOR?
At its essence, dermatology has been and will always be a branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatments of skin disorders. However, there is clearly growing interest in cosmetic dermatology and it is now a meaningful part of the field. After my formal medical training at Tufts, Harvard, and George Washington, I was fortunate to have been introduced to aesthetic dermatology by the pioneer herself, Dr. Patricia Wexler, who I credit with launching my career as a cosmetic dermatologist. Today, most of my patients come to me for facial restructuring and I am happy to help them along their journey. However, I never forget my medical roots and perform a full skin exam on all my new patients – as I always tell them, “you never know what is lurking underneath and I do not have x-ray vision”.
Just the other day, a 30-year-old mother of two came in because she felt her face looked worn out and she wanted to look like ‘herself’ again. After addressing her concerns, we did a skin exam, and I discovered a melanoma (a highly aggressive form of skin cancer) on her back! Vanity, in the right setting and under the guise of a board certified dermatologist, saved her life.
HOW DO YOU PROPOSE WE DEAL WITH AGING?
The truth is, every stage of life is a blessing, and I truly believe we are lucky if we get to experience them all. Rather than constantly thinking of it as a fight against the inevitable, I encourage my patients to embrace the concept of ‘restful aging’.
The best way to approach this is by doing small interventions on a regular basis: it’s what I call maintenance. I don’t promote drastically addressing everything at once, rather little procedures to keep my patients constantly looking and feeling their best. They key however, is leaving behind a little imperfection such a fine line here or there, because that’s what creates perfection.
FILLERS AND BOTOX ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE COMMON IN THE MIDDLE EAST, EVEN AMONG THE YOUNG. IS THIS THE SAME IN THE US?
It’s a global concern and a symptom of the social media age we live in. People are losing perspective, and, in the process, their perception of reality has become distorted. Under the wrong guidance, they run the risk of overdoing it and becoming caricatures of themselves. Good work should go unnoticed, and, you should trust the physician who says no and doesn’t just do what you ask for.
WHAT’S THE MOST COMMON MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE WHEN IT COMES TO SKINCARE?
Forgetting about the skin on their neck, chest and back of hands. I always tell my patients to consider the face, neck and chest as a single unit because nothing is more disconcerting than a youthful looking face on an aged neck and chest. Additionally, no matter how well maintained, the hands are always a dead give away due to years of being out and about.
WHAT’S THE MOST EFFECTIVE ANTI-AGING PRODUCT?
Retinol. It has been scientifically proven time and time again to increase collagen production and improve the quality of your skin. Plus, it’s affordable.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR TAILORED HI-TECH TREATMENTS?
Lately, I have been combining highly focused ultrasound energy heat to remodel and tighten deeper tissues, while superficially addressing textural changes using a dual approach of an erbium laser in conjunction with skin boosters that I derive from my patients’ own blood! The results have been incredible.