That is why I developed my mission statement: ‘Never fear a birthday.’” While this motto has helped inspire others, Dr. Nichols knows that cultivating self-confidence is easier said than done. “I really feel for my patients because I also struggle with being overcritical of myself, especially when it comes to my ‘success’ in my practices,” she admitted. “I know I should give myself the same encouragement that I give to my staff and patients, but, to tell the truth, it has been an ongoing battle for me.
While this motto has helped inspire others, Dr. Nichols knows that cultivating self-confidence is easier said than done. “I really feel for my patients because I also struggle with being overcritical of myself, especially when it comes to my ‘success’ in my practices,” she admitted. “I know I should give myself the same encouragement that I give to my staff and patients, but, to tell the truth, it has been an ongoing battle for me.
“I think many driven people share this trait,” she added. “And it is important to talk about it. I find that reading about other entrepreneurs’ struggles with this helps me to know that I am doing my very best and that I am right where I should be.”
Like many physicians, Dr. Nichols’ path to success has not been straightforward. Although initially drawn to plastic surgery while at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Dr. Nichols ultimately pursued dermatology, completing a three-year residency at King-Drew/HarborUCLA Medical Center. She felt cosmetic dermatology offered more one-on-one time with patients, which is something that drew her to a career in medicine in the first place. “I have wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember,” she shared. “I was drawn to the intimate connection a physician has with their patients; this, and my passion for science really propelled me to where I am today.”
After practicing in Manhattan, N.Y. for several years, Dr. Nichols moved to Connecticut to open the first of three private, boutique dermatology practices. “In 2013, I opened my first location, NicholsMD of Greenwich, because it was where my husband and I wanted to settle down,” she noted. “And, more importantly, I saw the need in Greenwich for an accessible, NYC-like luxury skincare boutique without the hassle of the commute into Manhattan.”
In her practices, Dr. Nichols treats both cosmetic and medical skincare concerns with an individualized approach. “I truly enjoy developing customized treatment plans for patients based on their specific skin concerns and facial anatomy,” she explained. “Many people come in asking for a treatment a family member or friend received, thinking it will work best for them as well – that is simply not the case.”
Another key to her success: sharing her work life with her family. “My husband, Chris, and I are high school sweethearts and share the same entrepreneurial spirit,” Dr. Nichols mentioned. “I also enjoy discussing my career with my three children.
“Sasha, my eldest, is 15 and is on track to either run my business or the world one day. Our 12-year-old Peyton loves to play football; and our youngest, Desi, is 10 and is the star of the show on stage,” Dr. Nichols added. “I love to encourage my kids to be whatever they want. I hope to teach them the value of hard work, and that it is possible to love every second of what you do if you follow your passion – like I did.”
In addition to running three practices, being a wife and a mother, Dr. Nichols is also conducting research on the efficacy, safety profile and neutralizing antibodies of neurotoxins in first-time patients. Research helps her hone her skills and stay up to date on the latest trends in aesthetic medicine. “I find that participating in clinical studies and trials allows me to not only experiment with new products and techniques, but it also gives me an opportunity to see how existing products change over time,” she shared.
As for the future of the specialty, Dr. Nichols believes the challenge lies in gaining patient trust. “With my generation, it was a challenge to convert patients due to a lack of product knowledge. People were not as educated on neuromodulators and dermal fillers, and so, naturally, there was uncertainty around the treatments,” she explained. “The next generation of practitioners are facing a completely different problem. The over saturation of the aesthetics market and the fact that products are so easily accessible make it harder to secure patient trust and loyalty without a strong branding and credentialing message.”
As for herself, Dr. Nichols envisions opening more practices throughout Connecticut and across the country – and loving every second of it. “As a cosmetic dermatologist, I get the honor of being the ‘fun doctor,’ who helps improve patients’ self-confidence,” she explained. “I hope to continue to live out my mission to better the lives of the patients I encounter. Improving how my patients look and feel is something I find incredibly rewarding.”