Practicing both medical and cosmetic dermatology, Anne Chapas is the founder and medical director of Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. As a dermatological surgeon as well as a dermatologist, she specializes in laser surgery, Mohs micrographic surgery for the treatment of skin cancers and cosmetic procedures.
Her goal is to apply the latest scientific research with a thoughtful human touch – an approach recognized by Elle magazine, which named her a “beauty genius” for her state-of-the-art use of lasers and energy devices.
Dr. Chapas is internationally recognized for her laser and dermatological procedures and is certified by the American Board of Dermatology in addition to being a Fellow of the American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery, the American College of Mohs Surgery and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery. She received her M.D. from Harvard Medical School and today serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor at New York University’s School of Medicine, directing the senior dermatological surgery clinic.
Tell us about your background. What made you want to specialize in laser dermatology?
My career in dermatology began by investigating the molecular mechanisms of skin cancer development while working in the laboratories of Dr. George Cotsarelis at the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Tom Kupper at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. During my dermatology residency, I began to use lasers to treat basal cell carcinoma skin cancers and became fascinated by how light, laser and energy technologies can improve the health and appearance of the skin. I continue to be passionate about the research and the development of new laser technologies for both medical and cosmetic conditions. When I opened my private practice, Union Square Laser Dermatology, I placed a huge focus on laser and energy devices. Actually, ten out of the twelve treatment rooms are designed for specific lasers such as the Excel V, Clear + Brilliant, and GentleLASE Pro.
What’s happening in the area of laser treatments? Do you find any new treatments particularly exciting?
New energies, such as ultrasound and microwave, are opening new areas of potential treatment. I’m looking forward to trying the newly approved ultrasound device, Liposonix, which uses ultrasound energy to non-invasively treat unwanted fat around the abdomen. Microwave energy, used in the new Miradry device, offers the exciting possibility of reduced underarm sweating for up to a year.
Tell us about Mohs micrographic surgery.
Mohs micrographic surgery is the most effective treatment for the most common types of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. In the United States, about 20% of the population will develop one of these types of skin cancers. Mohs surgery is performed in the office and involves surgically removing the skin cancer little by little and examining the tissue under the microscope until all the cancer is removed.
What are some of the easiest tips for people to prevent skin cancer that they may not know about?
Make sunscreen a part of your morning routine. A recent study from Australia showed that wearing daily sunscreen reduced the risk of developing melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, by half. Also, don’t forget sun protective clothing when you’re going to be outdoors for prolonged periods. I love the Coolibar line for lightweight, stylish options.
Do you have any at-home tips for healthy skin?
- Remove makeup every night, no exceptions.
- Keep skin moisturized and healthy by using a moisturizer with antioxidants.
- Use retinol or retin A at night to even skin tone and texture.
Are you noticing any trends among requested treatments by patients?
People are looking for less aggressive and less invasive treatments that still produce great results. Fortunately, technology is keeping up with this trend. Clear + Brilliant, a new fractionated laser, improves signs of sun damage on the face, chest and hands, with minimal recovery time. Most patients experience a mild redness after the procedure that resolves in less than a day. Coolsculpting uses external cooling energy to freeze unwanted fat around the abdomen. This strategic freezing causes the body to eliminate the fat through a natural process over 2-4 months. After the procedure, patients can immediately return to all activities.