> Becoming a Thought Leader

Spotlight On: Leslie Baumann, MD, FAAD

1. How did you know you chose the right specialty in dermatology?

I have always been a fan of skincare and science; therefore dermatology was a natural choice for me. When I was a young girl I would read all of the biographies about Elizabeth Arden, Helena Rubenstein, Estee Lauder, Charles Revson, Mary Kay and all of the other great skincare entrepreneurs. Biology and chemistry were my favorite classes and I knew I wanted to be a doctor.

When I went to medical school and then did my four years of specialized dermatology training, we did not have hyaluronic acid injectables and the FDA had not approved Botox, so I did not realize when I chose dermatology that I would be able to use my artistic side in my medical career. When I was asked to perform the FDA research trials for the approval of Botox for frown lines in 1998, I was honored to be a part of the beginning of the creation of an entire new field in medicine.

When I wrote my textbook, Cosmetic Dermatology (McGraw Hill 2002), it was the first textbook in the world that described how to perform Botox and filler injections. It was translated into over eight languages and I was invited to lecture around the world. Since that time, the book is in its second edition, is available in 12 languages, and remains the bestselling cosmetic dermatology textbook in the world.

I have had the privilege to perform the research trials that led to approval of most of the new aesthetic procedures including Botox, Dysport, Sculptra, Juvéderm, Restylane Silk, Bellafill and Voluma. I am now very involved in research on body contouring devices to remove body and chin fat and reshape the body. I was involved in research on products such as Kybella (the new injectable to remove chin fat), UltraShape, Liposonix and other fat removing injectable technologies that will be seen in the near future. I really adore what I do because there is so much variety and I get to be the first to know about and use the latest technologies.

Last year, I started a new company called Skin Type Solutions Franchise Systems. It is a turnkey science- and education-based retail system designed to help doctors sell skincare in their offices. I look around the world for the latest skin care technologies and test them on patients with various Baumann Skin Types. I then chose the best products from various brands and combine them to form a prescription skincare regimen for the patient. The doctors who participate in the Skin Type Solutions system can access the latest skincare regimens and provide the regimens and educational information to their patients. I personally train all of the doctors’ aestheticians to keep them up to date on the latest skincare products and cosmetic procedures. I really love to research and teach and my new company allows me to share my knowledge with participating aestheticians and doctors. There is information about this retail and educational system at STSFranchise.com. I know that I chose the right specialty in dermatology because I am never bored and always inspired by the latest science. I get to fulfill my desire to help people, to teach and to learn.

2. What is the mission of your company?

Skin Type Solutions Franchise Systems is designed to provide unbiased Medical Advice on Skincare® to patients, aestheticians and physicians. We are not a skincare brand. Instead, we independently study skincare brands and procedures to help patients, aestheticians and physicians chose the best products and procedures for each Baumann Skin Type.

3. What is the best way for dermatologists to get educated on new products and treatments that are on the market?

My latest book, Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2014), reviews the science of individual cosmeceutical ingredients and helps the dermatologist determine which ingredients are best for the 16 different Baumann Skin Types®.

4. What are the challenges in introducing a new product and drawing interest from fellow dermatologists?

I do not personally develop or launch products. For years, I have served on advisory boards and performed research trials for over 55 skincare companies. Now my focus is on independently evaluating the technologies and teaching aestheticians, patients and dermatologists which technologies really work and are right for them. The dermatologists and aestheticians that are part of my franchise rely on me to help them find and test the latest products and procedures. I also rely on them to help me find and test new technologies and share the findings with the entire group.

5. What has been the greatest difficulty you’ve encountered while starting and maintaining your own dermatology practice? In the skin care business?

In the past, I found that keeping staff educated on the most current procedures is challenging. This is the reason I developed a standardized way of educating the physician, aesthetician, staff and patients. The STS Franchise system improves communication, compliance and patient outcomes.

6. What do you feel is the key to a successful career?

Do what you love. Do not chose a specialty based on potential income, chose your career based on what interests you and inspires you. Money cannot make you happy. Helping people always makes you happy. Try to choose a career that allows you to help people and contribute to society. Look for mentors that you respect and listen to them. Read, read and read some more. Learn from the experiences of others. Always be honest and never do anything to erode trust. I joke that integrity is expensive because you have to turn down a lot of offers, but in the long run you will be much happier. So, remain ethical and true to yourself. Never give up! Listen to your instincts and educate yourself as much as you can on a variety of topics. And if all else fails, breathe and remind yourself that you are doing it because you love what you do! You will get you through the hard times and appreciate the success even more because of the challenges it took to get there!!!!!!! As my favorite writer Proust says, (paraphrased), “A history of insomnia is necessary to truly appreciate a night of sound sleep.”