Photo Credit: unionderm.com
When it comes to skin care and rejuvenation, New York City dermatologist Robyn Gmyrek, MD, is all about the combination. A staff dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, a thriving practice founded by Dr. Anne Chapas, she routinely addresses the signs of aging with a trio of treatments including injections and laser skin resurfacing procedures.
“We are no longer simply filling lines but rather recreating the person’s own youthful facial shape,” she explains. “Because we are restoring what was originally there, the face regains its more youthful shape.”
Before joining Union Square Laser Dermatology, Dr. Gmyrek was on the faculty of Columbia University Medical Center as the Division Chief of Cosmetic Dermatology. She also founded Columbia University’s Cosmetic Skin and Laser Center. At Columbia, Dr. Gmyrek also was the Director of the Resident Cosmetic Clinic. She received her Bachelor’s degree from New York University and went on to complete her medical school education at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons.
She sat down with Beauty in the Bag to talk about what she does, how she does it and even shared some of her personal beauty secrets with us. Here’s what we learned:
1. What is your signature procedure?
My signature procedure is actually a combination, trio treatment, where I utilize fillers to restore mid-face volume loss, neurotoxins to address the falling brow and to brighten up the eye area, and an overall skin laser treatment to remove brown spots and give an even and clear tone to the skin. This approach can really have a huge impact with very little recovery time.
2. What type of cosmetic results do your patients seek?
My patients seek to age gracefully. They ask that they “look great for their age” not 20 years younger. They want to look natural, as if they have not undergone any treatment at all. They specifically request procedures that will make their skin look tighter and brighter and they seek to look less tired and have a more well-rested appearance. It is rare if ever get a request for an extreme change in facial appearance.
3. What has the most exciting advance been of late?
The most exciting advance of late is the way we approach restoring facial volume loss and addressing the “deflation” of the face that occurs with age. When the face loses volume, its shape changes and the skin becomes loose and redundant creating folds because it has lost its underlying supportive fat pad. Instead of pulling the skin to hide this volume loss, we are restoring the fullness of a youthful cheek. e. It is very important to be evaluated and treated by a medical professional who is an experienced and skilled injector. Results are simply terrific – natural and beautiful.
4. What are your beautiful skin secrets?
The biggest secret is, and I know this is going to sound strange but… mild and controlled wounding of the skin. Okay, so let me explain. When you wound the skin, you generate a wound healing response which stimulates new collagen formation. And generally, it will also help the top most layer of the skin slough off which will give you a brighter appearance and also increase the absorption and effectiveness of topical products such as anti-oxidants and Vitamin A derivatives such as retinol. By low level wounding, I mean, using facial brushes that aid in cleansing, exfoliating the skin with scrubs and skin cloths, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and fractionated laser treatments that are performed in office by licensed medical professionals.
5. How do you counsel patients about skin cancer prevention?
I have found that the most effective way for me to counsel patients about skin cancer prevention is to educate them about why we develop tanned skin with sun exposure. I explain that when the skin tans, it brings more pigment to the surface layers. This happens in response to DNA damage it has sustained! The DNA in your skin gets injured by the ultraviolet light, this triggers a protective response in the body to send more pigmentation to the skin to help and protect it from further DNA damage. So any tan means that you have suffered DNA damage. And this means that gradual tanning causes DNA damage, just like sunburns. While intermittent sunburns have been more closely linked to melanoma formation, chronic low level tans and overall lifetime sun exposure has been associated with both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
6. What is the single worst thing we do to our skin?
By far, the single worst thing that we do to our skin is not apply sunscreen to it. We should be using a sunscreen that is labeled “broad spectrum” that will protect against ultraviolet A light penetration. Sunscreen should also have an SPF of 30 or more to adequately protect against ultraviolet B light. And, most importantly, we should apply it liberally, at least 20 minutes before exposure to sunlight and re-apply it every 2 to 4 hours.