Episode 218: Dr. Michelle Henry, Board Certified Dermatologist

From a young age, Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry knew she wanted to be a Physician. Her interest in the field was piqued when her mother, a nurse at the time, brought her to a “Take Your Daughter to Work” day. All it took was a little white coat and stethoscope for young Michelle, and that was it; her path was set. Today Dr. Michelle Henry is a Harvard-trained Mohs Surgeon and owns a practice, The Skin & Aesthetic Surgery of Manhattan.

In this episode of WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™, Dr. Michelle Henry and I discuss the theme of artistry regarding aesthetic medicine; How one millimeter can really change the way one walks through the world. She discusses the importance of recognizing that there isn’t one type of beautiful only “your kind of beautiful.” We also chat about her favorite treatments, the importance of learning to say “no,” how she proactively schedules to make time for work and personal life, and of course, her definition and way of dealing with success.

Dan Hodgdon
Jodi KatzHey, everybody. I haven’t done a live in so long, I almost couldn’t remember which button to press. So it’s nice to see you and join you here on this Wednesday afternoon. And I’m very excited about today. I’ll be having a great live podcast recording with Dr. Michelle Henry. She’s an incredibly talented board certified dermatologist, and we’re gonna have a lot of fun together. [Green room discussion]

Welcome back to Where Brains Meet Beauty. Today we have another guest for our Artistry themed quarter. I can’t think of an artist more in demand these days than a talented dermatologist. I’m thrilled to welcome to the show Dr. Michelle Henry. She’s a board-certified dermatologist and an ACGME fellowship-trained Mohs micrographic, reconstructive, and cosmetic surgeon. Her Instagram @drmichellehenry, shows off her approach to aesthetic artistry, but also artistry and lifestyle across home design, time with friends, and travel. Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty.
Dr. Michelle HenryThank you. Thank you for the warm welcome.
Jodi KatzWell, I love aesthetics. It’s like a happy place. Skin care’s a happy place for me. And I’m thrilled to have you here. And when we thought of this Artistry theme for this quarter, I really couldn’t think of anyone who’s really truly, like I said, more in demand than a really talented derm, right? So we move through the world and we want to feel our best, and that’s inside and out. And finally, I think people realized the power of aesthetics.
Dr. Michelle HenryMm-hmm. Yeah, you know, aesthetics, I always say it’s—I always tell them, in my office, we’re not allowed to use the word “vanity,” you know? Because it’s coloring something that’s so important and making it something frivolous. Because the way you look, the way you present to the world, is so important. When you feel good and you feel confident, and you feel like your outside reflects what’s going on inside, you’re better in all aspects of your life. So I don’t believe that it’s vanity. I believe that it’s an extension of our healthcare, you know? It’s a part of making sure that we feel good on the inside the outside. So, I’m aligned with you.
Jodi KatzWell, I have my first question, which is my favorite question. But I want to let our fans know who are listening and tuned in that they can ask questions too. We will have time for fan questions towards the end of the interview. So please type them in the comments. We’ll definitely be taking note of them and be able to share them later in our interview.

So, Dr. Henry, this is a career journey show. So my favorite question is to ask, let’s go back to the 11-year-old Michelle Henry.
Dr. Michelle HenryYes.
Jodi KatzWhat did you want to be when you grew up?
Dr. Michelle HenrySo, by 11, I was already completely wed to being a physician. So, I probably knew—I mean, there’s really nothing else. I don’t remember wanting to be anything else. I wanted to be a singer, but I wasn’t gifted in that category, or I wanted to be a physician. And that was just it. And I’ve stayed on that path. It was kind of the perfect alignment of everything that I loved. I was curious. I liked science. I liked art. I was really creative when I was little. I liked leadership. I liked the idea of finding something new and research in that way, even at a really young age.

And it all started when my mom—my mom was a nurse. And so, I remember going through her nursing books. And everyone else was grossed out, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. And then she did a Take Your Daughter to Work Day. I don’t know if they still have that. But it worked. She took me to work, and I was with the nurses, but I saw this little huddle of doctors there. And I wanted to know what they were talking about and what they were thinking. And so, she got them to give me a tiny little white coat and stethoscope, and that was it. It was one of the—I remember it as clear as day. I remember my little shoes that I was wearing, everything about that moment, because it was so impactful, and it felt so right. And I’ve been on that path ever since. So I’ve always been very clear about what I wanted to do.
Jodi KatzDr. Henry, when you think of that moment when you were at the office with your mom and you saw the group of doctors, what about that connected with your heart and your head, that moment, and be like, “That’s me. That’s where I’m going”?
Dr. Michelle HenryTo me, it felt like it was a group of people that were very invested in the patient. I could see that they were—I could see the furrow in their brow. They were thinking and concentrating their excellence to make sure that they gave good patient care. I wanted to help them crack the puzzle. I wanted to know what they were so invested in in their huddle. I wanted to be a part of making things better in a very academic way. And I think that I’ve always been someone who is always up for the challenge. Even as a child, I gleefully took on challenges. And that’s what it represented to me, these great minds coming together, trying to crack the code to make someone better. And in that moment, I couldn’t think of anything else that I wanted to be.
Jodi KatzSo in your life, do you do puzzles? Are you the problem-solver for your friends? Is that sort of the space that you occupy in your relationships?
Dr. Michelle HenryI’m definitely a problem-solver. Puzzles, no. I don’t have the patience for puzzles, because I already know the solution, right? So then it’s not fun to me. But I definitely am a problem-solver for everyone. Oftentimes, solicited; sometimes not, right? But I definitely enjoy the challenge. I enjoy sharing my perspective. I enjoy learning from others, which I think part of being a problem-solver is always being willing to learn and absorb other perspectives to make you better. So I’ve definitely always been that.
Jodi KatzLet’s talk about this idea of, in your role, artistry and science, and how much of your job is the science and how much of it is being an artist? And I assume this depends upon the patient and the circumstances. But if you think about your career in general, what is that—how does that divide up?
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. I think there’s artistry in aesthetic medicine, and there’s also artistry in general medical care. Even when I’m treating a patient, an acne patient, I want to think about what makes them feel the best? How do I present this in the best way? How do I give them something that’s not only going to make their acne better, but also take care of these other issues? So I think that’s a form of art. How do I present what I think is the best treatment plan for them in a way that is palliative to them? That’s a different type of artistry, right? So I think there’s always more than just the science. But in aesthetics, that’s a very clear, direct line, that it’s very much artistry. And I love that aspect.
And I love the aspect of the fact that just a few millimeters takes something from average to beautiful. Literally just a few millimeters. It’s just a flicker of light, changing the way the light reflects on the nose or the cheeks or the lip. It’s literally just a few millimeters that can have a tremendous outcome, a tremendous positive impact on what we see. And even psychologically, what does that mean? One millimeter changes how you see someone. I just find I’m very intrigued by this idea. And because I’m intrigued by this idea, I know the power in that syringe or that tool that I’m using to really change the way someone walks through the world. So I think that the artistry part is never lost on me.
And I think about it with everything I do, even when I do hair transplants. When we’re thinking about how we make the hairline, what does that mean? What does a wider hairline mean? Everything we do is a communication to the world. And that is just really profound and something that will always keep me very curious, and something that I will never tire of fine-tuning my artistry in that way.
Jodi KatzWhen you’re work—the hairline is a good example—can you visualize what the results would be if one millimeter this way, one millimeter that way? Do pictures form in your head? Is that how you make these decisions?
Dr. Michelle HenryAbsolutely. I think if you can’t do that, you probably shouldn’t be doing it, right? So I think it’s very important that you have to have a very keen ability to like, visualize things and visualize what those differences mean, and also be able to just absorb that everywhere. So, some of my friends are like, “Stop analyzing me!” But I feel like every day, not in a bad way, but I’m always seeing things or they’ll ask me about something, and I’ll bring up all these things that I’ve noticed in my analysis. And they’re like, “Gosh, I didn’t realize you were observing that.”
But I think it’s really important that when I see a face, I’m absorbing, what does that mean? What does the cheek, the light hitting the cheek in that way mean, that we’re always absorbing this information, because it really helps you make a very comprehensive picture when you’re using your imagination, right? So you want to make sure that you have a rich well of data to pull from when you’re using your imagination to construct these images. But you absolutely should be able to do that. And if you can’t, you probably shouldn’t be in this space.
Jodi KatzRight. It’s like when an illustrator, most of the world, they’re just seeing the light, the shadows, the edges, right?
Dr. Michelle HenryMm-hmm. Exactly.
Jodi KatzEverything is broken down into pieces, and then whole parts are formed, and then pieces again.
Dr. Michelle HenryExactly.
Jodi KatzDo you find it distracting?
Dr. Michelle HenryNo. I find it exciting. Being able to—I find it exciting and I find it—sometimes a lot of people ask me—this is an aside—thinking all beauty all the time, does it make you anxious about yourself? Does it make you critical of yourself? And it doesn’t. When you break it down into the elements, into the parts, and you realize how there’s no one type of beauty, how what I find beautiful today might be different on Friday, even. It just makes it a really interesting part of the human experience, that there’s so many variations and so many experiences we can have and create when interacting with other people. So I don’t find it overwhelming. I think I’m still intrigued by how subtle things can make someone look completely different. So I definitely don’t find it tiresome.
Jodi KatzAs you were just talking about how there’s so many different ways that beauty shows up, it was making me think of those gorgeous gardens full of flowers, and there’s so many varieties of flowers, and the different flowers take different sizes and shapes, and wrinkles and edges.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah.
Jodi KatzAnd they’re all beautiful. They’re all different, though. That’s sort of what I was picturing in my mind as you were saying that.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. I think that’s exactly what it is. Sometimes you don’t want something that’s classically beautiful. Sometimes that’s boring, you know? And then beauty is that we can be all of those things. You can decide to be striking instead. You can decide to be whatever you want. And that’s—I think a lot of the beauty of what we do is that you get to make your own kind of beautiful. And never losing sight of the fact that it is just that. It’s your kind of beautiful. And there aren’t rigid lines, and it really is whatever you make of it.
Jodi KatzI want to take a pause and say hi to some people who visited us. So DuchessBern said, “I always enjoy listening to you talk about everything healthy and beauty.” I want to say hi to MohawkJay and TheSpot and JaFemme and Siram and AzarBeatrice and JeffreyJosephMD, WorldCanvas, Solock. I mean, there’s many people here. I can’t get to all the names. But thank you all for joining. And please, we’re here to talk about everything career journey, so please put your questions in the comments, and we’ll hope to get to them towards the end of the interview.
Okay. So let’s talk about this career, you started out wanting to help people, problem solve. Did you know when you were in medical school how big aesthetics would be in your career?
Dr. Michelle HenryI had zero idea. I actually went into medical school thinking I would be a breast cancer surgeon. So my great-aunt passed of breast cancer when I was about eight years old. Seven, almost eight. And her last six months of her life, we discussed everything, what I would be, who I would date, how a lady behaves. All the things. She gave me all the life in a constant accelerated course on life in six months, which I thank her for having that tremendous foresight. So that was it. I was going to be a breast cancer surgeon. And then I got to medical school and realized that, being the tremendous empath that I am, it was very difficult for me, and that I would become this—it would have been all that I could do, and it would have taken so much out of me. And I wanted something that I could do that I could also cure patients and enjoy life, and have a wider emotional spread than I would have been forced to have. And I found Mohs surgery.
And so, Mohs surgery is a type of skin cancer surgery where you will cure the cancer. We read it, and then we reconstruct the defect that we create by removing it. So it was kind of everything I liked. I could cure cancer, I could talk to my patients. Clearly, I like to talk. And then there was the artistry of reconstructing the scar to make it something seamless and beautiful, as beautiful as scars can be, which they can be. And so, I didn’t really fall into aesthetics until I was in residency, and I started to realize that it’s not this frivolous thing, that it’s life-changing, that I can use it to help to reconstruct my scars. And I could use this deep understanding of anatomy that I learned through Mohs surgery to allow me to be creative with a lot of the tools and everything that’s at our disposal, the lasers, the fillers. Understanding anatomy at the level that a Mohs surgeon has to understand anatomy really allows you to do some really awesome things.
And so, yeah, I wasn’t into it. And actually, I was hesitant. I thought to myself, “Am I gonna use this deep investment in academics and just start only doing aesthetics?” I was really hesitant to do it. And then I really learned how meaningful and how powerful it was for patients, and how you’re healing them in other ways, and I’m so happy that I went in that direction.
Jodi KatzCan we talk about when you met Mohs surgery in medical school? What section, chapter—I don’t even know. I didn’t go to medical school. I don’t know how this works. When do you meet it when you’re in med school?
Dr. Michelle HenrySo, I wasn’t seeking it out at all. It was just that it was destiny. My very first mentor—so they paired us with mentors our first year. And my very first mentor just happened to be a Mohs surgeon. It just happened to be who I got. And she was incredible. And I just thought it was just the coolest thing, operating on patients while they’re awake, and curing this cancer, and seeing the cancer cells under the microscope, and continuing the procedure until it’s clear, and closing them up, and knowing the percentage cure rates, and just thinking that—I just thought it was the coolest thing ever, before I ever thought about dermatology. And so, she said that, “This is a subset of dermatology.” And so then I pushed and pushed and pushed and got dermatology rotations early, because I wasn’t supposed to get them yet. And I don’t even know if it was a formal rotation. I remember I was just being a little stubborn med student. I got myself in and absolutely loved it, which I’m glad, because with dermatology, you have to decide early. And that was it. Once I sampled dermatology and just realized that dermatology’s really all medicine. It’s infectious disease. It’s aesthetics. It’s skin cancer. It’s immunology. We have all these bullous disorders. It’s everything. So if you love medicine, you can find your space in dermatology. It’s psychiatry. It’s all the things. And so, for someone who may be indecisive but knows they love medicine, maybe consider dermatology because it’s really all the things in medicine there. And so, I loved it.
Jodi KatzHow fascinating that it’s about the people you’re around in that moment, that this one mentor happened to have this expertise, and you happened to be paired with this person. I mean, it’s just so much of this Sliding Doors, that Gwyneth Paltrow movie. I don’t know if you ever saw that.
Dr. Michelle HenryMm-hmm. I did.
Jodi KatzImagine you were paired with somebody else.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah.
Jodi KatzYou could be, I don’t know a foot surgeon or something.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. I could’ve been a little—I don’t know, I could’ve been in the ER. Who knows? You’re right.
Jodi KatzIt’s so fascinating to me. But I’ve heard this a lot from dermatologists, that— many of the people I’ve talked to through the years, they don’t enter medical school knowing that dermatology’s where they’re gonna land. And it’s just the people they meet. It’s the conversations they have that guide them to this. And I’m so grateful that there’s people like you who are active on social telling stories about their careers, because why does it have to be chance for people to be able to get a little bit of the insider understanding of what medical school looks like for dermatologists and what comes next in residency? How wonderful that they can get it without having to hope that they’re paired with somebody great.
Dr. Michelle HenryExactly. Exactly.
Jodi KatzYou mentioned infectious disease, and I wanted to tell you, my son, who’s a teenager, is a wrestler. So there’s a lot of gross skin disease for wrestlers. And we’ve been encountering that and navigating it. So I smiled a little bit.
Dr. Michelle HenryYes. Hats off to you guys.
Jodi KatzIt comes with the job, right? Wrestling comes with this, no matter how hard he tries to avoid it. And he works hard at his hygiene there. But it’s just—it’s everywhere.
Dr. Michelle HenryIt’s a human thing. Yeah.
Jodi KatzMm-hmm. So I want to talk about procedures and treatments, because you get to play. I mean, I’ve watched you on social. I have friends who adore you and use you as their dermatologist, so I get to hear a lot of behind the scenes. You must have favorites of all these different treatments and procedures. And I know there’s so many. Can you share a little bit about your career highs in terms of what you’ve been learning and what you love and what you find to be incredibly effective for your patients?
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. It’s so hard. I know it sounds trite to say, it’s like choosing my favorite child. But it kind of is. Part of what I love about dermatology is that I can move from one room doing fillers to another room doing lasers, to doing liposuction, to doing… But let’s see. What do I really love? I mean, I love attention to detail. Again, I love the idea of just a few millimeters changing things dramatically. I love things that require precision, which is why I like most surgery. So from an aesthetic standpoint, I love fillers and Botox. And you have to be quite precise to do it well, to make it look natural and to keep patients safe. I enjoy the lasers. I mean, there are a lot of things you can do to get rid of large disfiguring birthmarks, or to help improve scars, or just rejuvenate the skin, which is also as important, based on the individual. So I love that.
I’ve been doing a lot of liposuction procedures, which I’ve enjoyed, a lot of tightening of the neck, which has been really great. I have one patient who, she’s doing lots of Zoom, and she was starting to wear scarves, and she’s like, “It’s the summer. How can I get away with wearing these things? I can’t do that.” So, that was really gratifying to me, to see her confidence. She’s leading a new team and going back into the work space and making them feel confident. So I think it’s so hard, but I think those are some of my favorites.
I would say I do a ton of fillers and Botox, so those are definitely up there. I do a fair amount of upper eyelid blepharoplasty, which I love. Again, moving that tiny sliver of skin opens up the eyes, takes a decade off of life, and really improves that patient’s confidence, so. It’s kind of like answering the question without answering the question. But those are some of my top procedures.
Jodi KatzWith the eye treatment, we’re literally talking about a millimeter of skin. That makes a huge difference, right?
Dr. Michelle HenryIt does. It does. And I take a really conservative approach. And so, it’s more than just a millimeter. Sometimes it’s a few. But it’s impactful. And it’s that thing that it’s just those small changes that really make a big difference, and a positive difference.
Jodi KatzI want to say hi to some of your fans. So it’s—I might not pronounce this right—SeitanJoshNewYork—
Dr. Michelle HenryYes, hi!
Jodi Katz… gave you an exclamation point for improving your patient’s lives. And SamTaylor said, “I’m really enjoying your perspective about beauty and aesthetics.”
Dr. Michelle HenryAmazing. Hi, guys.
Jodi KatzAnd Tweety51 said, “Hi Dr. Henry,” with a rose.
Dr. Michelle HenryHi.
Jodi KatzLet me see if I can get some more.
Dr. Michelle HenryKisses back to you.
Jodi KatzAnd there’s some questions rolling in. So, like I said, please input your questions about Dr. Henry and her career journey down below. We’ll get to them. We might get some questions about double chins too. We’ll see how much time we have at the end and see how many questions we can answer. Okay. So, insert your comments there as questions. We’ll get to them at the end of the interview. And as a reminder for anyone who just joined us, we’re here with Dr. Michelle Henry talking about her career journey. And stay tuned. After the interview, we’re gonna have some fan questions that we answer as well as a fun game.
So, let’s talk about the definition of success and how you measure success. This is a topic that I’m kind of obsessed and fascinated with, because when I started my career, I thought it meant money, right? And now changed my perspective on it. And through this show, I get to hear a lot of different points of view. And by the way, it’s a judgment-free zone, right? If it is money, that’s good too. So let’s go back in time a little bit. When you were a resident, what did you define as success for you? What was on your mind?
Dr. Michelle HenryYes. As a resident, success as a resident, really concentrating massive amounts of information. That was success. Making sure you did well on your board scores. That was success. Making sure your clinics ran smoothly. That was success. And I think there’s success as a resident. There’s a little area of overlap. And then there’s a different area that I consider success now that I’ve been working for many years. So I think the overlap is still always continuing to learn. So as a resident, I was always really excited when I got to learn new procedures or try new things, or I saw a new case. And I’m really grateful that that remains. Like when I see cool cases, that feeling that you get when you’re a resident, you’re like, “I’ve been wanting to see this for so long!”, it’s still there. And so, that lets me know I’m still doing the right things, that you’re still really excited to grow in your space. And I think it’s so critical, because I think the minute you get stagnant and the minute you think you know it all, you’re hurting yourself, and you may be hurting patients, because part of being a lifelong student is real. We’re learning more, we’re changing more. Medicine in 10 years is gonna look a lot different from medicine today. And so, that’s the overlap. So, success still feels like being excited about learning new things and seeking them out proactively.
But now there’s a new element of success now, I think, when I think about now working for many years, and I just started a practice, I think success to me is also only doing the things that make you feel good. There’s so many—there are tons of procedures I could do. There are tons of things I could do, tons of things that I could kind of get myself involved in. But I think you’re better at the things that make you happy. You’re better at the things that align with your core values. You’re better at the things that excite you in the morning. And we have many other doctors or other specialists to do the things that maybe don’t align with us fully. And that’s really for just the aesthetics space. For the medical space, my goal is to treat every medical patient that comes here, and that excites me.
But when we’re thinking about success in the aesthetic space, it’s doing those things, sticking to the aesthetic that feels good to me. I’m never gonna be the doctor that’s gonna give super, super huge full lips for someone who can’t accommodate that, right? And I don’t judge anyone’s aesthetic. If someone finds this beautiful—there’s things that I find beautiful that someone won’t. But it’s not what I do. So I try to stick to those things that make me feel good, reflect my core values. And it’s very much a privilege to be able to do that, because I know many people don’t have the privilege to be able to make those decisions because of finances. They have to make sure they’re doing whatever they’re told to do. And I think success at this point is being able to have the agency and the freedom to do those things that feel good and align with your core values.
Jodi KatzCan you give advice to any doctor listening right now or aspiring physician, how do you speak with a patient who’s looking for something that it’s not your aesthetic, it’s not what you do? What does that process look like? How do you navigate that?
Dr. Michelle HenryYes. So I think that typically, if a patient comes in and they want an aesthetic that’s far outside of what I like, it’s usually quite extreme. So I talk to them about the best thing is not to chase trends when we’re talking about beauty, not to chase trends when we’re talking about your look or your aesthetic, and find out why you like this. Because I think that sometimes you can pull people back and they can be a little bit more reasonable when they understand that sometimes when you’re chasing trends, you can create damage. You can create damage that is gonna be really difficult and expensive to undo. So sometimes if it’s something that’s that wildly extreme, I can reason with them. If I can’t reason with them, then I find someone who I think is more aligned with their aesthetic but will still do it safely, right?
But I think for the most part, patients just want to look good. And sometimes you have to orient them to realize what looking good is, and make them understand that when you’re just micromanaging features, that doesn’t mean you look good. You can have the perfect lips and still look terrible, because it’s all—whatever perfect means, because it’s all about harmony, and it’s all about working with your own natural foundation and your own natural proportions, and doing something that looks of nature, right? Because I always tell them, kids know that things don’t look of nature. You don’t have to be an aesthetic dermatologist to know that this is not within the range of what we see in the world, and this looks humanoid or like what we say, the uncanny valley. You start to look like that. We want to keep you within what works good for your proportions and your foundation.
So I think that I often have to kind of reorient them a little bit. But for the most part, most patients will kind of come in line. So I think it’s just about conversations, education, patience. I’m listening to them, really listening to what they want. Because sometimes they’re saying one thing, but the core is something else. So taking the time to really dive in deep and figure out what they’re looking to attain is important.
Jodi KatzSo that’s the therapist side of this business, right?
Dr. Michelle HenryThat is the therapist side. And that’s a big part of the business with everything that we do. There’s so much dermatology and psychology and overlap. I was actually really interested in psychiatry as well. But I liked this, your world is really just what you perceive it to be, right? That is your reality. And we see a lot of that in dermatology. So, there’s a lot of having these conversations and managing patients and having them see things in a healthier way.
Jodi KatzIt’s interesting because I’m imagining that a patient will come in with a picture of someone, like a celebrity, someone notable, and say they want this. But what you’re uncovering is that they want something, but it might not actually be that, right? It’s just a point of reference. It’s the only language they have, right, is a photo.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. So they may see someone and they say, “I want to look like this person because this person is the most popular person that’s around. This is the person who’s on every tabloid.” But this is not a face that is even close to what they can attain, right? So let me hear what you’re saying, is that maybe you want some aspects of this, but you really want to look good in your skin. You want to feel cool. You want to feel young. You want to feel fresh. So I try to just listen to their words and listen to their language, and have them describe what it is they like about this person, their look, but overall, why this person? Why this specific person? And sometimes when you’re pooling all of that information, you can come to a nice fair meeting place that will make them look good, feel good, but also stay within the bounds of what is of nature.
Jodi KatzYeah. It’s such an exciting process probably to be a part of, to help guide someone through this, because it’s so abstract, right, to someone who’s not a physician. Maybe they’re feeling sensitive about a certain area. But they don’t have the language for it. They’re not able to—and you also don’t want them to tell you how to do your job, right? So it’s almost nice and sweet that they come to you with these sort of outsize expectation or outsize request, and you can help refine it for them.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. And I think that when people say, “Don’t tell me how to do my job,” I really don’t—they can tell me whatever. I’m gonna do my job the way I do my job. So I don’t mind. You can instruct as much as you like, because your instruction lets me know what you’re passionate about. So I don’t mind them giving me the long laundry list, and “I want this, and I want that,” because I want you to do that. And then I’m gonna tell you how to get there. I’m gonna tell you how we actually get to what—you tell me what Point A is, and I’ll tell you what the path is between—or where Point B is, and I’ll tell you the path. But I want to know what your destination is. And you can tell me in as many details. I have very little ego when it comes to that. I just want to accumulate all of the information so I can get you to that point.
Jodi KatzSo let’s talk about content creation, right? Being a dermatologist is not always just about being a physician. Sometimes it’s about stories to tell and to a much wider audience. And you do a beautiful job of that. But that takes time, right?
Dr. Michelle HenryYes.
Jodi KatzAnd focus. So I’m deeply curious about how you organize your time, how much of your time you actually put into sharing your passions and your point of view with a wider audience on social media.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. So I just opened my own practice. I’ve been practicing now in the city about 10 years, a little over 10 years now. But I just opened my practice, it’ll be a year and a half a few weeks ago. And so, I’ve been thinking more and more about how to manage my time. So now that I’m in private practice, it’s a lot harder to spontaneously create content or do things to manage social media. And so, I’m learning about delegation, right? So, bringing on teams that are aligned with your vision to help you create something that is meaningful to you. So, that’s something that I’m working on. Always checking in with myself. I’ve learned that I had to—I think physicians and all of us high achievers, we’re Type A individuals. We see a challenge, and we become gleeful when we see a challenge. I have so much difficulty saying no. We like to post things like, “‘No’ is a complete sentence,” but it’s so hard to do that, because there’s so many people you love and who’ve invested in you over the years, and you want to support them, and you want to make your patients happy. But learning to use that “No” has definitely been something that’s really important to me.
And also, scheduling my time out of the office in the same way I schedule my time in the office. So scheduling my social time on my calendar, making it sacrosanct in the same way that I do my patient visits and my meetings and my advisory boards and all these things, because it’s so easy to lose yourself. And I think in the beginning of the process starting my practice, I kind of did. I woke up and I was like, “Wait a minute. I’m in the office for 16 hours a day seven days a week? And then I’m still working when I get home?” And so, it’s easy to do that. But if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t do good for others. And so, that thought has definitely made me, I want to do this for a really long time. I want to be the brightest, most cheerful doctor when my patients come in. I want to avoid burnout at all costs. And I think you can’t do that passively. You have to do that aggressively and intentionally to really make sure you protect yourself so you can help people.
Jodi KatzI want to talk more about this, but I also want to let you know that Julia Laboton is cheering for you.
Dr. Michelle HenryYes. Hi, Julia.
Jodi KatzAnd TheNakedBeautyPlanetPodcast is giving you lots of exclamation points and congratulating you. And lots of friends here. 12Marquita says, “At least she keeps it real. I can respect that.”
Dr. Michelle HenryAw, thank you.
Jodi KatzSo, this idea of saying no. I used to not do it either, but not I love doing it. It makes me so happy. I don’t know that I say—it’s not “No,” period. But it’s, 
“This work wouldn’t be the right collaboration for us,” and giving some advice, or “Not now,” and things like that.
Dr. Michelle HenryExactly.
Jodi KatzAnd it’s so empowering to know what your box is, right, to know, this is either the time I have or the focus I have, and this is the energy that I can contribute. And when I’m tapped out, to be able to be honest with yourself. It’s such a gift.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. It’s a gift. It’s a process. It’s hard to do because I think we want to believe that we can do everything. We want to believe, “Oh, I’ve encountered challenges before and I’m good at challenges. Challenges, that’s what I do.” But I get to the point where we all have limits. And I think it’s humbling to understand that. But it’s also empowering to know that in understanding my limits, I could be really good at the things I’m good at.
Jodi KatzOkay. So how did you get there? Did you work with a coach? Was it talking to colleagues? How did you get to this place where you felt really at ease? Because starting your own practice, I’m sure it’s a place where there isn’t always serenity.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. I got there through trial and error. I didn’t have a coach. That might have been really useful. But it comes through just, I think one thing that I did do is kind of check in with myself pretty often and say like, “How are you feeling? Why are you feeling so tired? Are the things that you’re doing making you happy?” You created this practice because you wanted a place where you felt like your patients are safe. You can curate an experience that really reflected what you wanted to give them. And you wanted to be happy. You wanted to have your workplace feel like your home where you can do your best and feel your best. And when you’re losing that, that’s counter to everything you’ve worked so hard to create. So when I started to feel that, I had to ask myself, “Okay, I’ve got to try to make sure that I pull back and figure out how we stay on the right path.” And so, it really was just trial and error, figuring out those things that fed me and made me feel good, those challenges that after I got over the challenge, I felt good on the other side. I didn’t just feel like check mark, I accomplished that. But I felt like that was a challenge worth taking on. And it’s okay to demand that you feel good about what you’re doing.
I think a lot of us, especially high achievers, in whatever space we’re in, we’re wed to this idea of delayed gratification and suffering for what you want. And that’s what we do. That’s where we shine. And to us, that’s how we attain success. But you can’t do that forever. And so you have to decide at what point in your career are you gonna say, “This is what I love to do, and how do I protect this by being my best self?” And I think that I kind of got to that point and said, “How do I protect this thing that I love by making sure I’m healthy and happy and I can do it for a really long time?”
Jodi KatzYou mentioned making time on the calendar for personal time just like you do for work. And I need advice. I need some help. And it’s really mostly about friends. I’m really great about it with my family. But I just don’t do it. I know a lot of people, but I only have a very small close of friend friend type friends. But I don’t make an effort. And I want to. I crave it, I miss it. What advice can you give me to help me here?
Dr. Michelle HenryI can say that too. I did that as well, especially when I first started the practice. And one day I looked up, and I was like, “Where are my friends? What did I do?” And I think you just have to proactively schedule. So I have lunches planned with my friends a month out. And it seems silly, but if I don’t do it a month out, I’m not gonna see this amazing person who I love. And it’s just about making sure that it changes. Friendships change as we get older. But I think what doesn’t change is that people understand that you’re invested them and that you’re important to you. And I think that in order to keep our friendships, A, I get fed by just spending time with my friends. But I also want to communicate to them that they’re important to me. And so, I have to structure it. So I plan lunches a month out. I plan weekend trips two months out. And I put it on my calendar so I don’t schedule things over it. And so, maybe it’s not as spontaneous as it used to be. But it’s not less meaningful. It’s something to look forward to. And it’s a way to communicate that I love you, I care for you, and I want you in my life. And I think it’s so easy to overlook that and allow everything else to become a priority, when I think at the end of our days, we’re gonna think about of course all the things we did, but we’re gonna think about our loved ones. And I try never to forget that.
Jodi KatzI love this advice. I will do it. It’s been, I guess the early years of my business—it’s been 15 years now. Maybe they’re all early years. Who knows? But it was about survival, I guess, is really the way to say it. And now that I’m not in survival mode anymore, I want to, yeah, go out for fun dinners and have fun weekends, and I just can’t make it happen. And I think it’s because I haven’t been treating it like all these other important appointments, right? I plan out my mammograms well in advance and my dental appointments. These are important to me. And if I have to do this with a friend six months ahead of time, just like with the dentist, well, that’s what I guess I’ll do. Whatever it takes, because I miss it. I crave it, and I want more of it.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. And it gives you something to look forward to. I have a spa date coming up in maybe five weeks, and I’m so excited about it. I haven’t seen her in a while and it’s nice. It’s something we both get to look forward to, and you don’t lose those connections.
Jodi KatzI love it. Thank you for that advice. My last question in this part of our interview is about the seduction of success, which is also a favorite theme of mine. When I started this business—well, the podcast is a side hustle. When I started my main job, Base Beauty, I always dreamed of one day Women’s Wear Daily writing about my agency. And then it happened, and I got a little taste of that. And then I wanted more and more and more. And it’s just like the way I am with cookies or candy. I have one and—
Dr. Michelle HenryAre we the same person? That’s me too.
Jodi KatzSo I’m curious about your experience. Now that you have your own practice and you’re building this business in your name, are you seduced by success?
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. I see Julia just put a really great quote here. Let me scroll down. She said, “Work will not sustain you when you retire. Friends will.”
Jodi KatzAww.
Dr. Michelle HenryAnd that’s really true. And I do get very seduced by success. And it’s almost like the—I think my friend calls it the competency curse, when you become good at something and you keep getting more opportunities and you keep doing more and you keep doing more. And it almost becomes a curse because it’s like your competency is keeping you from doing other things, at a point. In the beginning of your career, you want all of that. But at a certain point, you have to ask yourself, what is it worth? At a certain point, am I succeeding so other people can say, “Oh, she’s successful,” or am I succeeding because it feels good to me and it feeds me, and it’s aligned with my values, and it’s something that I’m gonna be proud to tell my family about? And I think at a certain point, you have to decide if you’re just making check marks or if it’s meaningful. And that’s a personal conversation. But at a certain point, there are only so many check marks and accolades you can get unless they’re meaningful to you.
And so, I think it’s just about checking with yourself, knowing that you don’t have to win every award, you don’t have to dance—I think one of my mentors told me, and I was like, “I have to do this, I’m doing this, I’m speaking here.” And she’s like, “You can’t dance at every wedding, and that’s okay.” But being there for the things that are most important to you. And I think really strategically and intentionally creating your path every year, deciding these are the key things that are important to me. Maybe I burned myself out last year, and these are the things that are low yield, and I’m not doing that. It’s okay. I’m not gonna have FOMO or whatever phrase you want to use now if I’m not gonna do that thing. These are the things that are highest yield. And really treating your time as if it’s as sacrosanct as it is, and getting the highest yield from it.
Because at the end of the day with any business, we want to work smart, not hard. And in doing that, that’s not just from a financial standpoint. It’s also from an overall health standpoint, what’s taxing on your body, what’s taxing on you mentally, and just making sure that you’re working smart in all avenues and figuring out what’s the highest yield.
Jodi KatzYou’re painting so many awesome pictures in my head for me that I’m gonna really sit with and enjoy. And this whole idea of yield is making me think of when I grow my garden in the summer. I stopped planting broccoli. Why would I take up all this space with broccoli where a head grows and then that’s it? It’s over. It takes up so much space. So zucchini and eggplant, they’re just so voluptuous in the offerings. And that’s what we are in our life too, right, focusing on things that have high yield.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. And another garden analogy, I’m not a gardener, but my mom’s a huge gardener. It’s also pruning, you know? It’s like you have all these little vines and things. Maybe it’s a poor analogy. You’ll tell me. But it’s also just streamlining, getting rid of the accessories and the weeds that are just taking up space so that you can shine.
Jodi KatzYeah. The weeds are sucking that sun when the plants and vegetables I’m trying to eat need that. Okay, this is so much fun. Thank you so much. Now we’re gonna move into what we call our exclusive Instagram Live content. So if you all were having fun already, well, we’re gonna amp it up even more. So our interview segment is wrapped up, and thank you, Dr. Henry, for your honest responses and your help, and thank you for your advice.
Dr. Michelle HenryOf course. My pleasure.
Jodi KatzAnd for those of you who joined us mid-show, welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty. Today I’m joined by dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry. You can listen to the full episode here on the feed after the show if you missed anything. And let’s move into our exclusive Instagram Live content now. This is the Where Brains Meet Beauty after show. And we’re gonna play a game and answer your fan questions. So, like I said, please input those fan questions into the comments, and we hope to get to them all.
Okay. So, Dr. Henry, you told me that you have a passion for singing. And I’m not gonna make you sing now, don’t worry.
Dr. Michelle HenryThat’s not good for me or you if I do.
Jodi KatzBut we wanted to make a fun game that ties into your passion for singing. So we’re gonna play what we’re calling Scenario Soundtrack. So the rules are really simple. I’ll describe three different scenarios, and using your love for music and singing, you’ll share with us what song you’d want to burst out singing to any specific scenarios, okay?
Dr. Michelle HenryOh no!
Jodi KatzThis is a judgment-free zone. There’s no right answer.
Dr. Michelle HenryI’m not good at this! But I’ll try. I’ll try.
Jodi KatzAll right. So, some of these are totally realistic scenarios and some of them are wackadoo. So we’ll [inaudible]. Okay, you ready to play?
Dr. Michelle HenryMm-hmm.
Jodi KatzOkay. Scenario number one, you just spoke about it. You just opened the doors of your new practice, right? The building has that new smell, right? It’s a fresh lobby full of excited patients. The nerves fill the air. What song comes to mind to capture these feelings?
Dr. Michelle HenryOh, this is hard! As much as I love music, I’m not good at this. Okay, let me think. Fresh office, I’m excited. Can I just say, “I’m so excited”? What song is that?
Jodi KatzYeah, it’s I think The Pointer Sisters.
Dr. Michelle HenryThat one. That one, yeah.
Jodi KatzThe Pointer Sisters? Yeah, that’s a really good one. It’s a classic. Scenario number two. This is a random one. You get asked to throw the first pitch at the Yankees season opener. What is your walkout song?
Dr. Michelle HenryOh. Huh. Oh, that’s a good one.
Jodi KatzI think this is a power song, right?
Dr. Michelle HenryIt’s a power song. I was thinking a little Beyonce. I mean, there are so many powerful Beyonce songs, but I can’t think of one right now. I don’t know!
Jodi KatzOkay. Maybe someone in the comments can help us.
Dr. Michelle HenryYes, please. Phone a friend.
Jodi KatzOkay. Power song, like total empowerment, Beyonce. Julia’s writing “I Am Woman”. Is that a song?
Dr. Michelle HenryOh, I like that. I like “I Am Woman”. Is that Beyonce?
Jodi KatzAnd then “Thunderstruck,” AC/DC.
Dr. Michelle HenryI like it.
Jodi KatzFame. Oh, like the TV show Fame?
Dr. Michelle HenryYes.
Jodi Katz“Ring the Alarm”.
Dr. Michelle HenryOoh. I like that. Ooh, “Ring the Alarm” sounds like it’s good, although I don’t think the message—yeah. “Who Runs the World”. I like that one, yeah.
Jodi KatzOkay, that’s the one. Okay. You’ll let me know when the Yankees call you and I’ll come watch. Okay. Last scenario. This is a good one. You get the call. A new show is soon to be hitting Broadway, and the part couldn’t be more perfect for you. They have to have you. You must decide to either hang up your white coat for a brief time and follow your singing dreams or turn them down. What song is playing in this moment?
Dr. Michelle HenryLet me think. I mean, I would totally do it. I would just see patients at night. Because I can’t give that up. Okay, so guys, help me. I need a song that says yes, emphatically. But I can’t think of one.
Jodi KatzOkay, so I don’t know if Daisy was answering this question before, but she wrote, “You Can’t Break My Soul”.
Dr. Michelle HenryI like that song. But I want something that’s like, yes, all the way yes.
Jodi KatzOkay. This is the ultimate yes. This is like the spinning in circles, screaming joyfully. This is the wind is just hitting your hair in the right way. The sun is hitting your skin in this beautiful glow. This is the moment. Okay. Fans, we need some help here.
Dr. Michelle HenryHelp. Help.
Jodi KatzOkay. “I Will Survive”, Daisy’s recommending.
Dr. Michelle HenryThat’s a good one. I like that. Daisy’s got the hits. What else is there? Okay, let me think.
Jodi KatzI wish I was better at this game. I’m awful with music. I only listen to yacht rock, which is like, not a—
Dr. Michelle HenryI just learned what that was recently. And I like it, apparently. But I didn’t know what that was until a few weeks ago.
Jodi KatzOkay, “Girl on Fire”.
Dr. Michelle Henry“Girl on Fire” is great. I like that one. “Girl on Fire” is good. Which one is it? Oh gosh. Is there another song? Oh, that’s Alicia Keys too. But it’s kind of more romantic, where she says, “I’m ready.” “A Moment Like This” is good.
Jodi Katz“A Moment Like This”? Okay. What is “A Moment Like This”? Do I know this song?
Dr. Michelle HenryWell, when I think of “A Moment Like This”, isn’t it the Kelly Clarkson? “A Moment Like This”, right? Or maybe I made it up?
Jodi KatzNo, I mean, if it’s not like Kenny Loggins and I don’t know it. Okay. So Katy Perry, “Firework”.
Dr. Michelle HenryThat’s a good one too. I like that.
Jodi KatzI know that one too. I know that one. Okay, these are good. Okay, so are you gonna pick, for number three, you get the call for the Broadway show. Is it gonna be “Firework”, “A Moment Like This”, or “Girl on Fire”?
Dr. Michelle HenryI like “A Moment Like This”. That’s a good one. Yeah, Kelly Clarkson.
Jodi KatzAwesome. Okay, this is so fun. Thank you for playing along. That was a really funny one. You’ll let me know when Broadway calls, right?
Dr. Michelle HenryI will, for sure.
Jodi KatzOkay. And our last segment is fan questions. So we’ll have time maybe for two or three. Okay. Here is a great question from the chat. What did you learn from your mentor that helps you navigate your career today?
Dr. Michelle HenryYou know what I learned from her? She was this little pint-sized lady. She couldn’t have been more than 5’2”. But she was fiercesome. She was confident. She knew that she had done the work. She was confident in the fact that she had been working for years. She was up to date on her literature. She was confident. She trusted her instincts. And in watching her, many would challenge her. She’s a pint-sized little lady, and she stood her ground. And so, I learned that from her. I learned to trust that I did the work, trust that I’m well prepared, to trust myself. And so, one challenge, I trust myself. I trust that I’ve done the work. I trust my instincts. I trust that I’ve always sought to be excellent.
And so, yeah, I’ve learned to kind of be strong and stand in that. And I learned that from her, because I’d always watch her. I was towering over her, although I’m not that tall. And always, these old, grumpy male surgeons would come and they’d question her. And she was just completely unshaken. So I always loved seeing that, and I always pocketed that to hold some of that for myself.
Jodi KatzThat question was from DuchessDeburns. The next question is from 12Marquita. Double chin, what’s your recommendation?
Dr. Michelle HenrySo that depends. There’s double chin and there’s double chin, right? So it depends on which double. For a light double, you can do some of the injectables, like Kybella. You need multiple treatments. So I have patients that come in and say, “It didn’t work.” That’s because I didn’t even recommend one treatment. One treatment’s not gonna be enough for most people. But multiple treatments if you have a little tiny pocket. But if you have a robust double chin, you’re gonna want something a little bit more aggressive. So I do tumescent liposuction in the office. And so, that’s liposuction while you’re awake. We just use a little bit of numbing medicine. We’ll use a little micro cannula to suck out the fat, and that’s permanent fat reduction. And sometimes I’ll use lasers that help to tighten up the skin. So I use a laser called FaceTight, which helps to tighten up the skin underneath so that we can get rid of that fat and also make that skin nice and tight and sleek. So that’s really a favorite of mine.
And so, we had just a big burst of chin and neck liposuction recently, and I think because it’s just so great. It’s so reliable. It’s easy, it’s safe. So it depends on if you’re a double or if you’re a double.
Jodi KatzI wouldn’t typically have thought of going to a dermatologist for a double chin. I would have thought, oh, that has to be solved with a plastic surgeon. But it sounds like there’s a lot of options at a derm.
Dr. Michelle HenryYeah. I always say that dermatologists brought—not plastic surgery, but we brought liposuction to the country. Anything that’s in the skin. And so, when you’re doing liposuction, you stay within that subcutaneous plane. If you’re not, you’re causing lots of trouble. And so, it really is just that subcutaneous tissue. So that is what we do and that is where we live. And so, dermatologists have been doing liposuction for a very long time.
One of my colleagues who passed a little while ago, a lovely, lovely man, trailblazer in dermatology, I think he passed in his 80s, he remembers bringing liposuction to Indiana and getting sued by the surgery departments because they called it quackery. And they said, “There’s no way it’s gonna work.” But of course, our plastic surgeon colleagues do an amazing job of it and do large volume liposuction. So it’s not really a turf war. But dermatologists are very well equipped to do it as well.
Jodi KatzSo I think we have time for one last question. Here’s a good one. At what age should a patient start considering Botox? What’s your take on getting the baby Botox to prevent future wrinkles?
Dr. Michelle HenryI think it’s fantastic. I mean, I’ve been doing it myself for, how many years now? 13 years, right? So I think it works, and I’m wed to the idea of doing a little bit so you don’t have to do a lot, right? Because wrinkles are really just wear and tear. So if you never allow those muscles to create that wear and tear, you never need to have the big procedures, or we don’t have to do the fillers to lift those lines [inaudible]. So I really love this concept, and it’s something that we’ve been doing a long time before it had a label. Kind of instinctively, we know that if you take your problems before they become really severe, it’s kind of like what we do with all things, preventative care. You take care of the issues. You have good maintenance before it becomes more severe and maybe you never have to deal with those big problems.
Jodi KatzRight. Like going to the dentist instead of waiting for your teeth to fall out, right?
Dr. Michelle HenryExactly. Yeah, that.
Jodi KatzThis is so fun, Dr. Henry. I’m grateful for all the stories and the depth of learning about your career and your journey, and for playing along with our fun game and answering these fan questions. So thank you so much for joining. You’ve been our 218th episode, so this is super exciting.
Dr. Michelle HenryOh yay! That’s a good number. I like it.
Jodi KatzAnd this concludes our episode for today, everybody. But stay tuned. We’re gonna announce the date for our last guest on our Artistry theme, and that will be Brooke DeVard from The Naked Beauty Podcast. And then join us on October 12th at 4:00 PM Eastern. We’ll dive into our Health-focused quarter with co-founders Higher Dose. That will be Lauren Berlingeri and Katie Katz, both lovely people and doing really cool things at Higher Dose. So follow us on Instagram to get all those dates.
Dr. Henry, so great to see you. I hope to see you in real life soon.
Dr. Michelle HenryGood to see you too. Yes, hopefully. Thank you.
Jodi KatzThank you, everybody. Bye.
Dr. Michelle HenryBye, guys.

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