“Facelift-like results without the risks or downtime of surgery” With Dr. Scott Gerrish

The beauty-tech industry is a very exciting space right now. If you thought the iPhone generations changed quickly then the pace of cosmetic laser advancements is very eye-opening. Technology that was relevant last year may now be just a great dust collector in the office. With continued advancements, we will see what is impossible become […]

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The beauty-tech industry is a very exciting space right now. If you thought the iPhone generations changed quickly then the pace of cosmetic laser advancements is very eye-opening. Technology that was relevant last year may now be just a great dust collector in the office. With continued advancements, we will see what is impossible become possible. Maybe, just maybe, someday technology will sideline facelifts for good.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott Gerrish.

An award-winning internist, Scott Gerrish, DO, provides noninvasive and minimally invasive medical cosmetic treatments to men and women at IYA Medical in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Gerrish’s status as a key opinion leader in developing technology and treatment protocols gives him priority treatment and early access to the newest technology from large equipment manufacturers in the aesthetic industry.

Dr. Gerrish graduated from the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Illinois before completing his internal medicine residency at George Washington University in Washington DC.

An East Coast medical spa owner, international speaker, and medical director of the East Coast CoolSculpting University (CSU), Dr. Gerrish has 20 years of experience in the aesthetic industry, including working with laser companies to assist in the development of advanced laser technologies.

His work led to the adoption of Dr. Gerrish’s CoolSculpting protocol, and he is responsible for training over 4,000 medical professionals around the world on CoolSculpting practices and techniques. In addition, Dr. Gerrish developed the miraFresh protocol to dramatically increase the comfort and efficacy of the treatment and was among the first physicians in the United States to use the Juvéderm® dermal filler as a participant in the Juvéderm Phase IV trial.

Dr. Gerrish and his family made Scottsdale, Arizona, their home in 2019 to bring the services of his award-winning East Coast medical spa to the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

During my medicine residency at The George Washington University in the mid-1990s, there was the unique opportunity to work under a local cosmetic surgeon who just opened one of the first medical spas in the United States. While the laser technology back then was nowhere near what it is today, I fell in love with the integration of lasers and their applications in medicine/cosmetics. Upon completing my residency, I concentrated my entire medical practice on lasers, their applications, and their advancements in cosmetics.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

In 2009 I had the opportunity to purchase the commercial building where my medical practice was located. It was an amazing opportunity but it came with one catch. The owner of the building also owned a salon that was operating within the building. The building and the salon came as a package deal. A physician owning a salon? It might sound a bit crazy, but I did it. Owning and managing the hair salon has been the most challenging task in my career. After several rollercoaster years, I finally downsized and streamlined the salon to a manageable level that properly complemented my cosmetic practice. In the process, I learned about highlights, lowlights, perms, keratin treatments and much more. But, in all seriousness, it’s nice to have a business that pays a mortgage vs rent.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

There has been a number of critical tipping points throughout my journey but one specific event has been, by far, the most significant. While building my offices in Virginia, Maryland, and DC, I also began to utilize my mechanical engineering degree to consult with manufacturers to improve their laser technology and protocols. For reasons most strongly linked to humility, I kept my contributions quiet. It wasn’t until 5 years ago that I began to reveal my contributions, some of which were game-changers in the non-invasive cosmetic industry. It was at that point my practice began to grow at record levels. I have always deemed myself as being humble. I thought that marketing my accomplishments seemed like bragging. What I learned is that there is great value in sharing your accomplishments in a factual manner. And, when done correctly, it is 100% different than the promotional “look at me” statement.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are several individuals who have heavily influenced my career and helped propel me to the success I enjoy today. I do however feel the greatest help I have received did not come from just one individual. The greatest help has come from the team members that surround me. Without their support, the whole practice would fail. While the magic happens in the treatment room with highly experienced practitioners, none of it would be possible without a strong, dedicated, hardworking support staff.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?

We are living in a very exciting time when it comes to current and evolving technology to combat and reverse the signs of aging. In the past, technology has been the limiting factor in obtaining consistent and substantial results. For instance, in order to lift and tighten the skin, we need to deliver heat into the deeper layers (or dermis) of the skin while not overheating the top layer (or epidermis). Until recently, technology was unable to effectively bypass the top skin layer and achieve deep collagen heating. That dilemma has changed with the introduction of the breakthrough technology of Profound RF, by Candela. This technology is incredibly exciting and now allows us to safely create substantial remodeling of the collagen that results in drastic lifting and tightening of the skin. We are now one giant step closer to facelift-like results without undergoing the associated risks or downtime of surgery.

Another very new and exciting technology that launched this year is electromagnetic muscle stimulation for strengthening and toning major muscle groups of the body. The latest and most powerful addition to this field is the CoolTone, by Allergan. CoolTone is FDA cleared for toning the muscles of the stomach, buttocks, and legs. While the cosmetic benefits of muscle toning is exciting, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. With increased muscle mass, we increase our metabolism and burn fat more effectively. With a stronger core, we see improvement in lower back pain. Additionally, it has been fun to watch our patients advance in athletics and exercise performance from the CoolTone’s induced muscle tone and strength.

Keeping “Black Mirror” and the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

With advancing technology it is more important than ever to go to an experienced provider. While the vast majority of the newest technology has built-in safety parameters, inexperienced, careless, or rushed treatments can result in irreversible damage leading to permanent scarring. We all like sales, bargains, and getting “a deal.” When it comes to the one and only body we are given, I would only trust your treatments to the most experienced hands vs. the most budget-savvy price.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?

The beauty-tech industry is a very exciting space right now. If you thought the iPhone generations changed quickly then the pace of cosmetic laser advancements is very eye-opening. Technology that was relevant last year may now be just a great dust collector in the office. With continued advancements, we will see what is impossible become possible. Maybe, just maybe, someday technology will sideline facelifts for good.

One of the most exciting developments in the recent introduction of regenerative medicine into cosmetics. Lasers and all energy-based devices work by creating a highly controlled injury within the skin. The positive changes we are trying to achieve rely on the body’s innate healing response. As we age, our ability to heal and repair is not as robust as in our youth. Utilizing regenerative techniques via growth factors and cytokines, we are boosting the body’s capabilities to repair and create significant changes that would otherwise be unobtainable.

Most importantly, the battle of fighting aging is won on a daily basis. That fact places a lot of weight on the daily skincare we use. The advancements in topical regimens have been amazing. From growth factors to peptides, to sunblocks and more, we can now fight aging with creams that create meaningful changes.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?

The noninvasive to the minimally invasive cosmetic field has exploded over the last 2 decades. As the field continues to grow and expand, entrepreneurs and medical professionals are opening new medical spas to benefit from the high demand. While most practitioners become highly qualified, there are those few that are delivering treatments that are not qualified to safely and effectively deliver these services. Even more concerning is the shift in the business of medicine. Early in my training, medicine was a service that was delivered based on medical need. With the evolution of the Medspa industry, we are now seeing some practices determine the need for these services being dictated by business or commercial influences vs medical appropriateness. It is very important for patients to fully vet their practitioners.

As the cosmetic industry grows at rapid rates, the manufacturers are feverishly designing and selling new technology. Over the years there have been a number of devices that have been very disappointing in either safety and/or effectiveness. As the expression goes, one rotten apple spoils it for the bunch. Flawed or overhyped technology can create consumer doubt and compromise the integrity of the industry. In order to protect the standard of care, we will continually need to rely on the FDA, state medical boards, and fellow physicians to meticulously evaluate and self-regulate the growth and direction of the industry.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

That is an excellent question and I would first like to call out the differences between feeling beautiful and looking beautiful. Looking beautiful is in the eye of the beholder but feeling beautiful comes from within ourselves. Early in my career, I concentrated all my efforts on addressing the physical aspects of beauty. As my career progressed I gained invaluable insight from a number of patients that truly looked beautiful but honestly didn’t feel beautiful. It was at that point I began to link ‘feeling good’ with ‘feeling beautiful’. So here are my top 5 ways to feel beautiful/good and it might not be what you would expect from a cosmetic physician:

Nutrition is the sole pathway for fueling our bodies. Not only will healthy eating slow down the aging/disease process through decreased systemic inflammation but the right foods will improve the look and health of the skin in addition to increasing energy, mood and the feeling of wellbeing.

Exercise is very important in maintaining our cardiovascular health, physique, muscle tone, balance, flexibility, and much more. Beyond those major benefits, exercising increases endorphins and neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are the body’s natural chemicals to make you feel good.

Additionally, meditation slows the aging process by significantly increasing melatonin and DHEA and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. Like exercise, meditation also increases dopamine and serotonin. Meditation is a wonderful practice to calm our mind and connect to ourselves and restore confidence to meet the challenges in life.

Feeling beautiful is not just limited to our bodies, the clothes we wear have a significant impact on the way we feel about ourselves. Picture yourself in a tee-shirt and sweatpants. What are you doing? How do you feel? Now picture yourself in a business suit or formal dress. Notice the difference in how you feel? How we dress impacts not only our mood and confidence but also how we look and feel about ourselves.

Lastly, with aging, we all see changes in our appearance that we don’t like or that reminds us of our parents. Whether it’s a jowl, a wrinkle, or just an overall tired look. With today’s armament of technology we now have the capability to reverse those signs of aging to help feel and look our best. To complement these results, an effective physician-grade skincare regimen can take one’s skin tone and complexion to the next level.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Over the last 25 years, I have seen tens of thousands of patients. The one thing I am most grateful for is the physician-patient relationship. Once that door closes, the defenses drop and the flood gates open. Conversations that would not be had with best friends or spouses are now being discussed with me. Overall these years and conversations, the one thing that truly stands out is that we all struggle with feeling beautiful. If you self-reflect, we are harder on ourselves than we would be to our worst enemy. Why do we beat ourselves up? Why are we never enough? Why do we not feel beautiful when we are? If I could create a movement, it would be to give people the tools to feel and be beautiful.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote comes from Dr. Brene Brown and the following is in her own words:

“You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both. They are mutually exclusive. Anything great that has ever been attempted is a result of people choosing courage over comfort. In our self-gratifying minds, we may wish for a life of relative ease and comfort. But nothing of significance has ever been attempted or accomplished this way. Courage, on the other hand, gives us the vision to see what others cannot see, to pursue what others would not dare to go after. Courage combined with faith relieves us of the fear of taking risks and gives us the guts to attempt great things.”

How can our readers follow you online?

Readers can follow me at www.iyamedical.com or www.drgerrish.com

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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