DermaSpa MD – The Art & Science of Cosmetic Medicine
At FS Local, we love telling stories of Canadian small business. And while they exist across in every town and city across the country, DermaSpa MD isn’t your usual mom and pop shop; it’s a physician-directed skin and laser treatment clinic operated by the daughter-mother team of Drs. Zahra and Perviz Alidina.
We sat down with Zahra to talk about what drove her to become a doctor, the genesis of DermaSpa and what it’s like working with her mother. (Spoiler alert: it’s fantastic.)
As a hirsute man, I admitted to Dr. Alidina that I wasn’t all that familiar with the goings-on of a laser and skin rejuvenation clinic. But with the precision – and bedside manner – of a highly-trained doctor, Zahra filled me in.
At DermaSpa we treat patients for all types of cosmetic skin concerns. Our purpose is to provide customized skin analyses, consultations and treatments. These treatments are non-surgical so the patients have no downtime – they might include laser skin rejuvenation, acne treatment, or laser hair removal.
“Our doctors specialize in helping patients achieve a natural and refreshed look so a large part of what we do at DermaSpa includes cosmetic injectable treatments for anti-aging. Many clinics delegate these procedures to other health providers such as nurses, however at DermaSpa our docs always provide these treatments for patients.”
DermaSpa offers these treatments to clients who, by virtue of their jobs or lifestyle, demand high quality skin care but don’t want to be out of commission following the procedure.
“We find that our patients are busy professionals – they don’t have time to stay home for a week after a procedure and they really want a procedure that’s going to improve their skin without requiring them to alter their life schedule. And we’re able to offer treatment for a lot of cosmetic skin conditions, like acne, rosacea, and sun damage. We also remove skin tags, we use botox for excessive sweating, and we treat veins on the legs as well as on the face. And we do it all here in the clinic.”
In order to meet the demands of their clients, the two directors of DermaSpa have ensured that the clinic employs the very latest in specialized equipment. Industry-leading technology includes the Cutera Prowave Laser Hair Removal system, which delivers treatments like Laser Genesis Skin Therapy and the Limelight Facial, as well as the VISIA Skin Imaging system, which provides unmatched detailed dermatological diagnostics and analysis.
But while both the technology and its operators deliver results, it’s the training and experience that the Drs. Alidina bring to the cosmetic clinic that drive its success. For 7 years before DermaSpa opened in 2010, Zahra and Perviz were partners in a traditional clinic in the same building. Zahra laughs when she explains that combined, they have 50 years of experience in the medical field. I ask about how and why Zahra made the jump from a medical clinic to a cosmetic one.
“My mother and I both just love the art and science combination of cosmetic medicine; to get people looking natural and to give them the look they really want, I love that combination. It is extremely rewarding.”
From an early age, Zahra knew she would become a doctor – in addition to her mother, Zahra’s father is also a practicing physician – but she’s quick to point out that her fate was not pre-ordained:
“They never actually said to me ‘you should be a doctor’, but my parents are such good role models that I just innately wanted to follow in their footsteps. They’re the reason – she’s the reason – I knew I wanted to practice medicine.”
I wonder if there’s a chance Dad would come on board at DermaSpa, but according to Zahra, while he’s a an excellent physician, cosmetic medicine isn’t his area of interest.
I ask if this is was the motivation behind starting DermaSpa in the first place.
“My mother and I have always been interested in cosmetic medicine. We’re both perfectionists and we always like to put ourselves together well and we understand the importance of putting your best foot forward. We recognize the difference it makes to your self-confidence to look good – and more importantly, to feel good. So as a result, we’ve always been interested in how to achieve that naturally, and with the fewest side effects.”
Indeed, the physical space that DermaSpa occupies affirms the truth in Dr. Alidina’s statement. Featuring a warm, inviting reception area – complete with fireplace – DermaSpa offers an oasis to on-the-go clients. Consultation and treatment rooms also offer a soothing environment that’s positively spa-like.
I ask Zahra if she misses working at the medical clinic, but there’s nothing to miss – both Drs. Alidina continue to work in the family practice and spend time treating patients there every week. As easy as it is to bridge the gap between the two clinics – they’re in the same building – Zahra explains that it’s important for her to continue working at the medical clinic and why that’s good for her cosmetic clients.
“I like to have a really good understanding of the whole body and it really helps that I integrate that into skin medicine. The skin is affected by many different systemic medical conditions and to be able to understand the entire body and focus it on the skin really allows us to give our patients the best treatment possible.”
Dr. Alidina goes on to explain how cosmetic medicine was actually born of the more traditional medical fields, like dermatology and aesthetic surgery and that many cosmetic medical doctors maintain practices that see them deal with more medically driven cases like burns or reconstructive surgeries.
Mother and daughter continue to work together in both clinics, attending conferences throughout the year and regularly meeting to bounce ideas around.
“Working with family does have it’s challenges,” Zahra explains, “however I’ve been so fortunate because she has such excellent clinical judgement and I trust her 100% and to have a partner like that is very rare.”
And of course, beyond the unique mother-daughter relationship at the head of DermaSpa, Zahra explains that there’s an entire staff devoted to the success of the business.
“We have a great team. We have two medical estheticians, Sonja and Reena, and we also have a registered massage therapist named Peter and our manager is Nancy. It’s a very smooth process when you come in for your consultation and treatment and the team is what makes the difference.”
While the idea to become a doctor and work in cosmetic medicine may have been formed when Zahra was just a girl, DermaSpa MD opened relatively recently, in 2010. When asked about prospects for the future, Dr. Alidina is clear.
“Our goal was to create a clinic where we could treat patients and integrate our knowledge of the body with our specialized knowledge of the skin. And we wanted to treat patients as we would wish to be treated. When we’re ready to expand, we may. But right now our plan is to really put our focus on giving the patients in our area an excellent and comfortable experience. We really love what we do at DermaSpa.”
That’s the sort of business we can get behind.
DermaSpa MD is a cosmetic medical clinic offering a wide variety of treatments including laser hair removal, customized anti-acne and anti-aging solutions, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, botox and more. Check out their FS Local profile and Visit the DermaSpa website for more details. The clinic is located at 1450 Kingston Road in Pickering Ontario. 1-855-837-SKIN]