I can’t tell you how many times people have belittled me for working in aesthetics. From “Don’t you only help with boob jobs?” to “Is that what you are using your degrees for?”
First off, let me clarify: aesthetics does not equal plastic surgery. Secondly, absolutely yes, I am using my degrees, don’t you want a highly trained competent practitioner sticking needles in your face or body? Your aesthetic evaluation includes a multitude of things, including your diet, water consumption, sun exposure, and genetics. I’ve caught so many skin cancers, so even if you don’t get to a dermatologist, I got you.
I balance myself between integrative medicine and aesthetics/ anti-aging medicine and let me tell you why. For one, aesthetics is the perfect combination of art and medicine, it activates both the left (logical) and right (creative) sides of brain. A skilled aesthetic practitioner should have a solid foundation of knowledge regarding anatomy and physiology, safety, and products all in combination with excellent communication skills paired with the artistic eye. For two, aesthetics can satisfy an aspect of health that can’t always be achieved with internal medicine, a feeling of confidence and beauty.
One day I was sitting with one of my patients whose been fighting Lyme disease, hypothyroidism, insomnia, chronic pain, and depression. We started the visit with our usual, “how are you feeling today?” She looked at me with sad eyes,
“I don’t want to fight this anymore. I’m tired of battling with fatigue, brain fog, and pain.” My heart hurt for her. I’ve seen her struggle for years. Right before we concluded the visit I asked her if there was anything else I could do for her today. She jokingly said, “can you make me look better than I feel? My birthday is next week and everyone thinks I’ll be turning 50 when really, I’ll be 40, my health has really taken a toll on me.” At the time, I wasn’t sharing with my internal medicine patients the fact that I had a side gig working in aesthetics, but I asked her if she wanted to be my model for a training I was attending that weekend. “Me? A model? Will they let me in?” was her response. I said, “you are beautiful, let me help you feel like you are” and we agreed she would let me try out new techniques in aesthetics on her.
Flash forward to 2 weeks after her birthday at her next follow up appointment. “How are you feeling today?” Big smile and bright eyes she says, “I feel so much better! I slept better, my pain is less, and I have more energy, I even got a date!!! People told me that I looked great at my birthday party!”
This is why I love aesthetics. It fills the void where medicine can’t always reach, and continues to emphasize how health is more than just the absence of disease. Health encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. Even though I didn’t directly treat her organic illness, addressing her mental health and her appearance improved her pain, sleeping problems, energy, and outlook. Sometimes the simplest things can make the biggest difference.