by Stacia Friedman
Toby Shawe, MD, admits to being 62. But her beautifully contoured face says 42 and holding. “I’ve been giving myself Botox injections for years,” said the Wyndmoor dermatologist whose forehead is as smooth as a lake, eyes are devoid of saggy lids, cheeks have enviable volume and jawline is firm but without the unnatural, waxy look of plastic surgery.
“Too much surgery and pulling on the skin is what gives that masklike appearance,” said Shawe, who has been helping patients achieve a more youthful, natural appearance without surgery since 1994. “I’ve been using lasers to correct age spots, wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, enlarged pores and improve irregularities for over 20 years,” she said. “The latest development in laser resurfacing is the Fractionated CO2 Laser. I love it.”
How is it different? The CO2 Laser doesn’t affect all of the skin at one time. Instead, it targets microscopic segments while leaving other parts untreated. However, the overall effect is the appearance of fresh skin cells over the entire face and, if desired, neck and chest.
“I have used the CO2 Laser to take 20 years off the face of a 70-year-old, including reducing puffy, saggy eyelids,” said Shawe. “There is no pain because the treatment includes a cooling device, and we use topical anesthetics. The down time is only four days during which there is no pain, only sensitivity for which we prescribe a calming gel.”
For locals who spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, on the tennis court, playing golf or out on their boat, Dr. Shawe says an annual CO2 Laser treatment in the fall reduces sun damage. She is quick to point out that not all sunblocks are created equal. “If your sunblock doesn’t contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, replace it with one that does,” she said. “And use it every day throughout the year. Harmful rays occur even on cold, cloudy days in winter.”
Hate your neck? Dr. Shawe recommends Ultherapy which uses ultrasound to lift the skin of the neck, under the chin and on the eyebrow. Without cutting the skin, this new therapy stimulates the growth of collagen as it lifts, tightens and smooths the skin. It works by heating the deep layers of skin below the surface. It does take two to three months to see results, but Shawe describes the results as nothing short of “phenomenal.”
So, is there any aging skin problem that requires surgery? “Yes,” said Dr. Shawe if someone is over 60 and has very, very loose skin, he/she will not get the desired results from non-surgical methods.
Want to stop the conversation at your next dinner with the girls? Tell them you are going to freeze the fat off your body! “Coolsculpting is a technique that permanently kills fat cells by cooling them without any pain,” said Shawe. “It works best on people who are just 20 to 30 pounds overweight, not if you’re morbidly obese … It reduces the number of fat cells in your body, but it only lasts as long as you maintain your weight. If you gain, the fat will return.”
What else is in the dermatology tool box? Intense Pulse Lights (IPL) that blast away those pesky age spots from face, chest and hands. PicoSure, a special laser for rejuvenating all skin types, plus the darker skin (Asians, Hispanics, African Americans), and Kybella, another method of killing fat cells, this time from the chin. It’s a non-invasive alternative to liposuction.
After menopause, many women notice their formerly full hair is thinning out. Dr. Shawe has seen successful hair restoration from the use of Plasma-Rich Protein (PRP) which uses the patient’s own blood. “We draw blood, spin it down and inject it into areas of the scalp. This is done in three treatments, three months apart, along with oral medication to encourage new hair growth … As we age, there is a change in our sweat glands causing us to become dehydrated but not feeling thirst. I tell my patients, if you want to maintain youthful skin, you need to drink eight glasses of water daily, even if you don’t feel like it.”
Born in Manhattan, Dr. Shawe receiving her B.S. Degree from Columbia University and her M.D. in Lille, France, where she met her husband and business partner, Dr. Samy Badawy. After graduating magna cum laude, Dr. Shawe completed six years of training at Hahnemann University Hospital. Her degree is in both internal medicine as well as dermatology.
For the last 16 years, Dr. Shawe, who also has an office in Bucks County, has maintained another part-time office in California. “I see patients in California for one week every two months. I think I’m the only bi-coastal dermatologist in the country. The Cabernet there is really good.”
Dr. Shawe has affiliations with both Roxborough Hospital and Chestnut Hill Hospital. She also offers family practice residents at Chestnut Hill Hospital the opportunity to go into her office and learn additional skills in medical and surgical dermatology. For more information, visit www.skinsmartderm.com or call 215-836-7212.