Dr. Bertha Baum of Aventura Dermatology in Aventura, Florida, is a powerhouse in the world of cosmetic dermatology.
She is a member of numerous associations, including the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.
With over 10 years of experience in general and cosmetic dermatology, she is an attending professor, media adviser, and consultant, all while raising a family with her husband and three children.
How does she juggle it all?
It certainly isn’t easy, but when you have the passion and drive Dr. Baum has for helping her patients look and feel their best, nothing is impossible.
Dr. Baum’s Personal Beauty Secrets
Dr. Baum doesn’t just love helping others achieve their aesthetic goals. Her own journey to beautiful, youthful skin began during residency.
“I definitely started with skin care,” she said. “I think that’s the first step for most people when you first get interested, but not everyone is into it. As I got into my late 20s I noticed I started to have lines, and I had very pronounced lines in my glabella (the highest point in the forehead).
“So I started with Botox just in that area, because I wanted to be very conservative. Then I noted that I had a big tear trough that made me look tired, so my first filler was treating that.
“Since then I’ve done other things like Sculptra, which promotes collagen, because as you get into your 30s you notice your face is starting to fall a little bit. It’s nothing major, but because I’m in this industry, I’m constantly evaluating people, and it’s second nature to evaluate my own face when I look in the mirror, too… Obviously, without going crazy! I’ve done almost all the lasers, but only when needed.”
She advises everyone to be mindful not to get too caught up in the trends and overdoing cosmetic treatments.
“I don’t think you have to go all out if you don’t need it. Some patients come in and they say, ‘I want to do everything,’ and I tell them, ‘You don’t need it. All you need is a little Botox here and you’re fine.’ Overdoing it is definitely going to make you look older instead of younger, so you want to pace yourself. It’s OK to treat things as you notice them over time, just be careful not to go too heavy on things like fillers, because the overfilled look does not look good.”
Dr. Baum’s Keys to Skin Care as You Age
As a highly sought dermatologist, Dr. Baum is often asked for her personal recommendations for combatting signs of aging. It often surprises people just how simple her advice is.
“If you have to choose just one thing, I would obviously recommend sun protection. It definitely affects how you’re going to look and how your skin is going to look over the years,” she said.
For those looking to be a bit more proactive in caring for their skin, the key is understanding and addressing your skin’s specific needs.
“Our skin changes through time. When we’re young, we may be predisposed to having acne, but as you get older and experience menopause, the skin changes and may become more sensitive and very dry.
“We want to tailor our skincare regimen not only on those changes, but also depending on our environment. Someone who lives in New York in the winter will obviously have a totally different skincare routine than someone who is in South Florida during the summer with all of the humidity. You want to change it up depending on those factors.”
Dr. Baum recommends a foaming, exfoliating cleanser for people dealing with oily skin. If your skin is sensitive, a gentler cleanser can help prevent breakouts and irritation. Most often, however, people aren’t just one or the other; you may have combination skin that is oily and acne-prone in some areas, but dry and sensitive in others.
If this sounds like you, Dr. Baum suggests a combination of products.
“On the T-zone or wherever you have oily skin, use the foaming or exfoliating cleanser, then use the gentle cleanser on the rest of the face. That way you’re targeting both areas,” she said.
But what about specific ingredients you should look for in your skin care?
Dr. Baum recommends:
An antioxidant, such as vitamin C, that you can use every morning to protect your skin from harmful free radicals and environmental pollutants. As the most common antioxidant used in skincare products, there’s something out there for every budget.
If you have more sensitive or acne-prone skin that doesn’t tolerate vitamin C, niacinamide is a great antioxidant as well, and it’s going to help with both.
Sunscreen, as previously mentioned, is another must on Dr. Baum’s list.
“I personally like mineral sunscreens over chemical sunscreens, but they’re all great. We’ve had, over the years, issues with conflicting information about certain ingredients causing different types of cancers. Mineral sunscreens have never been an issue with that. None of the studies have shown adverse effects caused by absorption into the bloodstream or anything like that,” she said.
“That said, chemical sunscreens are very safe. If you are prone to pigmentation, using tinted sunscreen works better for protection than regular sunscreen. It offers extra protection and extra coverage, so it’s like a twofer.”
As you get older – into your 40s and 50s – Dr. Baum recommends adding products that contain peptides and growth factors into your skincare regimen. These ingredients help to promote collagen production in the skin, which naturally slows as we age.
“We know collagen decreases in the skin about 1 percent every year, so every 10 years you’re getting a 10 percent decrease in collagen production. Growth factors help to restore some of that lost production to combat fine lines and wrinkles. So you wash your face, then use a product with growth factors and peptides, then you put on your antioxidant and sunscreen.”
She also recommends adding retinol as tolerated to your nighttime routine.
“Retinol has been proven to help with wrinkles in anti-aging, as well as pimples and acne. It acts as an all-in-one, and is a great way of renewing your cells,” she said. “If you are more sensitive or you are older, you want to moisturize first because the moisturizer will act as a protective barrier that still allows your skin to absorb the retinol but without the dryness and peeling that can sometimes happen.”
Dr. Baum’s Cosmetic Treatment Philosophy
Despite all of her success, dermatology wasn’t always in the cards for Dr. Baum.
“I actually wanted to be a pediatrician. Then I had my own children, and I said, ‘No way,’” she joked. “I’ve always been into the arts – I actually didn’t know if I wanted to do medicine or fashion design. So to have a blending of the scientific and artistic side of me is nice. When I found dermatology, I really liked the idea of having a lot of procedures to offer, but also a focus on patient care.”
Her knowledge, skill, and personability quickly gained her the attention of not only prospective clients, but some of the largest brands in the industry. In just 10 years, Dr. Baum has worked closely with some of the most recognizable names in skin care, like Neutrogena, Galderma, and Allergan.
She is often asked to share her expertise to the English and Spanish-speaking media about the latest advancements in skin care technologies. She has collaborated in several publications, in world renown dermatological journals and books with her research.
Above all, Dr. Baum remains dedicated to providing her patients the highest quality care. That commitment to personalized care is why Dr. Baum’s patients love her. At Aventura Dermatology, the focus is always on the individual and their goals, not fitting a mold.
“We’re all unique,” Dr. Baum said. “I think that’s very important that you know we’re not trying to create a cookie-cutter look. We’re trying to enhance what you already have. That’s one of the things that we emphasize at my practice. We work together with the patient to see what we can do to enhance their beauty and make them look more refreshed, but still like themselves.”
As her patient base continues to grow and more people seek out her expertise, Dr. Baum often consults with first-time patients who are nervous about getting cosmetic treatments. There’s a fear of judgment or regret that has to be overcome first.
“Everyone has their own priorities,” she said. “There’s no judgment there; whatever works for you and you feel good about it, that’s what matters. That’s what makes a difference in how it’s perceived by others.”
If you’re still nervous or uncertain where to start, don’t worry: There are products and treatments that are beginner-friendly to help ease you into the world of cosmetic enhancement.
“There are plenty of anti-aging things that can be done in the office. I love all the procedures that we can do,” she said. “Some things are really non-invasive, so if you’re just starting and you’re not ready to do things like Botox and fillers, there are infusions like PRX that are applied to the skin once a week by an aesthetician. It only takes 10 minutes, and you would be shocked at the results for something that involves no needles and is just like getting a massage. It hydrates the skin, helps with the pores, and even gives a little bit of tightening. It’s a great first treatment. There’s also hydrafacials and AquaGold micro infusions, which are personalized.”