Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dr. LewisAmy B. Lewis, M.D. graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania. She then received her Medical Degree, with the highest honors, from the Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Lewis then moved to the New York area for a medical internship at Cornell/New York Hospital and completed her Dermatology residency at Downstate Medical Center as Chief Resident. She returned to Yale for a fellowship in Dermatological Laser and Reconstructive Surgery. After completing this specialized training, Dr. Lewis began working in private practice, while also performing several clinical studies pioneering Dermatological lasers at the Washington Institute for Dermatological Laser Surgery. She then settled in Manhattan, where she has built a premier private practice specializing in Cosmetic and Laser dermatology.
Learn more about skin expert Dr. Amy B. Lewis in this introductory Q & A.
What is your greatest achievement?
When I decided to go to medical school, a shock wave rippled through my extended family. I grew up among immigrants and their children, holocaust survivors, and intelligent people who just barely completed their secondary education. Neither of my parents had the opportunity to go to college. “Ivy League” was not in their vocabulary. My mom stood behind me, championing my aspiration to go to the University of Pennsylvania, which nearly incited a divorce between her and my father. Ultimately, my mother won, as mothers should, and I attended UPenn. By the time I went to Yale Medical school, my father had passed away, but I believe he would have been proud. Evidently, I was the only one in my class who did not have a close relative in the medical field to act as a mentor or role model. However unfair this might have seemed, discouragement was not an option nor an interest for me. I forged ahead, determined to break down doors myself.
But this is not my biggest achievement.
I am a single parent to three amazing teenage daughters, all of whom ironically have passions and ambitions completely different from mine. Not one of them wants to follow in my footsteps, and they are all so talented in their right. Each one went to competitive audition-only professional performing arts high school, and my eldest is an awe-inspiring performer pursuing a career on Broadway.
I have struggled to try to maintain the balance between my professional career, my responsibilities as a mom, and my own personal needs. (yoga, travel, etc)
I have fought to push through obstacles in my life, but have encountered many more in helping my girls to navigate their world in pursuit of their passions. I will never forget my mother standing firm against the family insisting that I go to whatever college I choose. My biggest accomplishment is that I was able to do that for my three girls. I have encouraged them to pursue their dreams, not mine. I continue to support them, fight for them, and applaud them on their journeys. They are my greatest legacy. Any contribution I make to help them achieve their own unique happiness and success is and will forever be my greatest achievement.
What is the future of your field?
There are so many non-invasive, affordable options available that help keeps us looking younger, refreshed, and natural. Going “under the knife” is no longer the only way, or even necessarily the best way, to rejuvenate the face or body. The “name of the game” is two-fold: First, there is a multitude of lasers, devices, fillers, neuromodulators, and anti-aging serums that will diminish and reverse signs of aging. The trend is to start a long-term plan to obtain and maintain the results and help combat further damage as the years roll on. As trust builds, the patient and the provider form a team, adding to or modifying the treatment protocols based on new technologies, or the demands of the aging patient. The second trend is new but no less important. It is the movement called ”Prejeuvenation”. As we have learned so much more about how we age, it has become clear that collagen production decreases after age 25. It may take a decade or more to visibly notice these changes, but they are creeping up on you every day. What used to be inevitable can now be prevented. Chemical peels, IPL, microneedling, neuromodulators, and retinoids are just some of our options. I like to explain that you are gaining equity by starting early. You will never get those deep lines like the rest of the family and will need less intervention in later years. Protecting your skin and actively pursuing a tailored treatment plan in your 20s will help maintain elasticity and boost collagen production as you age.
What is the biggest misconception about your field?
The biggest misconception is that anyone can inject a filler or a neuromodulator as long as you read a book or watch someone else do it. It is a skill that takes years to master and even the most practiced injector is constantly learning and improving their techniques.
It is essential to study facial anatomy, attend conferences and training to learn from your peers. You will not only learn what to do but, more importantly, what not to do. Learn from others’ mistakes to hone your skills. I love teaching residents and beginning injectors and watching them grow in confidence and ability along the way.
The pandemic ended this special interaction, so I watched a lot of webinars and had virtual meetings with my colleagues. The learning never ends, and it validates experience, expertise, and the art of perfecting my craft. The pandemic shutdown drove me to spend more time on social media. Scrolling through Instagram, I saw many injectors who were ostensibly not highly trained. Many were injecting haphazardly into danger zones. I gained a new respect for the fact that some areas, techniques, or tools should only be reserved for experienced injectors. Many are unaware of unwanted effects or more serious potential side effects, such as blindness and vascular occlusions. I learned that the art of my craft demands the art (talent/creativity) and craft (skill/experience) of the practitioner.
What are your most requested procedures?
“Botox” (neuromodulators) and fillers are two of my most requested procedures. One of my specialties is the liquid facelift, which is a combination of fillers to lift and sculpt the face to turn back the clock. Aside from injectables, I am frequently asked about my unique combination therapy of microneedling RF, immediately followed by topical application of a mixture of biostimulators and micro-botox. Ultherapy (ultrasound skin tightening), Vbeam (vascular laser for rosacea, broken capillaries, and bruising), IPL (for pigmentation), and CoolPeel (for fine lines, texture, and pigmentation) are other common treatments. I am one of the few offices in New York City to have the new EmSculpt-Neo which builds 25% of muscle, while simultaneously reducing 30% of fat. This new machine is a game-changer for body sculpting. Imagine the effect of 20,0000 sit-ups in the half-hour you are relaxing during your session!
What surgical advancements are you most excited about?
I am excited about effective non-surgical procedures with minimal downtime and associated risks. Silhouette instalift suture suspension is a minimally invasive technique that can lift the jawline and tighten the neck with little to no downtime. The results last approximately two years and can be combined with many other modalities.
What are you best known for?
I call it a liquid facelift. To use an analogy, my patients are like a canvas, but each of them is unique in their features, symmetry, and proportions. So, it is extremely important what fillers and toxins I choose as I have found these “tools” have different properties and purposes. I take advantage of their unique differences, the “paintbrushes” and the “palate of colors” to create a beautiful work of art designed for each individual patient. In my employment of this technique, I have achieved amazing results for my patients.
It is especially gratifying when I help patients with extreme asymmetry who want to avoid major surgery (e.g. breaking a jawline to reset). I have had tremendous success due to my use of different fillers and toxins for different concerns. It’s life-changing for my patients, as they no longer feel compelled to hide their faces. It’s a non-surgical repair with no downtime and no recovery.
What is your most memorable patient reaction?
I recently had a patient in her 70s who never had any filler or toxin before due to a fear of needles, but who was no longer happy with her appearance. I numbed the patient thoroughly with topical lidocaine and also used ethyl chloride spray to numb topically before injecting. The patient was thrilled that she didn’t feel anything. After a few syringes of filler, I showed the patient her face in the mirror and she instantly started crying. The patient stated that not only did she feel beautiful, but she finally felt like herself after 20 years of feeling like she looked like a different person. Being able to not only make the patient comfortable enough to overcome a lifelong fear but also to provide her with life-changing services was an incredible experience for me and remains an amazing memory.
What sets your practice apart?
My office is not a factory. I make time getting to know my patients, their goals, their fears, and their budgets. I build a rapport with my patients and often with the entire family. I have had many patients for 15 years or more. We are on this journey together. My approach isn’t just what you need today, but what the plan is from today on. I am on the cutting edge, offering my patients the best, newest, and improved treatments while relying on science to create a medical skincare regimen. I have served as a consultant or advisory board member for all the major aesthetic companies. This gives me a lot of insight I can pass on to my patients.
I am trusted by my patients and often steer them away from unnecessary treatments.
What do you love most about your profession?
I love the interdisciplinary aspect of cosmetic dermatology, the merging of art and medicine, and its significance for people who want and/or need it.
What defines your career?
Improving the skin and confidence of my patients, and even changing their lives.
What new services are you excited to offer?
We are proud to offer BTL EMSculpt NEO, the premier non-invasive body sculpting treatment that combines advanced technology to simultaneously build muscle, burn fat, and tighten skin. For example, a 30-minute abdominal session equals 20,000 crunches!
We also introduced Cartessa’s SmartXide Tetra CO2, one of the most advanced laser technologies to perform a broad range of treatments, featuring the CoolPeel™. It’s an “under the radar” fraxel with fast healing, no pain, minimal risks, and much better results.
QWO is the first FDA-approved treatment to reduce cellulite. Need I say more?