The Future Of Beauty: “People who want their appearance to reflect their vibrant and healthy lifestyles”, With Dr. Houtan Chaboki

An Interview with Candice Georgiadis

The basics of good skin care and healthy appearance do not change. While a plastic surgeon might be able to help a person look their best, nothing replaces lifestyle choices to maximize your health and appearance.

As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Houtan Chaboki, MD.

Dr. Chaboki is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon based in Washington DC. His practice Potomac Plastic Surgery sees patients who travel for various cosmetic procedures. Dr. Chaboki earned his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University and his MD from the University of Illinois in Chicago in 2000. After completing his residency in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, he served as a facial plastic surgery Fellow. He continues to instruct other physicians in both facial plastic surgery fundamentals as well as more specialized techniques in facelift, eyelid surgery, and rhinoplasty. He takes an individualized approach with each of the men and women he treats, spending considerable time on each consultation to discuss both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options. His expertise includes preservation rhinoplasty, rejuvenation of the face, neck, and eyes.

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?

As is likely the case with many physicians, I enjoyed the sciences, but wanted more direct human interaction. I greatly enjoyed my time helping and volunteering at the local hospital when deciding on a career path. Based on my undergraduate engineering background, I knew I wanted a more technical and procedural-oriented specialty as I studied in medical school. I gravitated toward the field of facial plastic surgery due in large part to the encouragement from my mentors throughout medical school and surgical training. The field of facial plastic surgery has proven to be especially rewarding.

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

We see many movers and shakers in our Washington DC practice. I’m lucky to see patients from all walks of life, even some on television, celebrities, and social influencers. Privacy is critical to us, so I can’t share specific stories. However, I’m reminded that everyone has similar cosmetic concerns.

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?

Taking reasonable risk is vital for growth. Early in my career, I spent a considerable amount of time and resources building an online presence. The upfront cost and commitment were very high, but has paid off over time.

Another key lesson is the importance of developing your own vision, instead of following the crowd.

For example, a majority of plastic surgeons likely perform open rhinoplasty where a scar is placed between the nostrils to fully expose the nose, as this type of cosmetic nose surgery is easier to learn. However, I perform primarily closed, preservation rhinoplasty. This closed technique is more difficult to learn, but generally results in less swelling and creates smoother results for patients.

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?

Well, I met my wife during surgical residency in New York. After getting her MBA, she was working very hard as a banker at a prestigious financial institution, while I was working long hours at the hospital. Despite our busy schedules, we managed to find some time to enjoy what that fabulous city has to offer.

I could not have become a successful facial plastic surgeon without her. She continuously challenges me, instead of just saying “don’t do that”. Her tough support made me stronger throughout the journey. In addition, the critical feedback never ends in one’s professional life. We continue to bounce ideas off one another in an honest manner as we both pursue our respective careers.

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?

Something I think that might surprise many of your readers is that my patients are not primarily focused on looking more youthful. We also don’t use the term “anti aging” or try to get our patients looking younger. Rather, we’re seeing people who want their appearance to reflect their vibrant and healthy lifestyles.

In major metropolitan regions like Washington DC and one of the top fitness areas of the US, we see many patients who report not looking healthy despite eating well and exercising regularly. They complain of looking beaten, down, worn out, or tired. These professionals are optimizing their health with diet and lifestyle choices and want to also look healthier and more vibrant. Plastic surgery in our cosmetic practice is one part of the spectrum of personal optimization, which includes other aspects of health, grooming, and style.

Regarding technology in particular, we use unique combinations of relaxers (ex. Botox), cosmetic fillers, platelet rich fibrin (PRF), chemical peels, and surgery to help individuals look like a better version of themselves, not necessarily different.

Platelet rich fibrin (PRF) and micro infusion are the newest technologies being applied to cosmetic medicine to help improve one’s appearance by mitigating hair loss and improving skin.

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?

We encourage looking your best self. It’s important to know when to slow down cosmetic treatments and not go too far with any treatment. Patients can sometimes run the risk of going over the tipping point from natural to over done without the thoughtful evaluation of a plastic surgery specialist. You can be just one injection from too much!

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

Nothing yet compares to or replaces surgery. Significantly loose skin still needs to be lifted and trimmed. However, plastic surgery may be delayed or a reasonable alternative may be possible given recent developments in nonsurgical technology in the aesthetic space.

Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF). Many dermatology and plastic surgery practices already perform Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), but we are one of very few offices that offers PRF for cosmetic applications. There is some evidence that PRF may be better than PRP. We use PRF for hair loss, under eye bags, and skin rejuvenation. PRF is a natural treatment, without any additives.

PRF is a quick nonsurgical procedure where a small amount of the patient’s blood is drawn and immediately processed in the office to separate its component platelets, stem cells, and fibrin from the red blood cells. The PRF is then injected into the desired areas.

Micro Infusion. Micro Infusion is another new procedure used in plastic surgery offices. Micro infusion applies a custom cocktail of skin relaxers (ex. Botox®) and hyaluronic gels (ex. Belotero®) directly into the superficial dermis. Micro Infusion is significantly different from traditional micro-needling procedures.

The entire procedure takes less than 30 minutes with almost no downtime or recovery. Micro Infusion treatments can soften fine lines and wrinkles and deliver “glowy” skin.

Old dog, new tricks. Plastic surgeons are using existing injectables, such as Botox and dermal fillers, and surgery in novel methods. For example, relaxers such as Botox are used in a new method called “lip flip” to help create a pout without adding lip volume. Another example is nonsurgical rhinoplasty where fillers are used to temporarily reshape the nose without surgery. I’m using traditional cosmetic upper eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) techniques to surgically treat migraine headaches. Lastly, I use endoscopic sinus surgery techniques throughout the nostrils to decompress the bulging eyes of patients with Graves disease, to help limit external scars.

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?

  1. Safety. As new treatments become available, plastic surgeons continue to assess the safety of each treatment. Cosmetic and aesthetic medicine should enhance one’s quality of life without unnecessary risk.
  2. Over promise/under deliver. New technology comes and goes as patients and surgeons realize that the initial potential failed to deliver as promised. It’s important to carefully vet new technology and understand what the typical range of results will probably be,
  3. Patient zeal. All plastic surgery patients should still have a little apprehension when having cosmetic treatments. What exactly is being done? Who is performing the procedure? It’s important to do your research.

To improve the beauty industry, I want to see disclosures whenever a physician (plastic surgeon, dermatologist, etc) or medical provider promotes a specific brand. Are they being reimbursed by a company? Prior to presentations in scientific meetings, all presenters are required to disclose conflicts of interest. Physicians in the office should also disclose potential conflicts to patients.

Another method to improve the beauty industry is to require mandatory ongoing training to ensure proper education as new techniques and technology become available.

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.)

The basics of good skin care and healthy appearance do not change. While a plastic surgeon might be able to help a person look their best, nothing replaces lifestyle choices to maximize your health and appearance:

  • sun protection
  • healthy diet
  • adequate sleep
  • no smoking
  • hydration
  • gentle skin treatment

I once had a patient who wanted a full facial rejuvenation procedure with cosmetic eyelid surgery, neck lift, and face lift. This patient had significant skin laxity and excess fat, so nonsurgical options such as Botox or filler wasn’t really an alternative option. She was a smoker, and I asked her to quit otherwise I couldn’t do surgery due to her increased risk of infection and scarring. Quitting smoking had been very difficult for her previously. However, she was motivated to have the plastic surgery. She ultimately quit smoking prior to surgery and did not resume after she had her full face lift procedure. She looks and feels much better due both to her plastic surgery and quitting smoking. Other evidence supports that plastic surgery is a strong motivator to help patients make positive changes to their lifestyle.

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. 🙂

Eat more plants.

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

Education never ends. As physicians and surgeons, we care about continually improving our craft. By studying and teaching, we ultimately improve the care we provide patients. Top plastic surgeons continually study.

How can our readers follow you online?

In addition to our cosmetic surgery practice website (https://www.potomacplasticsurgery.com), we’re on all the major online networks

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


The Future Of Beauty: “People who want their appearance to reflect their vibrant and healthy… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.