She currently serves as an academic faculty at Henry Ford Health Department of Dermatology (Detroit, Mich.) where she enjoys treating patients and teaching cosmetic procedures to residents.
TAG: Dr. Almukhtar, can you tell us what inspired you to become a medical professional?
I decided to pursue medical school at a relatively young age because I felt it was meaningful to help others when they were at their most vulnerable. A close family member of mine received treatments for cancer while I was in high school, which ultimately led me to consider medicine as a career. At the age of 15 years old, I entered medical school in Iraq – where I was born and raised – as the youngest student ever accepted to a medical school in the country.
TAG: How and why did you choose your specialty?
When I did my rotation in dermatology as a medical student, I found the field fascinating; I loved being able to recognize diseases by looking at the skin and being able to perform procedures on a daily basis. The variety of what I could do, what I could offer my patients and the impact it had on their quality of life was exciting – so much so that I did not feel the time passing when I was in the dermatology clinic.
I enjoy all aspects of aesthetic procedures from injectables to lasers and energy-based devices to minimally invasive procedures. I credit Mitch Goldman, MD, Sabrina Fabi, MD, Kimberly Butterwick, MD, Douglas Wu, MD, William Groff, MD and Monica Boen, MD, who mentored me during my fellowship. They taught me the whole spectrum of aesthetics so I could help my patients look and feel their best.
TAG: Are you currently working on any clinical research studies?
The most recent clinical trial I worked on was for Dermatologic Surgery which compares the safety and efficacy of radiofrequency (RF) microneedling to that of non-ablative 1550 nm laser for rejuvenation of the neck, an area which is challenging in a clinical practice.
TAG: What challenges do you think your generation, or the next generation, of aesthetic practitioners will face?
As cosmetic surgeons, it can be a challenge to dispel the myths and misconceptions our patients have, which can come from a variety of sources, including social media. This, in part, contributes to another challenge we face, which is setting appropriate expectations with patients about what can be achieved by the procedures we do.
TAG: When it comes to your professional journey, where do you see yourself in five years?
My goal is to continue building my cosmetic practice, to introduce newer procedures and updated techniques to my patients, and to expand my role as an investigator on clinical trials. I would also like to continue and expand my role as an educator for my residents, and on a national level through conferences and workshops.
TAG: Who is your biggest inspiration?
I have had many great mentors during my career and training, but two come to mind: Dr. Fabi, and Dr. Goldman. I worked with Dr. Fabi during my fellowship; she is a deep thinker, a highly talented physician, and a caring, genuine person. Dr. Goldman was my fellowship director. He is one of the greatest minds in cosmetic and procedural dermatology – inspiring in every sense of the word. His advice, teaching, way of thinking, and way of inspiring happiness in his practice have had a big influence in my own daily practice.
TAG: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Setbacks are not failures; it is important to learn, improve and re-tackle challenges
TAG: Name a product or service you love so much that you would happily be that company’s spokesperson?
I like to practice what I preach to my patients. There are several skincare products that I personally like given the clinical data behind them and the results I get from them. Some examples are ISDIN Actinica sunscreen, Skinceuticals Phloretin CF, Alastin Regenerative Skin Nectar, Revision’s C+ Correcting Complex 30%, SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum and Neocutis Lumiere Bio eye cream. Injectable products by Merz and Galderma are also among some of my favorites.
TAG: What do you think is the greatest medical invention of all time?
The invention of anesthesia was first introduced by a dentist named William Morton in 1846 who used ether anesthesia for surgery. Since then, anesthesia has significantly reduced suffering for patients and enabled us to do so much more for our patients in a safe and tolerable way.
TAG: Is there anything else you would like to share with your peers?
It is such an exciting time for cosmetic procedures despite the challenges in the COVID-19 era. The challenges that we are facing will make us adapt and evolve as a field. One of my mentors once said, “stressed grapes create the best wine.