You feel really good when meeting Dr. Melissa Doft in her New York surgery, actually, you really get into her aesthetic already when browsing through her website, who shows images of faces and body pics that are naturally, interesting and have unusual perspective, not typical for a plastic surgery site. Dr. Melissa Doft was voted as a Rising Star in the New York Times. She graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth College with Rufus Choate Honors, where she studied Biochemistry and Art History.
IRMA: My dermatologist once said to me that I am lucky to have acne: this way, he can prescribe me a retinol cream. He also said I should use that all my life, a little moisturizer- ditch all the other creams and get a facelift after 50 with the money I saved on expensive face creams if I think I need it then. Was he right?
DR MELISSA DOFT: I love this quote! It is very rare for a dermatologist to suggest going to a facelift. I do think that retinol is the best ingredient for the aging face. It is the only ingredient with such stellar clinical studies. Once a patient starts seeing extra skin and sagging around their jawline, a facelift is the only answer. Nothing else comes close.
IRMA: I have some female friends that keep their beauty procedures a secret because they are ashamed of doing something so “un-feminism” – what would you say to them?
DR MELISSA DOFT: This question comes up often. Usually less so amongst friends and more so between a mother and daughter. Many of my patients who are mothers do not want their daughters to feel like they have to fix something and that they are born beautiful without needing any alteration. But on the other hand, now we have options which we never had before. And these options are becoming more and more prevalent and less and less risky. For most patients, there are one or two areas of their body which they are less comfortable with, why not change that and feel more confident? Being a feminist is about feeling confident and bold in our new world. If a little plastic surgery makes you stand taller, stand straighter, and feel stronger, isn’t that what being a feminist is all about?
IRMA: Are women doomed to modify their bodies and faces to every trend that comes up? From duck lips to big tush? Or are patients these days more interested in finding their own style/features?
DR MELISSA DOFT: I think both are true. There are many women looking to be part of the latest trend which would involve exaggerated lips or butt augmentation. But there are other women who are seeking classical proportions. Similarly, they are plastic surgeons who are more on-trend, and there are those of us who believe that classic proportions will never go out of style. I always draw my influence from proportions which have stood the test of time and which we see over and over again from the Greek marble statues to more modern art. I advise all patients to avoid new trends as those styles can become passé.
IRMA: What is the biggest fear for a plastic surgeon?
DR MELISSA DOFT: Having an unhappy patient.
IRMA: How do you find out what your patient REALLY wants?
DR MELISSA DOFT: I spend a long time with the patient in consultation to really try to understand their ideals and goals. Many patients will bring in photographs of other women or body parts which they find attractive. Sometimes I morph the patient’s photos to begin a dialogue as to what I think would look beautiful and what they think would look beautiful. Having a similar aesthetic is crucial in achieving an outcome in which we are both happy.
IRMA: Is there a perfect face for everybody?
DR MELISSA DOFT: No. There is also a baseline facial skeleton that each of us has, which is often challenging to alter. But there are certain things which everyone likes like a well-defined jawline, a beautiful long neck, full lips, open eyes, asymmetric nose, a chin which is in balance with the nose. The key to a perfect face is definition, balance, and symmetry.
IRMA: What do you like about your face/body, and what do you not like? Are you gonna fix it?
DR MELISSA DOFT: There are always things that you like and do not like about yourself. And sometimes things that you used to like, start to change. I think the best features on my face are my eyes, high cheekbones, and an easy smile. Luckily having high cheekbones helps you a lot with aging. But I know it will not help me forever and then I will probably do something about it.
IRMA: What is the favorite part of your make up routine? And why?
DR MELISSA DOFT: I am very minimal with regard to my makeup routine. Our use Clé de Peau concealer under my eyes, Guerlain bronzer, Fresh sugar lip gloss and run out the door. I have also been working on a skincare line for the past three years, which I love to use at night and in the morning. This is really my secret weapon. It’s not ready yet for retail-but I am hoping to share it in the future.