Samuel Lam, MD, founder of Lam Facial Plastics in Dallas, Texas, knows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and as a facial plastic surgeon, he takes pride in cultivating this experience.
When evaluating beauty, Lam puts balance before symmetry–and his outside-of-the box thinking is changing the way we see ourselves and others.
“Beauty is instinct,” he says. “You know it when you see it.”
A double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and a board-certified hair restoration surgeon, Lam has written five major medical textbooks, Comprehensive Facial Rejuvenation, Cosmetic Surgery of the Asian Face, Complementary Fat Grafting, Simplified Facial Rejuvenation, and Hair Transplant 360. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.
Tell us about your practice at the Willow Bend Wellness Center.
We offer a comprehensive wellness program including a sleep disorders center, an anti-aging physician, full premier spa, Jose Eber salon, counselors and therapists, a dentist, a rolfer, and an acupuncturist.
What is your beauty philosophy?
I focus on what makes people different, not how to make them all look the same. Many people have plastic surgery and their brow is higher, their lips are fuller, and their jaw tighter, but they don’t actually look better. We are programmed to look at the wrong things—the jowls or smile lines—which can be part of problem in an aging face, but are not the whole problem. We need to reframe this thinking. I try to make the face more elegant by focusing on things that are different.
How do you apply this philosophy to fat grafting?
I do a little bit everywhere. If you only add fat to one or two discrete areas, it looks off. The trick is to place a little bit everywhere. The face will look magically youthful, but you can’t put your finger on why.
What is the perfect face?
The perfect face is a combination of ‘you know it when you see it’ and a lot of different elements. We are so focused on symmetry being the hallmark of beauty. Symmetry is nice if you have it, but balance is better. What balance means is that the face has the right sizes and proportions in its constituent elements. It also needs to be broken down by gender and ethnicity. There is no one-size-fits-all face.
What happens to the ideal face shape with advancing age?
Oval is the ideal face shape, and when you start to lose it, you see scalloping into the temple and concavity at the zygomaticarch or cheek bones.
What are your signature facial surgeries?
I do many lip reductions due to bad permanent fillers like fat, silicone or Artefill. I also specialize in ethnic preservation surgery of Asian faces. Hair restoration is another huge component of my business.
How do you approach hair transplantation today?
I use everything from lasers to platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections and topical products. I mix PRP with ACellMatriStem. This really really helps with making the grafts finer, with earlier growth, and more consistent growth. I truly depend on these products to take my results to another level. ACellMatriStem induces hair follicles to multiply in the patient’s own scalp. Latisse, which is used for eyelash lengthening, is also being studied for hair loss, and may have a role. ARTAS-brand Robotics or computer-assisted hair transplantation technology adds precision to these procedures and also allows one to avoid the incision on the back of the head.
Do you treat hair loss in men, women or both?
Both. I treat a ton of females. Female hair loss can be more devastating as men can shave their head. Women can’t.
Is there a tool you wouldn’t want to practice without?
Yes, the microcannula. It is just unbelievable. I can sculpt around the eyes without disastrous bruising and with absolute, unmatched precision. These are thin, small, and flexible hollow tubes with a blunt tip as opposed to a sharp one.