Why Dermatology Board Certifications Matter

Cosmetic procedures that physically change the structure and function of the skin or underlying structures are medical procedures. Unfortunately, New York is one of the most lenient states in the nation regarding treatment qualifications. A newly graduated nurse can give you a flu shot or a cosmetic injection in your face. Both procedures are considered “injections” within the scope of nursing by New York State, even though cosmetic injections require a depth of knowledge of facial anatomy that is deeper than what is taught in nursing school. Further, a high school drop out with no training can fire a laser in our state. In stark contrast, just a few miles away in the state of New Jersey, only physicians can operate lasers. Coupled with the rise of trendy New York botox and filler spas without physicians on-site, the New York patient thus becomes responsible for vetting the credentials of their providers.

Extensive Training and Certifications
“I founded the practice to provide the most effective, natural and safe results for our patients, to help them be the best version of themselves,” says Medical Director Dr. Anne Chapas. “As dermatologists, we’ve all attended more than 8 years of schooling, in the most competitive field specializations. Being Board-Certified means that every doctor also successfully completed at least 3 years of dedicated skin disease training at accredited dermatology residencies, studying cutaneous medicine, surgery, pathology and cosmetic procedures.

Only the top medical students in the country are admitted to dermatology residency programs so that credential alone is often a signifier of quality. After completing the residency, we must pass our boards, which are scientific exams that are often days-long, that assesses whether we have acquired the requisite knowledge to practice. We must be re-tested every 10 years to maintain our American Academy of Dermatology board certification status.”

Consultations for Better Personalized Care
“We mandate that all patients receive consultations so that we can examine and diagnose your condition before we provide treatment. There was a CBS story last week where a med spa recommended a woman have her ‘sun spot’ lasered,” says Dr. Jennifer MacGregor. “Thankfully she visited her dermatologist for a second opinion where it was diagnosed as a deep squamous cell carcinoma – skin cancer. Had she taken the spa technician’s advice, the results would have been life-threatening. This is unfortunately all too common in our line of work, as the cosmetic field continues to grow into unchartered territories.”


A Full Understanding of Risks and Complications
Dr. Robyn Gmyrek sees many correction cases from other ‘medical technicians’ who have been operating for years. “These are difficult cases; often people are disfigured or burned. Many of these correction-case patients are embarrassed to speak out or do not know how to seek legal recourse, so these technicians continue to operate on other patients.”

Our doctors have taken a stand with the #VerifyHealthcare campaign. “It’s fairly black and white to me,” said Dr. Shereene Idriss. “If you have to refer out to a doctor for the possible complications that can arise during your treatment, you are not qualified to treat. If you cannot draw the anatomy of the face, at every plane, from memory, you are not qualified to inject.”

Exceptional Cosmetic Technique
Aside from patient safety, the level of quality is important. A Board-Certified dermatologist needs to also be specialized in cosmetic procedures.

“Understanding your clinical endpoints can only follow proper assessment and diagnosis,” said Dr. Jennifer Chwalek. “There is no one-size-fits all treatment – no ‘straight forward’ injections or ‘point and shoot’ when it comes to lasers. We have been extensively trained to be able to correctly diagnose and treat less common conditions. Even the settings on a laser for each person are very nuanced and need to be changed appropriately for every person, or else there is risk of complications, at worst, or ineffective treatment, at best. I see patients who have paid for upwards of ten laser hair removal sessions at spas and have not seen noteworthy reduction in hair.”

Dr. Claire Chang agrees, “Every dosage, injection site, technique (fanning, cross-hatching, fern pattern, multi-puncture, bolus, just to name a few), laser setting and modality is individualized for every person. When you consult with a board-certified dermatologist with extensive cosmetic background, their expertise and experience will reflect through your results. You are investing in their years of medical training.”

Dr. Claire Chang often recommends Kybella for patients concerned with submental fullness.
Kybella™ is an FDA-approved injectable treatment for submental fullness (double chin) that can significantly improve chin contouring without the invasiveness and downtime of surgical options. The major factors in developing submental fullness seem to be genetics, natural aging or weight gain. Double chin can cause an older and heavier look.

“Kybella is a synthetic formulation of deoxycholic acid, which is a substance naturally synthesized by our body and used to break down and absorb dietary fat,” says Dr. Claire Chang. “Patients typically require between 1-3 treatment sessions spaced 1-2 months apart. This particular patient saw significant improvement after one session.”


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