For her first injectable wrinkle reducer appointment, Janelle Vega, MD, board-certified dermatologist in Miami, Florida, and co-founder of BIA Life℠ found herself face-to-face with her mother as her injector. “My mom is a dermatologist,” Dr. Vega explains with a laugh. Dr. Vega was 25 at the time, and had reached the point of being an intern in her medical career.
She had become concerned about her forehead lines, which had seemingly etched themselves in place overnight. For this, she decided to discuss treatment options with her “doctor.”
“My mom looked at me and said, "I think it's time for you to start [injectable wrinkle reducer]," shares Dr. Vega.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetics specialists now.]
Deciding to heed her mother’s advice, Dr. Vega got her first aesthetic injection. After just one treatment, she was thrilled with her results. “My mother [treated me with] injectable wrinkle reducers, and when I went back to work, everyone said [my results looked great],” says Dr. Vega.
These days, Dr. Vega, 38, is the one with a needle in her hand, treating patients with injectable wrinkle reducers daily at Mayoral Dermatology®. For as long as she can remember, the University of Florida College of Medicine graduate says she knew that her career would turn out this way. “I always wanted to be a dermatologist,” she adds. “I entered medical school with that exact intention.” Unsurprisingly, as someone who has greatly succeeded in her dream field, she has a lot of tips and advice on all things skincare, medical aesthetics, and more. Keep reading to learn all about them and the Miami native!
Spotlyte: What’s your favorite part of being a dermatologist?
Dr. Janelle Vega: For me, it's when I can treat [patients for] something that's [concerned] them for years. When you know the right place to use filler or the right way to use a neurotoxin, [patients] are just so relieved about [treating] something that has been an issue for them for so long. Sometimes, people will burst into tears when they see themselves. Oftentimes, whatever [a patient] visits me for has been something that's been a fixation for them. So, [the] ability to [help them] is just so rewarding.
[Editor’s note: Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, it has potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if it’s right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetics specialists now.]
Spotlyte: Walk us through a typical day for you.
JV: I have a dog, so I usually take him out, feed him, and then I go to work from about 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Then, I come home and exercise, catch up on emails, do work for my other projects, and go to sleep around 11:00 p.m.
Spotlyte: Is there a specific treatment that you feel is trending among your patients right now?
JV: I get a lot of requests for lip filler. That’s definitely one of my most popular treatments. In terms of skin, a lot of adult women have acne, and not a lot of people talk about it. They cover it up, but they're stressed about it. For women in their twenties, thirties, and forties, I definitely do a lot of acne treatments. So, I do a lot of resurfacing treatments [for acne]. And I put [many patients] on topical product programs to help clear up their adult acne and the scars that come from it.
Also, patients often come in [with an issue] and they don’t know what exactly they need [to fix it]. But based on their anatomy, I can figure out where they are losing volume, and I can replace it. I do a lot of that, but I don't think that's something people request, in a sense. They kind of just say, "I look different. Help me."
Spotlyte: Since you do a lot of lip injections, what is your number-one tip for someone who wants to get their lips injected for the first time, but is nervous?
JV: The number one thing is to make sure that the injector, if it's a doctor, is board-certified in their field. Making sure you're in a safe environment, meaning you’re with a [provider] that knows how to deal with potential complications, is my number one tip.
Spotlyte: How can someone make sure they end up with the aesthetic they want when it comes to injectables?
JV: There are all types of different looks that people want. Each injector has their own style. Make sure you're looking at their before-and-afters, and see if they match your aesthetic. If you see someone that's making a lot of big [changes], and that's not the style you're looking for, that's probably not your injector. If you want a more [subtle] aesthetic, make sure you look for an injector that has that type of style.
Spotlyte: Do you have any advice when it comes to successfully communicating the aesthetic you want with your provider?
JV: Have photos of the look that’s in line with what you would want to be your end goal. This gives that person an idea of what you want to look like. You want to make sure that you're giving [your provider] a visual representation of what [“subtle”] means to you.
Spotlyte: Any last tips for lip injection newbies?
JV: Take it easy the day of your appointment. Don't come [to the office] in Lululemon and then go to a yoga class afterwards. You're getting a medical procedure. At the very least, take it easy that day.
Spotlyte: Do you get any injectables yourself?
JV: I do my whole upper face, meaning the glabella, crows feet, and forehead with injectable wrinkle reducer. In terms of fillers, I use it in my lips periodically.
Spotlyte: Do you get any other in-office treatments?
JV: I do radiofrequency at least once a year for tightening. Then, I do resurfacing treatments every four months.
Spotlyte: Did growing up with a mother as a dermatologist affect your interest in in-office treatments?
JV: Absolutely. When I was in my twenties, I loved getting lasers. I did IPL, and I did laser hair removal on my whole body. At the time, my mom was like, "Why do you want to do all this?" And I told her, "I want to be my own anti-aging experiment." This is before I became a dermatologist. As soon as the first antioxidants came on the market, my mom gave me a bottle and said to start using it. I started using it at around 19. So, I began on an anti-aging skin routine very early in my life.
I was always interested in injectables since I was young. My mom was such an innovator and has been focusing on cosmetics for over 30 years. So, she's been a great mentor to me. I believe that if you’re seeing [any concerns], treat them.
Spotlyte: What’s your current skincare routine like?
JV: For face wash, I'm using the Senté® Exfoliating Cleanser twice a day. In the morning, I use the SkinBetter® Even Tone Correcting Serum. Then, I use my Alastin Skincare® HydraTintTM; Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36. At night, I use SkinCeuticals® CE Ferulic®. Then, I use either the Sente Dermal Contour Pressed Serum or the Alastin Restorative Skin Complex. After that, I will use some type of retinol or glycolic [acid], and then a moisturizer. The Alastin Ultra-Nourishing Moisturizer is the one I like right now.
[Editor's note: Retinol shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.]
Spotlyte: You recently started a dermatology consultation platform called BIA Life, where patients can consult with a derm and get skincare advice and product recommendations. Tell us about that.
JV: This is something that came to be from being on social media and from my work with other online dermatology sites. People were coming to me for [product recommendations], and I felt like the platforms that were available were not sufficient for me to give someone a real, educated [skincare] plan. Everybody's skin is so different, and there are so many factors that go into it. There's budget, where you live, what have you tried before, and your sensitivities.
I was trying to create a comprehensive platform to capture all that information, and give people good [recommendations] for [products and treatments] that work for their lifestyle and budget. There was a need for an honest place where you could talk about scientifically-based information [from a doctor]. We wanted to create a place that would be a positive voice in the skincare industry, because I think there's a lot of negative messaging for women.
Spotlyte: What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
JV: I love traveling to sunny places. Bali is definitely my favorite, followed by the Galapagos. I'm a person with [hyperpigmentation]-prone skin and I live in a sunny climate, so I'm very sensitive to my patients with those issues. I protect my skin when I'm on vacation, but I live my life and enjoy [the sunshine]. There's always a balance between what is your ideal skin versus living your life and enjoying it. So, I'm definitely sensitive to that.
Outside of dermatology, I also love yoga. I love spending time with my family, my nephew, and my god kids. I like music and art. I'm an avid [art] collector, and I travel to see shows and exhibitions.
Dr. Janelle Vega is a paid Allergan® consultant.
Allergan® may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this article.