Welcome to Office Hours, a new feature where we go one-on-one with our founder, Antony Nakhla, D.O., F.A.A.D., F.A.O.C.D., a dermatologist and one of the country’s leading experts in skin cancer treatment, Mohs micrographic surgery, facial reconstruction and wound healing.
Today we’re talking to Dr. Nakhla about a surprise takeaway from this past year’s pandemic lockdown, which he has termed 2020’s cosmetic “makeunder.” What has months without Botox and filler meant for people all across the country—and their skin? Below, the doctor is in.
Q: You have always had a less-is-more approach to beauty and a philosophy that nothing looks as good as healthy, bare skin. What difference has the lockdown’s unintentional cosmetic “makeunder”—during which everyone’s injectables gradually wore off—made for your patients?
Some people are looking better post-pandemic—really! I’ve been getting patients to concentrate on great skin care routine, as opposed to just chasing down lines with in-office procedures, which so many were focused on before. When I see them now, it might be time for a touch-up, but overall we’re going to do much less. Patients who were insistent before on erasing every wrinkle are now realizing the beauty in returning to their true self and focusing on healthy skin. As a result of fasting, cosmetically, many have had an aha moment. They’re wearing less makeup, and growing out their roots, too. Just by eliminating some of those layers, they look younger and fresher, and they’re noticing the difference.
Q: How do you convince people who have become used to a certain amount of “work” that they may actually look better—softer, more natural—with less cosmetic intervention?
I understand that people want to minimize deep, etched lines, but my advice has always been: Don’t go crazy chasing down one wrinkle, or filling the cheeks and temples to the point where it no longer looks natural. Some injectors are so hell-bent on achieving symmetry, but a natural face is not perfectly symmetrical. The natural curvatures and subtleties are what we want to preserve and that can be lost when people do too much.
Q: Certainly no one wants to “chase lines” or to end up with an over-filled face and a frozen forehead, but no one wants to look older than they are, either. What’s your advice for authentically looking the absolute best we can, no matter our age?
Getting rid of every wrinkle is an old approach to aesthetics. We’re looking beyond that now, considering the beauty of bare, healthy skin, no matter the imperfections. What I’m trying to convey to my patients is: We can still address your lines, but we need to turn the dial way down on the dosage and frequency—how much and how often.
There are a lot of things this pandemic has taught us about our ongoing obsession with trying to fix this, change that. I try to show my patients that it is possible to accept their age, and also look incredible. That comes from really beautiful skin, which is healthy looking skin.
Q: What should the new beauty goal be?
The goal is healthy skin and a healthy approach to aging. The goal is skin that’s even in color and texture, plump and dewy.
Q: You believe that high-quality, high-potency skin care used consistently makes all the difference. What can we truly expect skin care to deliver, besides moisture?
A carefully constructed daily regimen of the right topical products can cause measurable changes within the skin, affecting texture, tone, and fine lines—for sure. The right ingredients can improve pore size, minimize discoloration and even tone, and help resurface and rejuvenate.
Achieving tangible results with skin care is less about immediate satisfaction and more about routine and commitment. The goal is to improve the health and the quality of your skin so you can do less of the in-office procedures. You’ll end up looking more natural.