Chicagoans looking for a little…or major…touchup turn to Dr. Julius Few, a board-certified plastic surgeon with an office on North Michigan Avenue. He is an expert in enhancing the face and breasts, as well as the safety and subtlety of treating skin of color patients, the fastest growing patient segment in the U.S. A graduate of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Dr. Few completed his residency in general surgery at the University of Michigan Medical Center, followed by plastic surgery training at Northwestern University. In addition, Dr. Few received special facial and eye cosmetic training in Honolulu, New York, and Atlanta. His skincare line, called JF Aesthetics, once available only to his patients, can now be purchased online.
Please tell us a bit about your background. How did you discover your interest in plastic surgery?
Plastic surgery is a specialty that’s as much an art of medicine as it is a science—there are a vast number of options available to arrive at a solution. The specialty held particular appeal for me because it requires scientific prowess and an artistic eye to achieve the best results. Because it’s elective medicine, it’s also a specialty that is primarily positive.
You’re well known for incorporating a blended approach—using surgical and non-surgical techniques—to stop the aging process. Do these techniques apply to the face or just to the body or to both?
Both. A classic example of applying the blended approach to the face would be combining fillers and injectables with non-surgical skin tightening plus a modified blepharoplasty (eyelid tuck) as opposed to a traditional facelift. The blended approach in this case is less invasive, minimizing pain and recovery while optimizing natural-looking results.
Applied to the body, the combination of liposuction and non-surgical radio frequency skin tightening, for example, would be an alternative to the traditional tummy tuck. The blended approach in this case is both safe and effective with less downtime and involves only tiny incision points compared with the more invasive traditional surgical procedure.
Who is the ideal candidate for the blended approach?
There are two types of patients who make ideal candidates for the blended approach:
- The patient who has early signs of age-related changes for whom traditional surgery alone would be too extreme and non-surgical treatments alone wouldn’t satisfy their expectations.
- The patient who is a classic candidate for the traditional surgical approach, but who is unwilling to accept what comes with that approach, ie. surgical risk, pain, cost, and/or downtime. This patient is willing to make a compromise for possibly lower results to avoid the risks with traditional approach.
How does the JF Aesthetic product line fit into your blended approach? Are JF Aesthetic products limited to patients? What are the products in the JF Aesthetic product line?
When I look at the aging face, I evaluate it in terms of what I call the “holy trinity” of aging: Skin damage, volume loss, and drooping. Various treatment modalities are available to treat all three concerns, and skin care is one of them. The JF Aesthetic line of products are available to my patients as well as consumers from coast to coast at DrFewBeauty.com. The line includes 11 products designed for all skin types and tones with medical-grade ingredients for optimal results and absolute safety:
- LF™ Cleanser: A foaming cleanser that removes dirt and oil with 0.5% salicylic acid and 3% lactic acid to enhance exfoliation. ($49)
- LC™ Cleanser: Suitable for normal to dry skin types to hydrate and soften skin. ($49)
- Daily Anti-Oxidant C Cream™
- HP Gel™: An oil-free gel with hyaluronic acid that plumps up skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while supplying moisture to skin. ($99)
- Moisture Complete™: Reduces dry, cracked and flakey skin with emollient-rich ingredients. ($65)
- Sheer Moisturizer™: Best on sensitive or combination complexions, this light-weight lotion restores moisture balance for clearer, smoother skin. ($65)
- Eye Lifter™: Targets the specific needs of the eye area with vitamin C ester and peptides to boost collagen production and natural botanicals to soothe under-eye puffiness and make eyes look refreshed. ($75)
- Smooth Shade™: An SPF 30, it relies on potent UV blockers titanium dioxide (4.25%) and zinc oxide (4.25%) to protect skin from the harmful effects of the sun. With a slight tint, the product gives skin a smooth and even appearance instantly. ($75)
- Weekly Mini-Peel Brightener Lite™: A weekly at-home treatment that boosts cell turnover and instantly brightens skin with a cocktail of phytic, lactic and azaleic acids. ($75)
- R●nol 20 Serum™: With 0.2% retinol to enhance cell turnover with less irritation and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for visibly smoother skin. ($99)
- Advanced Koji-Cream™: Improves the appearance of sunspots, melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation with kojic acid and vitamin C. ($99)
In a tough economy, are you seeing more patients for face or body help?
The face. Especially in the tough economy, avoiding looking tired or worn down is key.
What sort of body treatments/surgeries are in most demand by your patients, and why do you think that is?
For the most part, women are having breast lifts and/or augmentations and abdominal contouring with a tummy tuck or combined liposuction-radio frequency treatment.
Our readers ask lots of questions about arms. Can anything be done to reshape flabby arms without leaving scars or marks?
The arms can definitely be improved, whether its by using the powerful, synergistic, non-surgical approach of Venus Freeze (radio frequency) and Ultherapy (ultrasound) together, or by in-office laser liposuction followed by radio frequency treatment. Liposuction is technically surgery, but it’s performed under local anesthesia and involves only a nick in the skin that heals without a scar.
What are some of the common misconceptions about plastic surgery?
The most common is the idea that plastic surgery is only surgery. There’s a tendency to feel that if you go to a plastic surgery office looking for a cosmetic treatment that it’s limited to traditional surgery. The blended approach I’ve described is evidence against that misconception. Another misconception is the idea that plastic surgery is about having a complete overhaul. It’s really about progressive treatments over time.
Malynda Vigliotti, aka Boom Boom, is a self-proclaimed eyebrow queen. She was educated at The Fashion Institute of Technology and has worked in the fashion and beauty trenches long enough to be considered an expert. She originally opened Boom Boom Brow Bar in Santa Rosa, California, but moved the business to New York City’s West Village in 2008, where Boom Boom and the Brow Bar have since been featured on The Real Housewives of New York City. She believes that the eyebrows are the most important feature on the face and sees no reason why everyone should not have thick, gorgeous brows. Boom Boom loves living in the Big Apple, and is proud to say that at the end of the day, her brows ALWAYS look good.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you become a brow expert?
I have always been obsessed with brows and I wanted to create a place where women could get a quick brow shaping that was fun, affordable, and convenient. I lived in California for a bit in 2005 and was annoyed that there wasn’t a place to get a wax that was convenient, so I took a little money and a whole lot of personality and started the concept of the brow bar. I eventually sold the business and returned to the Big Apple and opened Boom Boom Brow Bar in the West Village. All it took was a disco ball, some intrigue, convenience, and affordability (everything on the menu is under $50) and now we do about 500 bow shapings a month. I don’t believe in thin brows or thin women, but I do know a perfectly done brow is an instant eyelift—no Botox necessary!
Do you have any tips for our readers to figure out what brow shape is best for them?
Brows are sisters not twins, they should be complimentary, but not identical. And, they should be unique to each individual. The space between brows should be equal to or a little wider than the eyes. Use a makeup brush or pencil to assess.
Start: Hold the brush parallel to the side of the nose; where the brush meets the brow is where the brow should begin.
Arch: Hold the brush parallel to the outside edge of the colored part of the eye (the iris); where the brush meets the brow is where the highest part of the arch should be.
End: Extend the brush diagonally from the nostril, following the outside edge of the eye toward the brow; where the inside edge of the brush hits is where the brow should end.
Is brow waxing strictly a salon service or can it be tried at home?
Waxing is efficient, inexpensive, and yields baby smooth skin. Sure, a client can do it at home, but getting the wax the correct temperature, working up the courage to pull it off, and cleaning up the mess is a production. Waxing is probably the cheapest of all beauty regimes if done professionally; I charge $24 and it takes only 10 minutes— that’s a lot of bang for the buck! If you get the recommended one shaping a month, it’s less than $300 for the year!
How often should brows be professionally shaped? Can touchups be performed at home?
The goal is to get hair on the same growth cycle so it grows in at the same time and can be removed at the same time. Once hair is on the same cycle, brows can be groomed just once a month.
Brow shaping can be painful. Do you have any tips for easing discomfort?
- Low Temperature Wax: It’s kept at a lower temperature, so it’s very gentle and never burns.
- Hair Length: Remove hair when it’s about ¼ of an inch long, so wax can stick and grab hair for removal. If it’s too short, the wax won’t stick enough, and if it’s too long, hair breaks off before the root making the process more painful.
- Exfoliate and Moisturize: Softer hair follicles surrounded by clean skin release hair the best. Exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, so the wax sticks better, and then apply a moisturizer to soften the follicle.
- Ibuprofen: Take an anti-inflammatory a half hour before waxing to prevent swelling and dull pain.
- Tanning Beds: Avoid 24 hours prior.
- Menstruation: Avoid doing the week prior when nerves are more sensitive.
- Meds and Chems: Stop using AHA’s 4-5 days prior and if using any meds like Retin-A, Retinol, Accutane, Proactive, and antibiotics, stick to plucking, not waxing!
What’s the best way to highlight brows?
I prefer using a powder like my Boom Boom Brow Boostiers to fill in holes, add definition and depth—it’s more natural looking than pencil. Go for a lighter color over darker, just make sure it goes with the natural undertones of skin and hair. And, if brows are too light, they should be tinted. Tips: always use a vegetable based dye around the eye area; never lift brow color, use deposit only color; go a little bolder to define brows and match the color to skin and hair undertones; and always use SPF on brows for protection.
You also can use the matte concealer side of my Boom Boom Push Up brow highlighting pencil on the brow bone to create lift and camouflage stragglers that are growing in while waiting for a brow wax. The sparkle side can be dabbed on the inside corner of the eye for a dash of pop and you can line the lower inside of the eye with the matte side of the pencil to make eyes look bright and happy.
We have all heard of a family practice, but what about a family that practices together? Since 2000, board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Baxt has worked with her parents—mother, Dr. Saida Baxt, also a board-certified dermatologist, and father, Dr. Woody Baxt, a board-certified plastic surgeon—at Baxt Cosmedical in Paramus, New Jersey: a facility that has provided state-of-the-art care for patients throughout the tri-state area for over 35 years. One of the first group practices to combine the expertise of dermatologists and a plastic surgeon, Baxt Cosmedical houses a vast array of high technology equipment and the first certified ambulatory office-based Surgi-Center in the state of New Jersey.
In 2012, Dr. Rebecca Baxt opened an office on Madison Avenue in New York City. She also is an Assistant Clinical Professor Dermatology at NYU and has obtained an MBA from the Wharton School of Management in Health Care Administration.
It’s not often that we hear of three members of a family working in one medical practice. What is the advantage of this for your patients?
Having two separate generations of physicians brings to the practice both experience and innovation. Our office is our home away from home and we have made it a warm and friendly place and our patients feel comfortable having our family treat their family. We often see multigenerational families including adults, grandparents, and children, and we really enjoy getting to know our patients, seeing them over time, and sharing the big life events together.
What are the most commonly requested non-invasive cosmetic treatments?
Botox, fillers, laser resurfacing, photorejuvenation, skin tightening, and fat reduction. The worlds of dermatology and plastic surgery are shifting rapidly into more non-invasive treatments. We are doing everything from permanent fat production and facial skin tightening to cellulite reduction. Over the last 10 years we have heavily researched and continued to watch the technology as it evolves and have been leaders in introducing laser, ultrasound, and radiofrequency technologies. Each of these work in different areas and it is the judgment of the physician as to which one would work best for that particular patient. With our younger patients in their 40s and 50s beginning programs of either radiofrequency or ultrasound facial skin tightening along with fillers, it is not a stretch to imagine a time when we will look back at the facelift as a historic operation.
What sort of surgical procedures can you perform in your SurgiCenter?
We are proud to have introduced the plastic surgery center to the state of New Jersey. As our techniques and our anesthesia evolves, more of our procedures are performed here—everything from rhinoplasty and face lifts to liposuctions and eyelid lifts. Many of our procedures are performed under “twilight sleep” anesthesia administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist. Patients are usually home in their own bed within an hour or two of completing the procedure. It has been our tradition to call every patient the evening of their operation and with the long-lasting local anesthetic it is gratifying to know that most people are completely comfortable throughout the day of their operation.
What new facial rejuvenation procedures do your see being available in the future?
The future is here in terms of non-invasive skin tightening and lifting using both ultrasound and radiofrequency, and in some patients the use of the Smartlipo laser. New lights and non-invasive lasers will continue to be developed and hopefully improve on our current great technology. As long as these are begun early enough, we feel very comfortable telling some patients that they will never consider a old-fashioned facelift during their lifetime.
Are there any new acne treatments that you can recommend?
Many! Isolaz acne treatments are intense pulsed light to kill bacteria and suction to unclog pores. It works great for many patients, especially those who don’t like high dose oral antibiotics or Acutane therapy. Also PDT, or photodynamic therapy, works really well for acne. There are always new creams coming to the market and we can hope for new discoveries.
How has the field of cosmetic surgery changed in the last 10 years?
The field of cosmetic surgery has evolved extremely rapidly in the last 10 years as we have gone to less invasive procedures and now replacing many of our surgical operations with completely noninvasive techniques. With the introduction of ultrasound, radiofrequency, and Smartlipo we do significantly fewer major invasive operations. It is very easy to picture a day not far off where many of the operations we do today will be considered quaint historical footnotes.