During the pandemic cosmetic surgeons across America have found themselves and their services in higher demand than usual. And one of those surgeons is Dr. Daria Hamrah, a double board certified oral and maxillofacial / facial cosmetic surgeon based just outside of Washington.
According to Dr. Hamrah and others, more and more people are wanting their faces/necks slimmed down and other items on their faces fixed so they look “better” on all these video conference calls they have to do more of these days where their faces are filling an entire screen.
Disrupt spoke exclusively with Dr. Hamrah about becoming a cosmetic surgeon, what’s been going on these days during the pandemic and all about his skincare line he recently launched that has celebrities & patients and others glowing with results!
- How did you decide you wanted to become a cosmetic surgeon?
I started off from tumor and reconstructive surgery, corrective jaw surgery, traumatic fractures or laceration of the face and the skeleton, pathologic diseases and head and neck cancer reconstruction. Facial Cosmetic Surgery deals with the aesthetic aspect and beautification of the face. Once I realized that all these patients will need further cosmetic corrections to improve their aesthetic outcomes, I realized that my job was not done yet. But for the readers to better understand why, I have to explain how I got into the field to begin with. Since I was a kid I wanted to become an eye surgeon, probably because I had eye surgery myself at age 4 and the surgeon was my father’s best friend from medical school who was like an uncle to me. So fast forward to my first clinical lecture at the University of Mainz in Germany, my professor shows a slide of a newborn with a cleft lip. OMG, I was shocked! It was something that I had never seen before. My first thought was, how could god do this to an innocent child? While still in shock, the next slide showed the after photo with the repair of the lip. It looked so amazing and the baby looked beautiful. It was in that very moment that I decided to do the same for the rest of my life. Since that day I have been on a mission which as a matter of fact led me to co-founding a Foundation called “Alegria” (Spanish for “Joy”) with a Colombian classmate of mine. Our foundation deals with charity and mission work in South America treating children and young adults with cleft lip and palate and facial deformities. I cannot tell you how rewarding it is and how much purpose and happiness it gives me knowing that we have the ability to change people’s lives without asking for anything in return. As to Facial Cosmetic Surgery, which I perform in my private practice in the Washington D.C. area, my mission and purpose is to help my patients regain their self esteem and self confidence. It truly means the world to me knowing that I can help them with their transformation.
- Why should someone by your Hamrah Aesthetics skincare products over others?
I am not here to tell you that my skin care product is better than anyone else’s. However, what I can tell you is that based on my skin care work and experience, which includes anti-aging treatments like laser treatments, chemical peels, radio frequency skin tightenings and much more, I have spent my career in understanding the biology of the skin and the physiology of the aging process. So, it was important to me to have products that compliment the skin care goals and improve the general outcome of my treatments on an individual basis. Rather than using generic products with combinations of ingredients that might not be beneficial, I chose to custom design ingredients for every skin type and condition. The beauty about my product line is that it is a complete line. No more mixing and matching, no more confusion and only products with ingredients that are scientifically proven and FDA approved are included in my line. No fluff (although my patients love the packaging and design). So my skincare line includes products for anti-aging (like wrinkle prevention/ reduction and treatment of pigmentations), acne treatment and for healing after laser or chemical peels. Based on the decade of your life, every skin type needs specific ingredients which include different serums and vitamins that change the composition of your skin cells and the collagen. So it’s not one single magic cream that fits all skin. For my patients to better understand this concept, I explain it the way that not every illness is treated with the same medication. In terms of quality and manufacturing, I have been working with an US company (all products manufactured here in the US) with a team of dermatologists and scientists that specialize in composing different combinations of ingredients that I recommend and choose based on the current science. It has been a long work in progress with many testings and fine tunings to get the right product combination out. So it took me about 10 years to bring out my current line. As to quality control, all my products are FDA approved and my brand “Hamrah-Aesthetics” brand is trademarked.
- What types of surgeries do you find the most enjoyment performing these days?
In general I like surgeries that are challenging and demand a lot of creativity and technical skill like a rhinoplasty for example. But to be honest, I love all my surgeries. My operating room is my sanctuary. My favorite surgeries are the ones that have a story attached to them. I remember I had a patient who was a single mom and had not been dating in 10 years because she felt she looked too old, even though she was only 45 years old. She wanted to have a facelift really bad but was scared because she was extremely fearful of the aftermath. When she finally had her surgery with me and we were looking at her before and afters, and she looked stunning by the way, she started balling! At first I was worried she didn’t like her results, upon which I asked her why she was crying. Her answer was: “I can’t believe I waited this long to have my face lift done! It never even hurt! I wasted 10 years of my life!”… Only less than a year later she came to my office with her new boyfriend and was in love and a total different person. That’s what makes me happy.
- During the pandemic, which types of surgeries are on the rise?
As to the COVID pandemic, there has been certainly an uptick in patients coming to me for rhinoplasties (nose jobs) and my popular “Hamrah Facial Slimming” procedure that in essence removes excess fat from the face and neck coupled with tightening of the sagging skin using a new radio-frequency device. As more and more people spend time on ZOOM and FaceTime, they start noticing imperfections and traits they dislike. They simply spend more time than ever looking at themselves and notice things they hadn’t before. The two most common complaints are: “ I don’t like my double chin!” and “My cheeks are sagging!”. For most patients below the age of 45 years, the treatments include cheek and neck fat removal together with “non-surgical” skin tightening using radio-frequency technology. For patients above the age of 45, common treatment options include face and neck lift which is a surgical option. As to “new trends” most of them don’t really work and are not recommended, at least by the more experienced clinicians (which I consider myself one of them). They simply are what they mean, “trends”. Many of them have come and gone in the past, like “Thread-lifts”, and don’t work and capitalize on the hype, until people that had it realized it didn’t work. So, I don’t offer my patients something that I wouldn’t do on my own family.
- How do you feel or know that your practice has disrupted the facial cosmetic surgery industry?’
I attribute that to two factors. 1. Results. They just don’t lie. Social media has helped me to create a platform where I can showcase my art and craft. Not only do I post before and afters, but moreover I show my audience how I do it and educate them. It is very important to me that even patients that I might never see because they live in a different country or continent, don’t fall into someone’s trap or make the wrong decision. I feel it is my ethical obligation to do so. Honesty and transparency is the most important thing when you build trust and rapport with your patients. I decline just as many patients as I accept and am very honest about whether or not they need a certain procedure or not. The second factor is technology that has to do with education. You have to keep up with the latest technology and look at it critically and don’t just adopt something that is not proven and worse doesn’t work. Also knowing a particular indication for a technology or a procedure is important and simply goes back to experience and education. We are students of the field and learning never stops.
- Any tips for those wanting to launch a skincare line or beauty product?
It takes a lot of time and patience. You have to know the science behind each ingredient and understand the physiology and anatomy of the aging process in depth. It takes a lot of trial and error and sure won’t happen overnight. At the end of the day, you have to be passionate about it and just start the process.
- What is your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal is to be able to continue transforming my patient’s lives with what I do and help develop new techniques and technologies that help us improve patient’s outcomes. More importantly though is to expand our charity foundation “Alegria, Foundation for Cleft, Lip and Palate” to more countries around the world and help children and young adults, who were born with hereditary defects and in need of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Also, I am contemplating starting a fellowship training program in facial cosmetic surgery as I had many requests in the past couple of years by surgeons around the country and the world asking me to teach them the art and science of facial cosmetic surgery. I love educating and learning and am currently writing my 4th book chapter to a multi-volume international cosmetic surgery textbook already. So writing is another passion of mine and I might continue contributing to the literature.