Many people have asked me at one point or another to explain why I do Integrative and Aesthetic medicine. The answer is quite simple....aesthetics introduces a lot of toxins into the body which are root cause for a lot of autoimmune illness that young women suffer. Getting involved in that process allows me to open a conversation with women about being mindful of what they put on their skin/hair and nails and why it matters. I have been involved in alternative medicine since i went into practice almost 20 years ago and back then, knew nothing about functional medicine. I had patients who would come to me with various vague symptoms which I couldn't explain or understand. I worked with my patients, stayed OPEN to their ideas, and I realized after hearing their stories of 'functional medicine' successes, that something out there was working for these patients when I couldn't help them.
About 10 years ago, I noticed a major uptick in young infertile couples coming into my regular medical practice. Women in their mid-20s were struggling with infertility. I was seeing many more PCOS patients than made sense, and endometriosis was on a major uptick. Along the same lines, most young women sitting in my office, looked like they were 'extras' on a theatre show, with thick makeup courtesy of a 'family of female reality TV entertainers' who had popularized putting make-up on so thickly, that it looked like it had been put on with a spatula. Combined with nails done weekly, hair dyed routinely and fake boobs, bums and more, the average girl sitting in my office was half plastic, half organic....or so it seemed.
My PhD and research background was in Physiology/Pharmacology and my Engineering studies had exposed me to just how much petroleum products, there were in our modern lives. I started looking into why such high rates of infertility, and hormone dysfunction issues were showing up in my office...the short answer was skin absorption of chemicals. The average woman, I'm sure you've heard, puts on over 22,000 chemicals on her body before leaving home in the morning. Coupled with fad diets, fake sugar substitutes and any number of body dysmorphic behaviors, our young women were slowly poisoning their reproductive organs and suffering infertility as a cause. This is what led me into esthetics and functional medicine, in search of understanding what they were using, so I could better advise them, rather than telling them to stop using makeup, which I'd tried and which fell on deaf ears, as you can imagine.
The esthetics journey has become quite an interesting one for me and I've become as passionate about safe use of esthetics, as I am about integrative medicine and whole body care. I think it is imperative that doctors become involved in understanding just how our modern world is contributing to the diseases we care for in Internal medicine and family practice so they can be better advocates for their patients.
My esthetics practice focuses heavily on how to avoid chemicals and I educate my patients about food/lifestyle and exercise as much as i do their aesthetics plan. My patients have learnt not to just come to me asking for botox, but to expect to see an MD, have a conversation about their chemical exposures, long term aesthetic plan as well as to have a chat about lifestyle, fertility, mood and healthy body image. I want our young women to be fulfilled, happy and to be aware that they are more than a body and to be proud of themselves.
A sad and underreported fact is that our boys and men are also suffering from BDD and I engage them also in the conversations about caring for themselves in a healthy way, looking good SAFELY, and making great choices in aesthetics, fitness and lifestyle.
Interestingly, I have found that aesthetic medicine is an extension of who I am and what I do as an internist, pediatrician and functional medicine practitioner. I love what I do.