A patient asked me recently how I came to be an aesthetic physician. Since this relates directly to Women’s History Month, here is my story:
I did not grow up knowing that I wanted to be a doctor. I think the lives of doctors fascinated me for some reason. Maybe I just wanted to learn more about what doctors really do aside from how we are portrayed on TV. Back in the 80’s (ancient times now) I used my college years to figure things out...and after a summer volunteering with physicians in a hospital, I was hooked.
During medical school, I had the opportunity to spend a year in England doing my clinical rotations through surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, psychiatry and pediatrics. I was just at the beginning of figuring out where I wanted to be once I graduated. Those years were so formative in my decision process. It was such luck to work in an environment without insurance paperwork as I was learning the science of medicine.
Women had many options in the various fields but at that time, I chose Internal Medicine as my career path. This was the study and specialty of adult medicine with consideration to all the organ systems that support us...liver, lungs, heart, skin, brain, intestines etc. all of which were part of this field and potential areas of subspecialty later on.
I spent the next 8 years of internship, residency and fellowship in Oakland and San Francisco, delving deeper into the wonders of the body systems and then I found my calling: the critical care /intensive care unit or ICU. There, I saw my abilities to provide expertise to the most critically ill patients who were essentially dying right before my eyes and I got to be part of saving them! It was a magical privilege to work in the ICU with all the machines and monitors to support the lives of the sickest people in our communities. I trained to be a supportive and guiding force in the lives of my patients but also for their families who watched them day after day while they struggled for life. I saw how life is so precious and so easily taken away. My subspecialty became Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine...the fields of lung disease and critical care. Since many ICU patients are on life support machines called ventilators for breathing, it seemed fitting that the lungs would become my expertise.
For the next 25 years, I worked hard so my patients could live better lives. I poured my heart and soul into my work both in and out of the hospital. I became the Director of Respiratory Care Services and Pulmonary Rehabilitation at my hospital, an honor I did not take lightly. I thrived on teaching and supporting my patients on their health journey. I dealt with severe asthma, lung cancer, emphysema, bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis and countless other lung diseases on a daily basis...and all the deadly sequelae of many of them. The end of lives became a normal part of my day. Many of those lives I cared for over many years. It was difficult to let go of that piece of my life and identity for something completely different.
I became interested in aesthetic/cosmetic skin treatment as an additional career when I was acquainted with colleagues who were learning this type of work. I’ve always had a captivation for skin but never considered it as a specialty. I started taking weekend classes as early as 2002...the year that Botox was first introduced. I attended those classes with many local dermatologists and plastic surgeons who were seeking the first educational opportunities in this arena. There was not much training available back then. I knew as a pulmonary specialist I would be the “outsider” so I sought out credentials and learning opportunities every chance I got. This has continued to this day. I regularly attend conferences, hands on learning, online classes and host trainings at my office. I have learned that being certified doesn’t mean much unless you devote your life to continued education. To this day, there is no official certification in the Aesthetic Medical field. There is a special art form to this work that does not come automatically or naturally. It requires lifelong training and nurturing. For me, the end result of someone being happier or more confident in their appearance means that all of us who interact with that person will benefit. This is a bigger outcome than we think. That outcome continues to draw me in.
For years, I divided my time between the hospital and my clinic seeing pulmonary and critical care patients as well as cosmetic patients. I thought this was the perfect mix of careers.
Then...one night I was working late at my office trying to figure out how I could be a good doctor to my patients when I barely slept or functioned. I was floating through my days without seeing a healthy outcome for myself. I knew I had to make changes in my life. I had to make a decision of only one medical path. I chose to pursue the cosmetic, laser and aesthetic practice full time. So here I am many years later. I feel fortunate to have had two medical careers in specialties I love. I am now where I was meant to be. Every experience I have had in these two careers has led me to this current place. I am fulfilled in my work and accomplishments and look forward to many more years of medical practice.
Valerie Schneider M.D.
This was published by Alle, you can find the piece at:
We thought we would share it.
Here are 6 myths around Dermal Filler:
Filler Myth #1: All dermal fillers are the same.
Facts: The most widely-used filler formulas, including the JUVÉDERM® Collection of Fillers, are made with a modified form of hyaluronic acid (HA), a water-loving molecule that’s found naturally in the human body. There are five JUVÉDERM® products, and each gel-like formula is slightly different. Your provider will be able to assess which JUVÉDERM® filler can best help you reach your aesthetic goals. There’s beauty in having options!
Filler Myth #2: Dermal fillers will make me look like a different person.
Facts: The adage “too much of a good thing” can apply to anything in life — including filler! That said, when administered by a qualified injector, filler can add volume or help smooth the appearance of deep folds in a natural-looking way. Bonus: fillers like JUVÉDERM® come in a few different formats, which allows your provider to customize your results to your unique face. So, whether you have some serious lip goals, or you want a little bit of lift in your cheeks, there’s a way to make it happen — while still looking like your gorgeous self.
Filler Myth #3: Dermal fillers and neurotoxins are the same.
Facts: While neurotoxins and dermal fillers like JUVÉDERM® are both injectable treatments, they’re actually entirely different substances. (Read more about neurotoxins here.) If your goal is to plump your lips, cheeks, or laugh lines, a JUVÉDERM® product — not a neurotoxin — is your best bet.
Filler Myth #4: Getting filler can be a painful process.
Facts: Fear of pain shouldn’t be a reason to avoid injectable fillers if you’re otherwise gung-ho. In fact, most people say that filler feels like a quick pinch — totally tolerable! Here are some other things to keep in mind:
Filler Myth #5: Getting dermal fillers is a plastic surgery procedure that requires ample downtime.
Facts: Dermal filler is sometimes administered by a plastic surgeon, but it is not technically a surgical procedure. Rather, JUVÉDERM® is considered a minimally invasive treatment. Typically, you can go about your normal daily activities post-appointment (barring excessive heat or sun exposure, alcohol consumption, and working out, which should all be avoided for 24 hours post-injection). Note: you might experience mild swelling and/or bruising at the injection site — so it’s wise to schedule your appointment accordingly. (It’s probably not a great idea to get treated, say, the day before your wedding!) Once you’ve given your filler some time to “settle,” you’ll be left with the gorgeous results your injector intended to create.
Filler Myth #6: Filler will stretch out the skin.
Facts: If you’ve ever wondered, will filler stretch out my skin?, you’re not alone. The truth of the matter is this: when administered by an experienced, licensed provider, dermal filler should not stretch out the skin. If you’re seeing a licensed provider who is using a reputable product, like one from the JUVÉDERM® collection, your skin laxity should remain unchanged.
If you have any questions around any of this feel free to give us a call at 925-933-3194, we would be happy to talk, or schedule you for your consultation and find the right filler for you.
Chemical Peel Facts
1. Effective and consistent outcomes are our top priority. Relax in knowing that the correct treatment plan will be selected especially for your skin type and concerns.
2. Our CA skin peels are blends of well-tolerated, safe and effective peeling ingredients to break down
surface build up on the skin. Skin will glow when used in conjunction with our customized daily care regimen.
3. A myriad of benefits result from regular chemical peel treatments. Our customized chemical peels increase the skin's cell turnover rate, bringing new skin cells to the surface, reducing signs of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and clearing breakouts.
4. Chemical Peel Myths & Misconceptions
Myth: There are long periods of downtime associated with professional peels.
Truth: Superficial, blended peels with anti-inflammatory and hydrating ingredients create little to no downtime.
Myth: Higher Fitzpatrick skin types can not tolerate professional peels.
Truth: Many superficial, blended formulations are suitable for all Fitzpatrick types.
Myth: Peels can not be performed in the summer months
Truth: Peels can be performed safely year round maintaining skin health and a year-round glow.
5. Consumers are often mistaken thinking that if a little something is good, more is better. This is especially untrue when it comes to treating the skin. Triggering irritation and inflammation with overly aggressive peels will only worsen, not correct the problem. If the goal is healthy, beautiful skin, PCA's 25 years of experience in formulating peels will deliver results.
I recently hired some new staff in my office. This is always a good time to review our processes and procedures to improve our actions. One issue comes up frequently in our new training. We put much effort into our forms, but do patients even read the consent forms they sign?
These are times of quick convenience and efficiency. Many patients now find it an annoyance to read or sign a consent form. Most patients unfortunately sign forms without really reading or even knowing what is in them. I’ve never understood how someone can go through a serious medical procedure without even reading what the possibilities are. It is very important that this field of medicine works to change that for the good of everyone. There is no medical procedure or treatment without risks and potential benefits. Everyone knows the potential benefits because we look at those pictures or videos that show us what we want to see for ourselves. The problem is, those same videos and pictures do not show us the risks, the potential complications or who is even a good candidate for the treatment they are promoting. Those points are critical in deciding who can even get a treatment or what their potential outcome may be.
I have patients who come into my clinic now with phone in hand asking for a result they see on a video but not understanding or even wanting to understand the implications of doing that procedure. Sometimes, they are not a candidate for that treatment or cannot accept that the product they want is not appropriate for their skin. Other times, they continue to ask for something that I have already established as not an option for them. In those moments, I often think about how desperately they want something and they would sign any form that says anything to get it.
Consent forms are a formality and an opportunity that must be emphasized in our patient physician relationships. Appropriate discussions are needed to establish candidacy for a treatment before the treatment takes place. This is the reason for a consultation. It gives both doctor and patient the opportunity to ask questions and understand all the implications of a treatment before it happens. It is a valuable time to see if my goals are aligning with my patient.
Patients need to read their consent forms thoroughly, understand them, ask questions and be prepared for possible side effects. This is the nature of consenting. When we sign a consent, we have decided as an individual that the potential benefit is worth the risk of the potential side effects of that treatment. Likewise, the post care information is helpful and should be carefully followed in order to get the best outcome. There should be ample time for all of these discussions. Doctors need to assure that patients are reading their forms and spend the time addressing any concerns before a procedure takes place.
Having spent many years practicing in the field of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, I can tell you that all treatments have potential problems. No two bodies are alike or respond the same way, even in the most experienced hands. I find that some patients in the aesthetic field are so eager to get a treatment done, they do not follow the pre treatment recommendations, often are not forthcoming with their answers to important screening questions and are less than enthusiastic about following a post treatment care plan. All of these issues create an unnecessarily higher risk procedure for that person.
I hope this will help everyone create an open dialog while consulting with your physician about potential aesthetic treatments. It is perfectly acceptable to decline a treatment whose side effects are not bearable to you. Spend the time to read your treatment forms and discuss any questions with your doctor. Being prepared for a treatment enhances the experience. This is beneficial to everyone.
Dr. Valerie Schneider
I Just returned from a national conference in Las Vegas called the Aesthetic Show. I wanted to attend this conference because it is different from many other academic conferences. The technology is new, cutting edge and in some cases, not yet FDA approved. It’s kind of the “PIE IN THE SKY” conference of what is to come for our field of aesthetic medicine.
For those who need a little explanation of the term FDA approved...basically, when a product, technology or procedure is FDA approved, that means it has had medical studies to determine a correct and accurate dose, treatment protocol and best practice. When something is not FDA approved, it does not mean it cannot be done, it just means there are no studies to determine an optimal protocol for treatment.
For those who do a lot of work in our field with combined treatment modalities, trying new things together that never were thought to work, creating a new treatment or product from older technology or newer products, I salute them for being the explorers. I am glad there are people like them to test the waters before the rest of us set out to use that technology. I could not be that person but I am glad someone else is!
I’ve been cautious in life but that doesn’t mean I won’t try something new. Quite the contrary. I try new things all the time. New does not equal better. I want to see that the something new has more to offer than what is existing in order to incorporate it into my practice. Experience means something. (For example, we know and have a lot more experience with the effects of aspirin than we do with the Covid vaccine.) I want to know that there are supportive studies comparing it to the current norm. I want to see that those comparative studies show that this new item is actually better or does something additional to what we already have in place.
For example, many clinics now do microneedling. This is a common procedure now but a decade ago, no one knew what it was. I should know, I was one of those early pioneers of microneedling in our area. When I started this years ago, I could not find any other practitioners to collaborate with. Now, everyone does it. But, it is not all equal. There has been a wave of RF radio frequency devices now on the market to supposedly enhance the results of what microneedling already does. Well, guess what? There are no studies to show that RF microneedling is better than the type of microneedling we do in my office (which is different from others). Prior to Covid happening last year, I was in the process of designing just such a study! Obviously, that idea got delayed because of the events of the last year but I hope to restart that project at some point in the future.
I am optimistic that there will continue to be new techniques and devices to improve our anti- aging battles into the future. I love to be in the know, but I want to know that the treatments I will use on myself and my own patients are well established and provide a new or added benefit to what we are already doing.
Valerie Schneider MD
Selling for just $22.00
Our Soothing Green Tea Scrub is specially formulated to deliver a soothing wave of heat as it gently removes dry dead skin cells, excess oils and residue to reveal healthier, younger looking skin.
Click this link to order yours https://www.lucentaesthetic.com/store/p40/greenteascrub
Our Walnut Creek medical office is pleased to be among the first and only provider in our area offering Microneedling with Omni Bioceautical's breakthrough anti-aging Growth Factor Serum which sets our treatment apart from others, and can be used on any type of skin when administered by Medical Micro-Needling.
Additionally, our service stands out from others as we use the RejuvapenNXT, which is one of the only instruments in the field to achieve the FDA 510k clearance. Rejuvapen is an innovative and effective micro-needling system that uses a specialized “pen” containing a cartridge with nine small needles that treat hyperpigmentation and scarring caused by acne.*
Rejuvapen is also used for other cosmetic purposes such as smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, enhancing collagen production to create firmer skin, and even reducing the appearance of stretch marks.*
*This video is using a model of ours and individual results may vary.
More information available at https://www.lucentaesthetic.com/micro...
Any questions feel free to ask below, and we will get do our best to answer.
Or feel free to call us today at 925-933-3194
The new Alle loyalty program from Allergan has replaced the old Brilliant Distinctions program. Please migrate your account from old to new so you do not miss any deals! A reason this is so important is you can now get loyalty points for other procedures and purchases such as Laser, Micro-Needling, skincare & more.
Need any help with this don't hesitate to get in touch with us at 925-933-3194
Important Details Around Allergan’s National Botox Day 2020 Offer Are Below:
On November 18, 2020, Allergan is celebrating their second annual BOTOX® Cosmetic Day! This is an incredible patient offer for members of Alle℠, the new and improved loyalty program.
Lucent Aesthetic warmly welcomes Mindy Peterkinson to our clinic. Mindy is a licensed aesthetician specializing in Hydrofacials, Brows and Lashes, Microdermabrasion and much more!
See her introductory special by heading over to our events & updates area of the site. Keep your eyes peeled over there for our other monthly specials, offering, & events.