What inspired you to pursue a career as a dermatologist? Growing up in Naples, the sun has been a part of my everyday life. My father was a charter fisherman out of Chokoloskee, so many of my childhood memories are on a boat. Unfortunately, Irish skin and inadequate protection from the sun are not a great combination. I had my first basal cell carcinoma at the age of 21. I liked many of my rotations, including surgery, internal medicine, and my research in oncology. With my prior exposure to dermatology as a patient, I did an elective dermatology rotation as a third-year medical student. Bingo! Dermatology was the perfect field for me. It allows me to practice in a field that combines many aspects of other fields that I enjoy. It is a very gratifying specialty where I feel I make a difference in the lives of my patients every day.
What are your specialties? I enjoy seeing a wide spectrum of dermatological conditions, providing medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, and cosmetic dermatology expertise. The ever-improving technology allows me to detect very early skin cancers using dermoscopy with skin examinations. This allows me to then treat and cure skin cancers on a daily basis. At our practice, we use a variety of lasers, fillers, neurotoxins, and other devices to address cosmetic concerns. I pride myself on providing these services with the goal of achieving a naturally youthful appearance.
What are some of the highlights of your career? My career has been very fulfilling. At New York University, I had amazing and extensive hands-on training as a medical student and was honored to be inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. Residency at Vanderbilt University provided excellent and vigorous training, treating many of the most complex dermatological conditions and performing intricate surgeries. At the end of my chief residency year, I was humbled and thrilled to be elected the departmental Lloyd E. King “Teacher of the Year” award. Since joining The Woodruff Institute, I have had many highlights involving patient treatment which makes each day at work very meaningful.
What are three things a patient can do to maintain healthy skin? In the morning, apply an antioxidant such as a serum with Vitamin C or E, followed by an SPF of at least 30 (every day!) to avoid and repel DNA damage. Reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially important to do every 80 minutes while outside sweating and in direct sunlight. At night, apply a thin layer of a retinoid-based product as tolerated to improve texture, tone, and clarity of skin.
Do you have advice for preventing the signs of aging without spending a fortune? Prevention is key. Regular use of SPF topically and skin protective clothing (broad-brimmed hats, sun shirts, glasses, etc) will reduce the development of wrinkles, sun spots, skin thinning, skin fragility, and many of the other issues that affect skin as we age. In addition, drink plenty of water, eat a well-balanced diet, and get enough sleep.
What do you include in your own skin care regimen? Every morning I use SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic
antioxidant serum followed by Elta MD Physical tinted sunscreen. At night I use a retinoid three times per week. Dermatologists experience skin conditions just as our patients do, so I also use products to improve my melasma or treat acne when needed. I also wear Coolibar driving gloves every day to keep my hands wrinkle and spot free. Trust me – it makes a world of difference!
What are the most common procedures you perform? What are the ones you most commonly recommend? Skin cancer treatment is the most common procedure I perform. In addition, I regularly inject fillers, neurotoxins, and perform laser procedures. BBL or IPL for overall even skin tone and a youthful appearance is one of the most commonly recommended procedures from which nearly all patients benefit.
What inspires you most in life? I went into medicine to help people, and every day I hope to make small improvements that will make our world a better place in which to live. My incredible network of family and friends help keep me motivated and inspired to continue this lifelong pursuit.
What do you like to do for fun? I love the Florida outdoors and spend a lot of time with my family and dogs. When I am not at work, you might find me exploring on my bike (full disclosure – sometimes my E-bike) or on a kayak. My husband and I are passionate about animals and animal rescue. We help transport and foster dogs in need. Whenever possible, I try to travel to new places and learn from other environments and cultures. In the future, I hope to travel even more and surround myself with rescue animals.
What do you enjoy most about working at TWI? As a Naples native, I love helping our community be a happier, healthier place to live. I have an incredible team around me, which keeps work very enjoyable.