What is the first thing that bugs you when you look in the mirror in the morning?
I’ve been in the cosmetic medicine industry my entire career (thirty-something years) and I have learned a thing or two. I have learned alot about people and how people feel about the way they look. As with much of life, the best lessons come by making a mistake. Here are just a few. I have a million of them.
Mrs A: Hi Doctor Van Dyke, I hope you can help me!
Me: Good morning Mrs A, I am so happy to see you. I am sure that I can help you. We can easily remove that large wart on your nose!
Mrs A: What wart? I want you to plump my lips.
Lesson #1: Listen first. What is an imperfection to one is not even visible to another.
Identical Twin #B1: My sister and I are here to treat our wrinkles. I want my crow’s feet softened. We would like to have our consult and treatments together.
Me: That sounds great. Since you are both identical as any twins I have ever met then we can talk about a similar approach to both of your crow’s feet issues.
Identical Twin #B2: Wait a sec, I don’t care about my crow’s feet, I think they show that I like to smile. I want my lip lines gone.
Identical Twin #B1: What lip lines??
Lesson #2: Everyone is different and feels differently about what their appearance means to them. Identical on the outside is not at all identical on the inside.
Ms C: I am so unhappy about this horrible large pore right in the middle of my face! Make it go away!
Me: Let me take a look, can you point out where your concern is? I really am not seeing a problem at the moment.
Ms C: Right here! Can’t you see that? I can’t stand seeing it when I put my makeup on with my 10X magnifying mirror.
Lesson #3: If I can’t see it I probably can’t treat it but that doesn’t mean it is not important to the patient.
Mrs D: I have this little scar on my cheek. Can you help me?
Me: It is very small, I really don’t think that anyone but you sees it. To be sure it is there but is it worth treating?
Mrs D: I got that scar when my abusive boyfriend hit me, every time I look at it I feel sad. I would be so grateful to wipe it away to help wipe away bad memories.
Lesson #4: Some imperfections have huge emotional impacts that we may not realize.
Me: I totally relate to why you want to tighten and firm your skin. You and I have similar skin and exactly the same amount of skin laxity. I am planning to do my non-invasive skin tightening procedure next week.
Ms E: I know I have laxity and that is what I want to do. But, I don’t think you need anything!
Lesson #5: We are frequently much harder on ourselves than on others. We may see our own imperfections before we see them in others.
I have had so many opportunities to learn. Things are not always what they seem. Looking at another through my eyes is not always a reliable indicator of how you see yourself. We are often hypercritical of ourselves. We can be forgiving of others. We don’t know the heart of another by looking.
Communication is the biggest part of my job. Listen, understand and never judge. Care about the reason’s that people want to do a cosmetic procedure and adjust accordingly.
I find that a great question to ask is: What is the first thing that bugs you when you look in the mirror in the morning?
I seem to get the most pure answer from the heart. Then we go from there.