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Posted by 07.06.14

New York City dermatologist Ariel Ostad, MD, recently made quite splash in the media when he described the influx of brides-to-be seeking procedures to make their hands sparkle as much as their diamonds in their engagement selfies. This once again showed that Ostad is in the know. He’s also been quoted on the Weather Channel,,,, and Instyle magazine in recent months discussing wide range of topics from looking better bare to the latest treatments for skin cancer.

Dr. Ostad is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. In addition to bustling and trend-setting Manhattan private practice, he is also a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Dermatology at New York University Medical Center in New York City. Despite his busy schedule, Ostad finds time to give back to many charities that are near and dear to him including New York University, the Dermatology Foundation Advanced Research, New York City Public Schools and the Saint Jude Foundation.

He recently opened up to Beauty in The Bag about his practice and why he loves what he does: Here’s what Ostad had to say:

How do you define beauty?

I think that beauty comes from within. When people feel good, it is projected to their emotional well-being. If you have a healthy, body, it yields a healthy mind. If you look in a mirror and think you look good, you will feel better. Every person should feel beautiful, get up in the morning and look in the mirror and feel satisfied with their reflection.

Now, how do you create or cultivate beauty?

The decisions we make affect us and minimize our stress. It is about taking better care of yourself, between skincare, sunscreen, and moisturizer. It then blooms from the inside out. I also believe beauty is created when an individual looks natural and not overdone. So my philosophy is to look beautiful in a natural way. Less is more. I love what I do because I help make a difference. I feel the importance of helping patients with their self-esteem and feeling beautiful both inside and out. I’m passionate about correcting minor imperfections that affect people’s self-esteem. 
My signature procedures are BOTOX, fillers, laser for facial rejuvenation, and liposuction.

How did you get started in the beauty business?

It all began with skin cancer surgery, specifically on my patients’ faces. I would help them get better and make them feel beautiful. Reconstruction leads to cosmetic perfection. Dealing with challenging, difficult facial reconstruction cases such as nose or lips or anywhere on the face made me very attentive to restoring the way the face looked on both functional and cosmetic aspects of the specific anatomic area.

What sets you apart from others in your space?

I realize the importance of listening to my patients, and empathizing with them is my main prerogative. I like to feel what they feel, and listen to what they are saying. Listening leads to empathy and I feel I am very sensitive to that.

What is the procedure you find most challenging?

The most challenging procedures are definitely facial reconstructions, and correcting defects from cancer. This is due to the fact that when I am in the middle of an operation, I cannot help but feel the pain that they felt and having the desire to ease that pain and avoid them feeling deformed.

What is the most exciting trend that you are seeing these days?

The paradigm shift involves choosing non-surgical procedures with minimal downtime to avoid major surgery at all costs. Technologic advances have helped create non-surgical skin tightening, fat reduction, and wrinkle removal, which in the past required surgery. Specifically, fillers and BOTOX, which in 15 minutes, can transform your face with no downtime, therapy for skin tightening, non-surgical Coolsculpting or microcannular liposuction to permanently remove fat, and non-surgical radiofrequency to improve fine lines around the eyes and mouth.




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Posted by 07.02.14

Think you can’t learn anything about beauty from ladies of the Litchfield Penitentiary? Think again. These inmates are as crafty and creative as they are shady and shameful, and they could teach us all a thing or two about looking our best for less.

For those who don’t watch Netflix’s hit dramedy, Orange Is the New Black is Jenji Kahn’s interpretation of Piper Kerman’s memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. Now during its second season, we delve further into the inmates’ backstory and the plots as well as the beauty pointers, which do not disappoint. (Even if you don’t think any of these gals have cornered the market on style, you should see how they clean up. Most of the actresses are barely recognizable and shockingly gorgeous when they walk the red carpet.)

In reel life, everyone loves inmate Lorna Morello’s looks (except of course her imaginary fiancé Christopher (pronounced Chris-Tow-Pha), and this is why she was just tapped to be the beauty columnist for the innaugural prison newsletter. In the debut issue, Morello, played by Yael Stone, suggests that instant coffee is the perfect stand-in for eyeshadow when in a crunch or the clink, as the case may be. Just add water.

Fans know Morello is never caught without bright red lipstick. Her in-the-slammer trick? Kool Aid, but she is also not above digging deep down into a lipstick cartridge for some color scraps. In real life, Stone’s signature lip color is Dolce & Gabbana Classic Lipstick #620, according to show insiders.

Morello also uses toilet paper to set her pin curls, and while actress Natasha Lyonne, who plays junkie philosopher Nicky Nichols, likely doesn’t spend much time taming her curls, they are still enviable. Many of us spend hundreds of dollars and even more time and elbow grease trying to tame naturally curly hair, but Lyonne owns her trademark soft and shiny curls. We doubt they sell Ouidad  in the commissary, but there’s nothing better for frizz- and fancy-free curls.

And then there’s Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Dogget and her new smile. The Born Again Christian and devout homophobe, played by Taryn Manning, is certainly not looking to hook up in prison, but a recent USA Today survey showed that teeth are the first thing men and women notice in a potential date. Her new smile is certainly much better than the broken, blackened half grimace she sported before Piper (Taylor Schilling) beat her down in a prison yard fight. It looks like there are some decent cosmetic dentists available for inmates.

Also on season 2, a bootleg tobacco business rolls through Lichtfeld, and many of the inmates may be picking up this nasty habit once again (and really, who can blame them?). Bad news, girls: besides just increasing risk of cancer and heart disease, smoking can cause premature aging.  We wonder if Morello has an antidote for that up her orange sleeve?





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Posted by 06.22.14

Skin Cancer Awareness month is over but Jennifer Chwalek, MD, a board certified dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon at Unionsquare Dermatology in New York City, discuses skin cancer prevention with her patients all year long.

“As a Mohs surgeon, I try to use every office visit as an opportunity to educate patients about the importance of sun protection and the warning signs of skin cancer. Most skin cancers when diagnosed early have an excellent prognosis,” she says.

There is more to her thriving practice than preventing and treating skin cancer. Chwalek is also known for her subtle aesthetic touch with Fraxel and other lasers as well as her injectable prowess and her approach to treating and preventing hair loss.

She discussed it all with Beauty in The Bag. Here’s what Chwalek had to say:

How do you educate patients on prevention?

“In my office we offer full skin exams to all of our patients, even patients whose visits are cosmetic. During the visit, I discuss the importance of using sunscreen and sun protective methods throughout the year, as well as the importance of applying it correctly, reapplying it every few hours and after water exposure. I also review the different forms of skin cancer and how they present. All of our patients go home with reading material to help them better identify concerning lesions.

Do you think the skin cancer prevention message is getting through?

I do find that more and more patients are practicing sun protection and are more aware of the dangers of excessive sun exposure. However, there are still misconceptions in the general public. I still see patients who believe tanning is healthy and that getting a “base tan” can be protective prior to sunny vacations. I also find most people think sun protection can be limited to the few times a year they go to a beach. There still is a lack of understanding of the importance of using sun protection throughout the year. While most patients are aware of the dangers of melanoma, many are not aware of the potential morbidity associated with undiagnosed or untreated non-melanoma skin cancer.

What is your signature aesthetic procedure?

I would not necessarily say I have one “signature” aesthetic procedure because I think combining cosmeceuticals (antioxidant serums, retinoids, AHAs) with fillers, Botox, and laser procedures provide the best results. However, I do think fractional resurfacing (Fraxel) is one of the most versatile procedures I utilize to treat fine lines, photodamage, and scarring. I also think there is value in having occasional Fraxel treatments in order to prevent wrinkles and improve the texture and tone of the skin.

How do you address hair loss with female patients? Is it hard to broach?

Hair loss is a very emotional issue for many patients. Many patients come to me with concerns about hair thinning. Occasionally I make the diagnosis during skin exams in patients who aren’t even aware there is a problem. Hair loss can be due to genetic factors, medications, systemic illnesses such as thyroid disease, dietary factors, and underlying scalp conditions, as well as hair care practices. The key is to figure out what is causing the hair loss. Unfortunately, our understanding of hair loss as well as treatment options have been lacking. The good news is there has been some promising research in the field over the past few years and this will likely result in better ways of treating hair loss.

What hair loss treatments are most effective today?

Treatment for hair loss depends on the cause. In the case of male or female pattern hair loss, the most effective medical treatments are minoxidil (Rogaine) and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors (i.e. Propecia/Avodart, which are used predominantly to treat male pattern hair loss). In certain patients, surgical restoration is an excellent option. For patients with hair loss due to thyroid or dietary issues, correcting the underlying medical cause will usually correct the hair loss with time. Hair care practices (over washing, excessive heat, color, or brushing) can cause breakage and prevent growth and lead to dull, brittle hair. Newer hair care products can provide some protection from humidity, UV, and thermal damage.

Tell us about some of the trends you are seeing with your patients at the practice.

More patients are educated about the importance of sun protection and the role diet and exercise plays in having beautiful skin. There is increasing interest in the use of non-invasive treatments for preventing photoaging, tightening skin, and treating unwanted fat that has not responded to diet and exercise. In our office, in addition to our lasers, we have several radiofrequency and ultrasound devices as well as Coolsculpting to target trouble areas. As summer approaches more patients are interested in Miradry for treating excessive sweating as well.


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