Sandy Springs native and third generation physician, Jamie Weisman shares insight into perhaps our most visible and valued organ, the skin. As a dermatologist, she has appeared on NPR and written for Glamour and O, The Oprah Magazine.
“Patients can be very distressed by problems with their appearance, and we can’t compare them to patients with more serious concerns,” she said. “Their appearance is their concern at that moment. They may reflect back on it later and wonder why they were so worried. My job is to reassure and not judge.”
In terms of trends in the industry, Weisman said she doesn’t believe the practice of dermatology is tilting more towards cosmetics. “There have definitely been advances in laser treatment, fillers and toxins, and many dermatologists have embraced these procedures, but at the same time we’ve made huge advances in the treatment of severe skin disease,” she said.
“We are in the middle of an epidemic of skin cancer. I call the cosmetic part of my day ‘arts and crafts.’ I get to look at faces and see what I can do to restore a youthful appearance with fillers, toxins, chemical peels. Mostly I like to treat severe skin disease, which involves a lot of thinking and not as much doing. For me, it’s one thing to combat aging and another to combat illness.”
When asked about men and cosmetics, she explained, “We have to choose our treatments according to an individual’s face. Women should have arched eyebrows and a more heart shaped face with prominent cheekbones. Men should be more square-jawed with straight brows,” she said.
“Be careful with where toxins are placed to maintain natural contours. Some don’t like ‘parentheses’ – the lines from the sides of the base of your nose to the lateral lips. But if filler is just placed in these areas, a heavy lower face and square, ‘man-like’ jaw in a woman can be created. If filler is placed too high on the zygoma [cheekbone] to lift the lower face, you can feminize a man by giving him soft cheeks.”
As far as lasers are concerned, Weisman said they are best for skin texture, discoloration and redness. For more dramatic results with lasers, patients should expect some down time.
“To look natural, I counsel patients to ‘not let perfect be the enemy of good.’ You should try to look like your best self, not someone else, and try to look great for your age. A 70-year-old is not going to look 40, but you can look healthy and rested,” she said.
“Don’t chase every wrinkle. If you have a naturally round face, don’t try to have a skinny face. Build on your own best assets. You should trust your dermatologist if she says you’ve had enough done.”
Weisman stressed the importance of knowing when changes are unnecessary.
“I see more young people wanting treatment, and I generally discourage it.
That is the time when natural beauty is at its peak, and as the mother of teenage daughters, I want them to rejoice in what they see in the mirror. I would happily correct an abnormality in a 20-year-old, a torn ear lobe, acne scar, discoloration from rashes or acne, but I discourage anyone from trying to look like someone else. Young people want Kylie Jenner lips. I think they look ridiculous on her, and most young people are already beautiful and do not need distortion. They need sunscreen, exercise and self-respect.”
Here are her three keys to beautiful skin: Sun protection, a retinoid and great DNA (which we can’t control).
“The most effective retinoids are prescription and should be used properly to prevent dryness and irritation. They make you sensitive to the sun, but you should be using sunscreen anyway!
“As for so-called cosmeceuticals, there’s very little evidence that something you buy at the drugstore is any different from something for thousands. We all know women who used Pond’s, Vaseline or Oil of Olay and have incredible skin into their 90s. They had great genetics and avoided the sun. I do not push products on my patients. The science just isn’t behind those fancy creams, and if you really want them, it’s cheaper to buy them at lovelyskin.com than in a doctor’s office.
Save resources for what works: botulinum toxins [botox], lasers, peels and fillers.”
When it comes to beauty for the ages, Weisman concludes, “I went to Riverwood where I was a nerd, and not ‘popular.’ I see former classmates, cheerleaders, football stars and the nerds. I can definitively tell my teenage daughters that your place in the high school hierarchy does not matter at all later in life. We’re all friendly now, some of the prettiest ones are still pretty and some not. Some of the thin ones are fat, and some fat ones are thin, but the happy ones have found someone to love and something meaningful to do with their lives.” ■
Weisman’s practice is Medical Dermatology Specialists, 5730 Glenridge Drive, Atlanta, 404-939-9220.