Susan Bard, MD, a cosmetic and medical dermatologist at Vanguad Dermatology in New York City, loves what she does, and as a result, patients naturally gravitate toward her.
“I love taking care of people and I love making people feel good about themselves,” she tells Beauty in the Bag. “ There is something about talking to patients and listening to their stories. It’s not just about their skin conditions, but about their life and experiences. I love being able to provide answers and solutions to their questions and skin conditions.”
The best part? “I love even more when they return back to the office after I’ve treated a condition and they are satisfied and excited about the results.”
Bard completed an internship in internal medicine at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and a dermatology and cutaneous surgery residency at the University of Miami. Bard also completed a clinical research fellowship in Pediatric Dermatology as well as a Procedural Dermatology Fellowship at Skin Laser and Surgery Specialists in New York where she further trained in Mohs micrographic surgery and reconstruction, and laser and cosmetic surgery.
She answered some questions about her practice, passions, and fascination with the use of lasers to treat birthmarks for Beauty in The Bag.
How do you define beauty?
Beauty is both objective and subjective. Some universal objective standards of beauty do exist; however, when it comes to specifics, beauty is vastly subjective depending on the culture and on the individual. My approach to beauty differs for each patient. What looks “beautiful” on one patient may not complement the features of another patient.
What is your signature procedure?
I’m a big fan of lasers. I find they can impart maximal benefit with minimal downtime. I’m particularly fascinated with vascular lasers and have recently authored a textbook on the Laser Treatment of Vascular Lesions. Lasers allow you to customize your approach to the skin based on individual patient needs, and can provide extremely successful results. On thing I love about lasers is that they can treat redness caused by rosacea or sun damage, angiomas, spider angiomas, birthmarks such as the port wine stain, and redness associated with scars.
How did you get started in the beauty business?
Throughout my medical training, I’ve come to realize that when people look better they really do feel better. Studies have shown that patients with chronic illnesses that are visibly obvious tend to suffer more depression as compared to other patients. For example, many breast cancer patients found losing their hair was more psychologically traumatic for them than losing a breast. This always intrigued me, and made me want to help make the world a more beautiful place. I wanted to help all of those that were struggling with skin conditions, lack of self-confidence and poor skin. I wanted to help treat them and help them feel comfortable in their skin.
What sets you apart from others in your space?
I understand that beauty means being comfortable in your own skin. For some that means owning your “flaws” for others it means altering them. I will never tell a patient “what’s wrong with them” rather I’ll ask them what, if anything, about their appearance displeases them. I like to learn about my patients needs and help find a solution that will help them achieve their overall goals and expectations. I listen to my patients and learn from them, so I can provide the best opportunity and experience during their visit.
What charities do you support?
As a Mohs surgeon, I wholeheartedly support the great work of the Skin Cancer Foundation. I love that it is the only international organization devoted solely to education, prevention, early detection, and prompt treatment of the world’s most common cancer. I also support Camp Discovery, which allows children with chronic and debilitating skin diseases to interact with other children with similar skin conditions and nature.
What is the most exciting trend that you are seeing these days?
I think people are moving away from surgical procedures and are opting to take a less invasive route. There’s a newer generation of cosmetic injectable fillers made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in your skin that helps add volume and hydration. Since they are synthesized from a naturally occurring substance already in your body, hyaluronic acid fillers carry little risk of allergic reaction unlike older injectable filler products made from bovine (cow) collagen. People are also starting to think about anti-aging interventions earlier on and are taking a more preventative approach.
Any procedures or products you see as “game-changers?”
Non-invasive fat reduction technologies have really taken off. There are several technologies already on the market utilizing freezing, ultrasound and radiofrequency to destroy fat, but I think there’s a lot more to come and I’m excited to see what the future will bring!