Get To Know Rochester, New York-Based Skin Expert Dr. Mara Weinstein-Velez

Mara C. Weinstein Velez, M.D., FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist, and Director of Cosmetics and Laser Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, in Upstate New York. She completed a prestigious Laser, Cosmetic and Dermatologic Surgery fellowship at SkinCare Physicians in Boston, with clinical faculty from the Harvard and Yale Departments of Dermatology and is one of the only Fellowship-trained Cosmetic and Laser Surgeons in Western NY. Dr. Weinstein is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University and is the Founding Director of the Multicultural, Cosmetic and Procedural Clinic which has recently been integrated into the Residency training program.

Dr. Mara Weinstein VelezPhoto Credit: Photo courtesy of Dr. Mara Weinstein Velez

My greatest achievement:

Acquiring an incredible eye for detail – I let nothing go unnoticed. I can’t tell you how many times patients have come to me for cosmetic procedures and I incidentally diagnose a skin cancer in the treatment area, or uncover a medical reason for the development of spider veins on their skin beyond cumulative sun exposure. My patients are comforted by my calm yet uplifting nature, steady hands, professionalism, and humility. They leave the office feeling empowered and excited for their next visit!

The future of my field is:

So bright! There are so many technological advancements in lasers and devices, it’s hard to keep track. The goal of this new technology is often to lessen downtime and pain for the patients while maintaining excellent, visible results at an affordable price. There are also many advancements in the injectable world – we are always researching ways to make products last longer while preserving safety and efficacy.

The biggest misconception about my field is:

“Dermatologists only treat acne” and “Any licensed professional can do what Cosmetic Dermatologist do.”

Truth: Dermatologists do so much more! It’s a truly unique field that is multifaceted. We are trained in surgery, pathology, pediatrics, geriatrics and aesthetics. Our patient population ranges from infants with birthmarks to the elderly with skin cancers. We are one of the only physicians who can actually cure cancer by removing it from the skin!

Cosmetic dermatologists are not the same as aestheticians, nurse practitioners or even other physicians who are trained to inject or use lasers. The benefit of seeing a dermatologist who is specially trained in cosmetics is that you are being treated by someone who truly understands the science behind the technology and the complex facial and body anatomy.

My most requested procedures are:

Laser treatment for acne scars, laser treatment for redness and blood vessels on the face, neuromodulators for wrinkle reduction, and CoolSculpting® for body contouring.

What surgical advancements are you most excited about?

There is a new device being studied to treat active acne – which would be a game-changer! One of the things I love about my field is that there is always ongoing, robust clinical research to advance and expand treatment options for patients. I come from a clinical research background and was involved in launching new injectables and groundbreaking laser technology into the clinical arena. This is what sets Board-Certified Dermatologists apart in the aesthetic market: We truly understand the science behind the technology in order to choose and provide the most appropriate, individualized care for each patient.

What are you best known for?

My mentor once told me, “You have a gift with your injections, you truly dance with your needles.” It’s completely normal and understandable to be nervous or anxious before having a procedure, so my priority is to make sure patients are comfortable during their treatment. I inject slowly and use special techniques to make the visit as painless as possible. The best response I can get from a patient after a procedure is, “I didn’t feel anything!”

What is your most memorable patient reaction?

A 40-year-old working mother, who had horrible acne as a teenager came to the office seeking treatment for her facial scarring. She had waited so long because she didn’t know treatments were available. Her self-esteem and confidence were very low and she frequently stayed home and refused to attend social events because of how her scars made her feel. We performed a series of laser treatments, and over the course of the year, I shared in her joy and appreciation as her confidence grew! These examples and patient stories are why I love waking up and coming into work every day. To be able to touch and transform lives beyond the surface of their skin is the most rewarding experience.

What sets my practice apart?

I listen, educate, listen more, and reflect. My patients and I make decisions as a team. My goal is to educate patients so they can make an informed decision. I always give options and will offer/discuss a variety of treatments ranging from the least aggressive to the most aggressive. Many factors come in to play when deciding on a treatment plan, including a budget, downtime, work, children, and social events. We discuss, plan, anticipate and take the next best steps.