Donna Bilu Martin, MD is a board certified cosmetic dermatologist at South Beach Dermatology in Miami, as well as in Aventura, Florida at Horwitz Dermatology. Her colleague in South Beach Dermatology is Dr Stephen Mandy. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Bilu Martin completed her residency at the University of Maryland Medical System. She is the “Make the Diagnosis” editor for Skin and Allergy News online and a volunteer instructor in Dermatology at the University of Miami. Sought frequently by the media, Dr. Bilu Martin is quoted regularly on television and in print on topics in medical and cosmetic dermatology, and has been published extensively in medical journals.
What has been one of the biggest changes in dermatology?
One of the biggest changes in dermatology and medicine in general has been the advent and use of social media to communicate information to the public. Our two offices have facebook accounts that are regularly updated. I am on twitter @drbilumartin, and I also write a blog called “This Derm’s Life.” You tube is also huge. In addition, I follow groups like the American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin Cancer Foundation, and Skin and Allergy News to stay up to date on the latest technologies. Social media gives dermatologists the opportunity to convey not only new happenings and specials at the office, but also information on novel treatments and products, and tips on keeping skin healthy. The patient feels more in touch with the physician. That being said, patient privacy is paramount, and the internet is no exception to that.
What trends are you seeing in South Florida?
In an area where the heat is on and the clothes are off, women and men are very beauty and health conscious, and appearances matter. Most people come in asking for procedures that will not make them look “done.” They want to look rejuvenated, but still like themselves. I like to use a multifaceted approach focusing on skin texture, wrinkling, and pigment changes as well as correcting areas of volume loss.
What procedures are your favorites to perform?
I love to use neurotoxins to create an upper face that is smooth but still has movement, so it looks natural. The precise placement of conservative amounts is key to avoid the “frozen” look. I enjoy using fillers to achieve a pan-facial volumization of the face tailored to each specific patient, rather than just trying to fill a naso-labial fold. That’s where the real art of fillers comes into play. Paying attention to the aesthetic of each specific face is important – every face is unique and has different areas to be addressed. My absolute favorite area to fill is the lips. People are afraid of having the dreaded “duck lips” – a dead giveaway that you’ve had a treatment. I follow the natural contour and anatomy of the lips to stay true to the original shape and proportions.
What three products are “must haves” in any beauty routine?
The number one, non-negotiable, in anyone over 6 months of age is daily sunscreen. My favorites are MD Solar Science mineral sunscreen with tint for the face, SkinMedica Environmental Defense SPF 50, and La Roche Posay Anthelios. I also recommend an antioxidant serum or cream that contains ingredients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, green tea, coffeeberry, and niacinamide. I love the Revaléskin line with coffeeberry, NIA24 intensive recovery cream, and SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum. Finally, a retinol or vitamin A derivative helps prevent and reverse damage from the sun and aging. Pregnant or nursing women should not use vitamin A creams.
You must see a lot of sun damage in South Florida. Tell us about it.
Absolutely, and it always amazes me how many people my age and younger are still baking in the sun and using tanning beds, despite all the information and media awareness of how sun exposure is a risk factor for melanoma. Education is so important, especially for the younger generations. If we can stop the sun/tanning addiction from forming, we can save lives. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, but if caught early, it has an excellent prognosis. I speak at elementary schools to teach second and third graders how to protect themselves from the sun, and encourage them to spread the word. Campaigns like The Skin Cancer Foundation’s “Road to Healthy Skin Tour,” in which dermatologists like myself volunteer to conduct free skin exams, helps to raise awareness. Examining your own moles regularly for changes and seeing a dermatologist at least once a year helps ensure early detection.
What ways do you employ to reverse some of the damage?
For brown spots caused by sun damage, Elure Advanced Skin Lightening System by Syneron, a lightening cream that is hydroquinone-free, is highly effective. Retinols, or vitamin A containing creams, as well as creams containing azaleic acid, kojic acid, glycolic acid, and licorice can all lighten spots. Lasers, such as the intense pulsed light and Fraxel Dual Re:Store work well to improve spots with little down time. If there are chest wrinkles in addition to pigment changes, the Active FX laser, a fractionated carbon dioxide laser, can improve the appearance greatly. Remember, any brown spot that is new or changing needs to be examined by a dermatologist for skin cancer. And use sunscreen/sun safe practices to prevent future damage!