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Women in Aesthetics

Women in Aesthetics: Sheila Barbarino, MD: Rising to the Challenge

Women in Aesthetics: Sheila Barbarino, MD: Rising to the Challenge
Cosmetic surgeon Sheila Barbarino, MD, is a world-renowned lecturer and key opinion leader in the medical aesthetic space, so it may come as a surprise to learn she once dreaded standing in front of a crowd. “I used to have an extreme fear of public speaking,” she admitted. Not only has she overcome this fear, but she now looks forward to opportunities to share her expertise. “I really enjoy speaking to my colleagues about what I know and what I have seen in my practice.”

Cosmetic surgeon Sheila Barbarino, MD, is a world-renowned lecturer and key opinion leader in the medical aesthetic space, so it may come as a surprise to learn she once dreaded standing in front of a crowd.

“I used to have an extreme fea Rising to the Challenger of public speaking,” she admitted. Not only has she overcome this fear, but she now looks forward to opportunities to share her expertise. “I really enjoy speaking to my colleagues about what I know and what I have seen in my practice.”

Dr. Barbarino believes that her willingness to share what she has observed in her years of practice is one of her greatest strengths. “The most courageous thing I have ever done is stand by my thoughts on products and my publications,” she said. “It is easy to go along with what everyone else says in aesthetics, but it is so important to share your real experience. Nine times out of ten, other practitioners feel the same way, but are too scared to give their real opinion.”

The Female Perspective

Going against the grain is not always easy, but years of education and training in a male-dominated field has taught Dr. Barbarino that it is better to face obstacles head-on. “Being a woman in medicine has made me more resilient and able to rise to the challenge,” she explained. “I have often come across male colleagues who expect me to be unreliable, undependable and to always make excuses for my short comings. So, I have made a conscious effort to be better than anyone could ever expect – and to do it with a smile. I always say, “Kill them with kindness; they will regret their small mindedness.”

This small mindedness has manifested in many ways throughout her career, according to Dr. Barbarino. One primary example: many peers are surprised when she reveals  Rising to the Challengethe secret to her success is work, work – and more work.

“People are shocked when they realize how hard I work,” she mentioned. “They think that because I like to look my best, have fun and travel, I am not a hard worker. I have had many practitioners shadow me for a day and that is always what they say – ‘is it over yet? I am exhausted just watching you.’”

Many of her male colleagues also underestimate how valuable the female perspective is when standing behind the knife. “I feel like I have a huge advantage over my colleagues when it comes to cosmetic surgery,” Dr. Barbarino stated. “As a woman, I very much understand how I want to look and what it takes to look that way – today, tomorrow and as I age.”

An Eye for Beauty

Leaning on her personal insight of the female perspective has helped guide her focus in aesthetic medicine. “My primary interest is the face,” she shared. “If you cann Rising to the Challengeot put your best face forward, what can you do? How can you be confident about yourself if you feel self-conscious about your face?”

Helping patients have more confidence in their appearance is only part of why Dr. Barbarino loves what she does. “I chose this path because I can do everything I love in one career: I love taking care of people; I love creating with my hands; and I love to make people look beautiful, so it is a perfect fit for me.”

Dr. Barbarino’s path began at Sidney Kimmel Medical College in Philadelphia, Penn., where she received her medical degree. She completed her residency at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital/New York University, and then pursued surgery fellowships in oculofacial plastics, facial cosmetic surgery and general full body cosmetic surgery.

Throughout her extensive medical training, though, the desire to be creative and make people beautiful stuck with her. “My love of making all things beautiful has always been an important part of who I am,” Dr. Barbarino emphasized. “As a child, I dreamed of being a ballerina or a make-up artist. While neither dream came true, these interests taught me the importance routine, self-restraint, and self-discipline; that hard work pays off; and that everyone deserves to look and feel their best.”

Having It All

Dr. Barbarino has private practices in Austin, Texas and Los Angeles, Calif, but ‘doctor’ is only one of her job titles. She is also a wife, and a mother to a wonderful son, Jake. “Some days, I feel like I am failing at all three jobs,” she shared. “And some days, I feel like I am killing it and the world is my oyster. Like everything, it ebbs and flows.”

Her advice to anyone else in the same boat? Keep going. “I joke and often say, ‘desperation creates inspiration.’ If you ever feel like you do not know how to solve a problem, you are probably not looking hard enough for a solution. Just don’t give up,” she said. “Keep your head down, do good work and love what you do – or it is not worth it.”

Remaining in the Moment

Currently, Dr. Barbarino is working on a study all about augmenting the chin with calcium hydroxylapatite and incobotulium toxin. “It has been fun because the subjects have been over the moon with their results,” she added.

Participating in research is how Dr. Barbarino stays on the cutting edge. “I hope to continue to elevate the bar and standard of care in medical aesthetics for all practitioners.”

As for the future, though, Dr. Barbarino is not too concerned. “Right now, I am really enjoying my patients, the colleagues I am collaborating with, and what we are doing in the medical aesthetic space,” she shared. “I want to stay in the moment and appreciate everything one day at a time.”

How does she remain in the moment? “The first thing I do when I wake up is envision how the day is going to go,” Dr. Barbarino said. “I try to remember that feeling of joy and calm as the day unfolds. Especially as a cosmetic surgeon, you have no idea what the day has in store for you. That is actually the beauty of what we do.”

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