Azadeh Shirazi, MD is a Southern California-based board-certified dermatologist, mom of two, and businesswoman. She also has really, really great hair.
The 41-year old didn’t always love her locks. She started to experience hair thinning in her early thirties, so she jumped into action. For a decade, she utilized topical minoxidil to support her strands. Now, she uses a prescription formula from her line, AZ MDTM. Beyond at-home regrowth treatments, she also takes vitamins and gets PRP in her scalp to maintain her enviable mane.
Dr. Shirazi’s head of hair may sound like a lot of work, but the biggest challenge she faces isn’t aesthetic at all — it’s the business aspect of her job. “It's something that I'm learning a lot about: trying to manage and run a business, which is a new deal to me,” she says, in regards to managing overhead, staff, and finances at her practice, La Jolla Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center℠. “I am a great dermatologist,” she explains. “I have a lot of passion for what I do, and I know dermatology so well — now, I'm also a businesswoman.”
At the office, Dr. Shirazi is best known as “Dr. Azi”, but even after hours — when she’s not seeing patients — she still preaches the importance of skin health to her little ones at home (ages 10 and 8). Here, in our interview with the University of Kentucky® alumna, she shares the advice she gives to her family, how her skincare regimen has changed since becoming a mom, and hair growth (and removal) as well.
Spotlyte: Did you want to become a dermatologist growing up, or did your passion come later in life?
Dr. Azadeh Shirazi: Growing up I knew I wanted to be a physician. I was always interested in science, and I was good at it. Also, I really loved projects, creativity, and design. As I was going through my career and my educational studies, I gravitated towards dermatology because it requires that aesthetic eye and being creative, but it also has the science behind it.
Spotlyte: What do you love about dermatology?
AS: Dermatology, for me, is a very visual field: looking at the skin and picturing how you would fulfill a certain design, and how you would sculpt something or create something. I was always a visual type of person, so it was just a natural career choice for me.
Spotlyte: What do you think you would be doing, if it wasn’t for dermatology?
AS: I think I would have been a plastic surgeon.
Spotlyte: You have two kids. Has being a mom influenced your beauty routine?
AS: Having kids changed my skincare routine. It became a lot more efficient and shorter.
Spotlyte: What is your skincare routine in the morning?
AS: I have come to believe that the three-step process is a good, efficient routine for me: cleansing, hydrating, and then using a key anti-aging ingredient. In the morning. I'll use an antioxidant cleanser called PuriFyTM, which is my own skincare product. It has green tea and cucumber extract. It's very clean — no preservatives, fragrance, or parabens. Then, I will use my IllumiCTM serum, which has vitamins C and E and ferulic [acid] in it. Then, I will use Alastin Skincare® HydraTintTM: a moisturizer that's got hyaluronic acid, SPF, and a little tint, because I hate to wear makeup, and it gives me enough coverage. It looks like light foundation, but also hydrates and protects the skin.
Spotlyte: Does your morning routine change, depending on the season?
AS: In the summer, after I cleanse, I'll use dermaBRIGHTTM toning pads that have some natural brighteners to keep discoloration away in the summer months. I don't do them in the winter.
Spotlyte: What is your evening skincare routine like?
AS: At bedtime, I use the same PuriFy cleanser, and then I will use my Hydrate RXTM, part of the AZ MD line, which is pure hyaluronic acid. Then, I will use a prescription .5 percent tretinoin. After that, I'll use the Nourisse® moisturizer.
Retinol shouldn't be used by women who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.
Spotlyte: You mentioned that you don't wear much makeup. But when you do, what are you using?
AS: I like to use the Hydrate RX and my Chanel® primer. After my primer: Illuminaré® foundation. Then, I use Lilly Lashes® Triple X MascaraTM. When I'm doing a demo video, or filming, I will go all out with my makeup: contouring sticks by Bobbi Brown®, and MAC® Cosmetics foundation, and Bobbi Brown eyeliner. I'll sometimes wear false lashes if I'm doing a speaking engagement or an appearance.
Spotlyte: What do you like to do when you're not in the office?
AS: I love date nights with my husband — we get to catch up and have some alone time away from the kids. Generally, we try to do that a couple times a week. The thing that makes me the most happy is being with my children. I have a very active son who is into all sorts of sports. I enjoy bike riding with him, and playing soccer or basketball with him. It's a great way for me to bond with him. My daughter loves to do projects and create things, similar to what I loved to do when I was her age. We do a lot of trips to Michaels®, where we may paint on canvases or make necklaces and bracelets. Or, we may make a house model with different paper as wallpaper or decorative items. I love doing projects with my children.
Spotlyte: Do you and your children use any of the same skincare products?
AS: My daughter is 10 and my son is 8. My daughter and I have very similar personalities and interests, so she and I will mask together. She enjoys doing that. My son is very inquisitive and loves the sciences, so he asks questions about treatments, moles, and skin. Sun safety is always a big topic in our house, and we are very good about sun protection.
Spotlyte: How do you teach your kids — and their friends — about sun protection?
AS: I do an annual talk for the kindergartners at their school about sun safety. We read a book that talks about the history of sun protection and sunscreen, like how the ancient Egyptians used a [zinc-like] paste to keep their skin smooth and protect it from the sun. We buy little buckets and put different sunscreen samples in it.
Spotlyte: You and your husband are both doctors. How are your professions dissimilar?
AS: He's an interventional cardiologist, so we have very different careers and very different days and hours. He's very hospital-based. Our jobs are different, but I take a lot of pride in my career. I don't think it's all just about beauty and making people a certain type of beautiful. I love taking somebody's cosmetic concern that they've had their whole life and improving it to give them their self-confidence back.
Spotlyte: How do you tend to patients’ concerns?
AS: When I see somebody for a consult, I always look to see how I can improve this [person’s appearance] just based on what they have. I don't ever recommend the same treatment plan for everybody. I take who they are as a person into account, as well. That's very important when you're dealing with cosmetics and aesthetics: getting to know the nature of that person, why they are seeking the procedure they're seeking, what they are like, what their viewpoints and personality traits are.
Spotlyte: What's the most popular treatment in your office?
AS: That depends on the time of year. We do a lot of laser treatments in the winter and fall months because San Diego is very sunny with long days, and people travel a lot in the summer. In the winter months, I do a lot of photorejuvenation. The system I use is the Sciton® BBL. In Southern California, we have a lot of sun damage from being out all year long.
Spotlyte: What other specific treatments do patients come to you for?
AS: I do a lot of acne laser resurfacing and acne scar treatment, and deep resurfacing. One of my specialties is the deep CO₂ erbium resurfacing treatments.
Spotlyte: Barring the weather, what treatment is consistently requested year round?
AS: Year round, of course, injectable wrinkle reducers are probably the number one treatment. We do a lot of [filler injections] for lips, [cheeks, and laugh lines].
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.
Spotlyte: Do you get injectable wrinkle reducers?
AS: I do get injectable wrinkle reducers in the crow’s feet area, the elevens, and forehead.
Spotlyte: Who does your fillers?
I actually have a close colleague who I trust to do my injectables, so I do periodically invest in [cheek filler injections] for facial volume.
Spotlyte: What other treatments do you typically get?
AS: I have two estheticians that keep my skin fresh and rejuvenated. Once a month, I do a facial. One of my favorite treatments to do in my own office is Dermalinfusion®. That's such a great deep cleaning and [exfoliation] — that is awesome for me. I'll sometimes [do] a facial, or we could do a gold facial, which helps with inflammation and facial rejuvenation. I also periodically get microneedling.
Spotlyte: Do you get laser hair removal?
AS: I do laser hair removal, because I'm Persian. After my 100th hair removal treatment, I still have hair on my face that I remove with laser hair removal. I will also do ProFractionalTM laser a couple times a year on my face for skin tightening and rejuvenation.
Spotlyte: Despite having thinning hair in your thirties, it now looks great. What are your secrets?
AS: Now I'm on this formulation we carry in the office, it's called Hair Restore RXTM. It's a prescription, a minoxidil formulation that I use. But, I've been on topical minoxidil for 10 years. That's helped a lot. I wanted to maintain my hair. I do PRP annually on my scalp, and I do take a hair vitamin called HAIRtamin®, which has biotin in it. I also put a drop of it on my eyebrows, believe it or not. I use a prescription lash growth serum for my eyelashes.
Spotlyte: In addition to eating a balanced diet, how else do you maintain a healthy lifestyle?
AS: Working out and staying in shape has been a lifelong tradition for me. It really makes me feel better, and helps with stress and my mood. I really believe in staying active and keeping your body in shape for anti-aging purposes, for mental health purposes, and just for overall healthy lifestyle purpose.
Spotlyte: What is your fitness routine like?
AS: I generally workout about four to five times a week. I do toning and weights and certain exercises to build up my abdomen and glutes, because I feel like you need to work your core to maintain posture and a youthful stature. I do about 20 minutes of cardio. I also do yoga three times a week as well.
Spotlyte: Are you into group workout classes?
AS: I don't like to do any classes or lessons. Because my workouts are so spontaneous, I can never commit to a class. I used to take some private yoga lessons, so I have a few poses that I will do that I'm comfortable with. I'm with people all day, so it's my time with myself and my music. It really helps clear my head and helps my thought process. I really enjoy that time for myself.
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Dermalinfusion® is an Allergan-owned treatment.
Dermalinfusion Important Safety Information
The Dermalinfusion® device is a microdermabrasion device that gently removes the top layer of skin and delivers topical cosmetic serums onto the skin.
Important Safety Information
The Dermalinfusion® treatment is not for everyone. You should not have a Dermalinfusion® treatment if you have compromised skin quality. Tell your provider if you are pregnant, lactating, or have any medical conditions, including allergies, and if you are using topical medications on the area to be treated.
Typical side effects include a scratchy, stinging sensation during the treatment and temporary tightness, redness or slight swelling after the treatment. Rare serious side effects may also occur and include severe skin irritation and allergic reactions.
Pro‐Infusion Serums Disclaimer
The Pro‐Infusion Serums are intended to meet the FDA’s definition of a cosmetic product, an article applied to the human body to cleanse, beautify, promote attractiveness, and alter appearances. These products are not intended to be drugs that diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. These products have not been approved by the FDA and the statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
Please talk to your provider for additional information.