Dr. Robert Leonard, founder and chief surgeon at Leonard Hair Transplant, is widely sought after for his soft touch, artistic eye and extensive knowledge about advanced hair loss. He is licensed in six states, including Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and currently sees patients in seven offices – in Cranston, Rhode Island; Newton, Massachusetts; Braintree, Massachusetts; Hyannis on Cape Cod; Boston, Massachusetts; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire. In addition to performing hair restoration surgery, he acts as a hair loss expert for ROGAINE®, educating others of the potential hair loss treatments hold.
Dr. Leonard is a past President of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery and was recently appointed to the American Society of Hair Restoration Surgery Advisory Council. He was also one of the early adopters of the innovative ARTAS ROBOTIC SYSTEM®, the first and only FDA cleared robotic hair transplant device.
He recently answered some questions about the evolution of hair transplantation for Beauty in The Bag.
How long have you specialized in hair restoration?
I began my training in hair restoration surgery in 1986 after I met my mentor, the late Dr. C. P. Chambers. This was during the days of the no-archaic “plug” transplant era. Transplants in those days required several sessions in order to provide a natural look.
What has been the biggest change that you have seen in your practice?
The biggest change in my practice was the revolutionary miniaturization of transplanted hair grafts. This occurred in a very few years beginning in the early 1990’s. Today’s transplants contain only one to four hairs, which provides hair loss patients a very natural result even after only one surgical session. There are two different harvesting techniques that I utilize today: strip harvesting and Follicular Unit Extraction Technique (FUE). Each method offers wonderful aesthetic results. It is very important, however, that patients know that it will take several months to achieve these great results.
What do today’s hair transplant really look like?
Unlike in the past where grafts were very large (about the size of a pencil eraser), today’s grafts contain only one to four hairs. In the past, these big grafts needed to be spaced significantly apart so they could grow properly; they also were planted in sort of a “corn row” configuration, providing a not-so-natural effect with only one surgical session. The whole world of hair transplantation has thankfully changed today—and, for the better—much better! We now transplant tiny grafts, very closely together, in order to provide patients with very natural results.
Do you treat many women, and can they benefit from transplants too?
I have welcomed women as patients from the earliest days of my career. I am asked by my colleagues throughout the world to speak about my approach to treating the female hair loss patient. Not all women are candidates, mostly due either to unrealistic expectations of results or because they do not have enough donor hair to provide a proper result. It is critically important that women do as much as possible to stabilize their progressive hair loss with minoxidil and/or low level laser therapy—I personally use the Capillus Laser Cap. If they have enough donor hair, women are excellent candidates for hair restoration surgery. I must say that these patients are the most appreciative of my care as it is not “normal” for women to lose hair or get bald.
What role does technology play in hair restoration today?
We are in a wonderful time in the history of hair loss treatment. The tools we have really work very well to both slow down the progression of male and female pattern hair loss as well as to regrow hair. However, the patients need to be willing to use them. For men, I treat hair loss with finasteride (Propecia), minoxidil (Rogaine, Keranique, etc.), and Low Level Laser Therapy (Capillus Laser Cap, etc.). For most women, I do not use finasteride; however, for some, it is a good option for them especially post-menopausal women. The more of these treatments the patient does at the same time, the better effectiveness. Two are better than one; three are better than two.
There are no other medically proven, scientifically sound therapies available yet to treat genetic hair loss. Some doctors are using purported “treatments” such as PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), Stem Cell injections, and various lotions and potions. None of these have had proper scientific studies to prove that they are at all effective to treat hair loss.
To provide the latest in hair restoration treatments and offer our patients superior results, we have also added the advanced ARTAS® Robotic System to our line of surgical technology. This minimally invasive, outpatient procedure allows us to transplant the patient’s own hair without stitches or visible scarring. Recovery time is fast, we can achieve fuller, natural looking hair that will last a lifetime.
Tell us about your fellowship at the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery?
The Board of Governors of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS) recently offered the “Fellow” designation in order to recognize members who meet its exceptional educational criteria. It is a great honor for a member to achieve the Fellow designation (FISHRS). This recognizes the surgeon who strives for excellence in this specialized field. To maintain this status, the surgeon must continue to meet established educational criteria over time. I am proud to be one of 61 Fellows of the ISHRS.
New York City cosmetic dentist Debra Glassman, DMD, is well known for her sparkling smile as well as the signature feminine touch she provides to the smiles of her patients—many of whom are women. Of late, Glassman has joined forces with GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of ProNamel Toothpaste, to draw attention to the deleterious effects that acid erosion can have on a smile and the surprising foods that can contribute to acid erosion.
She answered some questions about the new campaign, the latest and greatest in cosmetic dentistry, and what a healthy smile really looks like for Beauty in the Bag.
Here’s what she had to say:
Why does our oral health matter so much?
Taking care of your teeth is essential for so many reasons. By routinely flossing, brushing and using mouth rinse, you can decrease your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancers. Also, it’s especially important for pregnant women to take care of their teeth, because not doing so can lead to low birth weight in babies and even miscarriages.
What does a healthy beautiful smile look like?
While I see beautiful smiles every day, a healthy one results from regular brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist. I recommend flossing before brushing, so any leftover food particles can be cleared away in the rinsing process. It’s also a good idea to use a soft-bristled tooth brush and change out your tooth brush every three months; six months for electric tooth brushes.
What are some of the newest trends in cosmetic dentistry?
We’re seeing lots of of pre-filled whitening trays which are very user-friendly and especially great for travelers. These trays whiten teeth eight to 10 shades whiter through half hour-a-day usage over a 10-day period. Invisalign is also an invisible way to straighten teeth, and because of the trays and excellent technology, we can now speed the process up by 40-50 percent, making it quicker and more comfortable for patients.
We also have the ability to do crowns and bridges without using any metal and instead using all white, very strong materials. These substances look like natural teeth and make it easier for dentists to see future decay and diseases at a very early stage.
Do any of the over-the-counter products (whitening strips, for example) make a difference?
OTC products work if they’re the proper choice for the patient. For example, whitening strips work well on small teeth, because they cover the entire tooth and crevices between teeth. Strips are not good for larger teeth, because they can’t cover the whole area for whitening. Those with larger teeth should instead use gels so that all of their teeth are covered and the whitening will be even. As always, make sure to follow product directions properly. I also personally recommend using ProNamel toothpaste, which is specially formulated to strengthen tooth enamel and can help reduce your risk for acid erosion. It’s also the #1 dentist-recommended brand for protection against the effects of acid erosion.
What does acid erosion do to a smile?
Acid erosion is a condition where your tooth enamel can become weakened and softened, which can then be more easily brushed away over time. While only a dental healthcare professional can assess tooth enamel appropriately, the five signs of acid erosion that you should be on the lookout for include tooth enamel that is weakened, thinning, transparent/see through, yellowing, or dull. And what’s surprising is that everyday foods and drinks, even healthier choices like oranges, apples, and other citrus fruits that are high in acid, yet common in today’s modern diet, can increase your risk for acid erosion.
Fortunately, you don’t have to make any dramatic changes to your lifestyle or diet to reduce your risk for acid erosion. Ther are five simple, proven steps that everyone can take to help reduce their risk for acid erosion.
What are these steps?
1. Don’t give up healthy food in your diet, particularly fruit, but do take a fresh look at how you eat it.
2. Don’t swish, swirl, or hold acidic foods in your mouth for too long.
3. Many drinks, especially carbonated ones, can contribute to acid erosion. Try drinking through a straw or substituting the soft drinks with water or milk.
4. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking and make sure you’re using a soft-bristled tooth brush.
5. Consider using a fluoride toothpaste, like ProNamel, along with a fluoride mouthwash, to help protect your teeth from the effects of everyday acidic foods and drinks
How can you tell if you consume too many acid-rich foods in your diet?
All Americans should know their own Acid Truth—they should consider how many acid-rich foods they are consuming per day and how they can best take action to reduce their risk. That’s why I encourage everybody to visit www.pronamel.us to take a 4-question quiz to determine their own Acid Truth.
Photo Credit: Mario Kimball with his wife Takako
Living in Japan and learning about the traditional Japanese healthy and conscious lifestyle inspired Mario Kimball to create Valia Skincare, a brand that combines natural topical ingredients and supplements to promote beauty. The line’s premise is that skincare is not just about what you put on your skin, it’s about living your best life. Valia products use alternative ingredients like enzymes and minimal chemical agents to reduce their environmental impact. Here, Mario tells Beauty in the Bag about his experience in Japan and his product philosophy.
The origin of Valia has a very interesting story beginning with you living in Japan. Where are you originally from and how did you come to live in Japan.
If you have a pleasant experience eating something you have never tasted before, your life will be lengthened by seventy five days. Better than a feast elsewhere is a meal at home of tea and rice. I remember in college, I had the opportunity to work with a classmate at her house, she was Asian. We were working on our college thesis together and her family offered me dinner. I had never had a home cooked Japanese meal before, the food was so different then what I usually eat on a daily basis. I felt a cleansing in my body, from that point, I was always interested in Asia.
I had an opportunity to work in Japan, so I moved there and was able to truly experience the culture. Their way of eating was totally healthy and their thinking was completely opposite to what I thought.
To make a long story short, I met a beautiful Japanese lady, who became my wife. We talked a lot about health, beauty, and fashion. The idea of Valia started developing through the stories she told me about her family; her grandparents were farmers. They had a love for everything natural and also I was taught the secret of their beauty and what they use to maintain their beauty. We wanted to incorporate these ideas into something we could share with people. We wanted to bring those ideas to the US through health and beauty so we created Valia.
We also collaborate with Marc Ching, our founding herbalist; he oversees all our supplements and helps carry out some of our skincare preparation.
What is the beauty philosophy behind Valia Skincare?
There is an aesthetic definition of beauty in terms of ideals and proportions that most people agree upon. We believe in subtle but significant improvement in each person’s unique appearance. Our Founding Herbalist Marc Chin incorporates this idea using ingredients from the mountains, the oceans, and the earth that are inspired from Japan.
Is Valia a natural or organic skincare line? How does it differ from other skincare lines in its category?
The plant and mineral substances used to make Valia skincare products are 100% natural and carefully chosen based on several factors, including effectiveness and ecological impact. Extra care is taken to ensure that each product supports your skin’s natural balance and function. Later this year, we will be extending our line of products to cover masks, body washes, eye creams, hand and foot creams, shampoos and conditioners, and also baby lotions and baby body washes, each made with the finest ingredients.
The difference between Valia and other brands is identified in our tagline: Beauty in Bloom. We believe in nurturing our bodies from the inside out as a lifestyle, and in developing natural skin care as well as supplements for total health, beautiful skin, and weight management. Our supplements are free from wheat, gluten, soy, synthetic colors, flavors and sugar.
Can the Valia 3-step regimen be used with more aggressive anti-aging products, like ones that contain retinol?
Retinol is a component of vitamin A and is known for its ability to dramatically improve the appearance of skin by smoothing away wrinkles, decreasing fine lines, even out rough spots, and bringing back a natural color and tone to the skin. Based on a person’s skin, if it is oily or dry, and the seaso, retinol can be used with the Valia regime. Layering the products can be helpful to ease dryness and using them once in the morning and at night before bed will better balance the skin.
How is your mission of sustainability represented in the range?
In order to ensure environmental sustainability, we strive to protect ecological systems, encourage economic development, and maintain community wellbeing.
Our products are inspired by traditional Japanese remedies that focus on holistic healing. We believe beautiful skin is created from the inside out. We carefully craft our formulas using these remedies and back them up with scientific research. As a result, our product development includes only the purest, plant-based ingredients and essential oils that promote radiant, youthful, and healthy skin. Our formulas are free from GMO ingredients, alcohol, artificial colors, fragrances, and animal by-products. We believe every person has the potential for naturally healthy, beautiful skin.
Our packaging is made with only low-impact recyclable materials. Our bottles are 100% recyclable and manufactured with an amber color to protect products from direct sunlight and extend their shelf life. Our boxes are made from environmental folding board that is FSC certified with 100% post-consumer fiber and free from chlorine. Packaging and labels are printed with vegetable-based ink.
We believe in the ethical treatment of animals and use only 100% natural, plant-based ingredients. Our products do not contain parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, phthalates, MEA/DEA/TEA (ammonia compounds), artificial colors, fillers, alcohol, or fragrances.
What’s next for Valia? What would you like to be doing in 5 years?
In the next few months, we’ll be extending our supplement line and will have 10 more natural health supplements. Later in the year, our skincare line will increase—caring for the body, face, and hair. We will also launch a baby line, mid to late 2015, which will increase our premium supplement line. We are hoping to open our first Valia store in late 2015/2016.