Interviews

This Should Be the “Frosting” on Your Skincare Routine Cake, Says Chicago Derm Dr. Jessie Cheung

Dr. Jessie Cheung

“I’m known for the fact that I can’t really lie to people,” Jessie Cheung, MD, tells me of her patient consultations. “I say what I see.” I take what the board-certified derm says to me at face value — until she tells me what she sees in my face. I’ve been looking at my own complexion every day for over 30 years, but the level of detail that Dr. Cheung was able to scrutinize was still beyond my comprehension. “You have really pretty eyes,” she points out, “and you tend to lift your eyebrows a lot when you speak — that’s because your jaw muscle is too strong.” Wait, what?

As it turns out, years of clenching my jaw from anxiety caused the muscles in my temples to strengthen, therefore burning fat in the area — fat that was helping to keep my brows lifted and open up my eyes. To counteract this, I’d unknowingly started raising my eyebrows more than usual, which had resulted in a seemingly sudden manifestation of forehead wrinkles. My mind was boggled (and a little overwhelmed), but mostly, I was impressed. It’s this keen sense of observation that makes the New York-born doctor so good at her job: Dr. Cheung is able to assess her patients’ needs quickly and clearly, whether it’s related to aesthetic changes to their faces or more in-depth, internal concerns.

Like many other physicians, Dr. Cheung grew up knowing she wanted to study medicine. Her father is also a doctor, and he specializes in bladder cancer. However, it was as she attended NYC’s Stuyvesant High School℠ that her dreams started to get more concrete. “I joined a club in school visiting elderly patients at the hospital,” the 42-year-old explains. “I kind of dipped my toes in the water there for college.” She decided to apply to an accelerated BA/MD program at SUNY® Downstate Medical Center, and was accepted, allowing her to skip the MCATS and start med school at the age of 20. After graduating summa cum laude, she did her dermatology residency in Chicago, where she met her husband, a lawyer.

Once she completed a fellowship in New York, Dr. Cheung returned to Chicago to be with her husband and start a family (now, they have two children, 6 and 7), but she couldn’t stay away from the East Coast for long. She had enough New York patients flying out to see her in the Midwest that she decided to have medical practices in both cities, focusing on both aesthetic dermatology and wellness. Here, in this interview for SpotlyteTM, she talks about her go-to medical aesthetic treatments (for herself and her patients), her best skincare advice, the differences between her patients in NYC and Chicago, and more.

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