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4 Dubai-Based Doctors to the Stars Who are Shaping a Modern Face of Clinical Beauty

Freezing, plumping, and contouring the Middle East’s A-list, these Dubai-based doctors are shaping a modern face of clinical beauty.

Champion of minimalism
Dr Melissa McKay

After time spent in the NHS, then working alongside teams attending to congenital and traumatic cranio-facial problems and burns, and plastics and reconstructive roles, Dr McKay went into private practice with the urge to help people become the best versions of themselves. Operating clinics in London, Prague, and Dublin, the British doctor says she brings a holistic approach to her consultations at her Dubai residency, as medical director at the stylishly earth-hued Blended Wellness. Here, she says a personal connection is crucial for her best work. “Understanding the individual, their drive for treatments, and what underlies their decisions – I feel this provides the best opportunity to really ‘see’ my patients and as they relax into their stories, the facade drops and the real person is presented to you,” she shares. “If by the end of a consultation, I have demonstrated a level of respect, honesty, and genuine desire to optimize the result for my patients, this means I have built trust and understanding and these are qualities that are rewarded by loyalty,” she explains. “It does not mean that one leaves with receipt of a treatment – but an uplift in their self-esteem, self-worth, value, and confidence. This is the ultimate, desirable outcome, to feel worthy in one’s own skin and able to conquer the challenges life presents through this.”

Dr McKay’s specialties lie in natural lip augmentation, facial profile balancing, and liquid rhinoplasty, citing symmetry and balance as her guiding principles. “I pride myself on minimalist treatments providing natural results and enhancements of one’s beauty,” she explains. Like other doctors, she’s noticed a change due to digital influences on clients’ desires. “Since the increase in hybrid and remote working patterns with more online meetings, there has been a palpable shift in procedures being requested. Lip augmentations and Botox were historically the go-to treatments for many years, now individuals are more focused on full face treatments, under eye rejuvenation and skin concerns.” This, she says, has led to a crossover of clinical treatments being continued after the appointment. “People want to do more at-home care with skincare and targeted, progressive treatments such as radiofrequency, micro-needling, and skin boosting treatments to help boost collagen. I firmly believe this has arisen due to the mounting awareness of the extremes of aesthetic treatments and surgery.”

Acknowledging that cosmetics doctors hold a powerful position with the ability to completely change a patient’s appearance, Dr McKay points out that subtle work with natural results can help women with superficial insecurities to love how they look – her tight-lipped list of celebrity clients included. “We can all lose confidence due to aging, years focusing on raising families or our jobs and at some point, we do not recognize the person before us in a mirror,” she shares. “The role of people such as myself is to help to restore, replenish, and revive both the appearances where possible and the belief and love in our patients of themselves.”

Preserving heritage
Dr Halah Taha

A year after opening its first Middle Eastern outpost in the Zaha Hadid-designed Opus tower in Dubai’s Business Bay, luxury aesthetics clinic Ouronyx has garnered a tightly held following of international celebrities, royals, and clients of prestige. In the chic, five-star surroundings, they come to see Dr Halah Taha, the Iraqi aesthetic doctor known for her approach to non-surgical injectables. Lamenting the “big lips, very pointy chin” trend, Dr Taha says that she aims to work with her clients’ genetics, not against them. “Maintaining a woman’s heritage is important to me, this is her culture in her nose, her cheekbones, her eyebrows. Often we are enhancing these points of beauty, not hiding them, so their own individual beauty is more accented,” she shares. “I’m upfront that some looks cannot be achieved by everyone, that it’s not supported by your bone structure or genetic features.”

First-time clients to Ouronyx are given more than the standard allergies checklist, with a personality type test, and a survey that collates the patient’s hopes and fears about potential treatments. “It’s important to know how they feel and where the desire to make these changes is coming from and how they may psychologically respond to treatments, how it would affect them from the inside,” explains Dr Taha. She says her clients are now hoping to look like themselves – or at least a version of. “Previously, they would come in with photos of celebrities and models as their inspiration, but now they bring in images of themselves with a filter on. But filters aren’t reality and sometimes it’s not possible to create these looks. I think this can cause emotional distress as they see themselves like that on the phone and then in the mirror, they look different.”

At Ouronyx, trends need to be well and truly tested before they are considered for the clinic’s services. For this reason, says Dr Taha, she doesn’t perform thread lifting, instead prefers to sculpt and contour the face with a mix of filler, Botox, and collagen replenishing and brightening treatments like Morpheus. “It’s a huge responsibility and a great privilege that you know that you can improve or leave such a positive impression on the client’s life,” she adds. “I have to be certain and precise with every milliliter injected.”

A holistic approach
Dr Jaffer Khan

One of the region’s best-known names in surgical fixes, plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Jaffer Khan is also a serial entrepreneur, having launched his third private practice last month. His latest project, AEON, a state-of-the-art fixture in the already iconic Atlantis the Royal resort on the Palm Jumeirah, takes a slightly different route to his previous ventures. While Aesthetics International and two branches of The Nova Clinic by Aesthetics are a favorite for medical level treatments and surgical work, the new AEON offers a holistic angle to clinical interventions, with the rejuvenescence concept presenting three client-centered categories – regenerative medicine, regenerative wellness, and aesthetic treatments. A long list of cutting-edge treatments aims to reverse aging and physical deterioration inside and out, including exosome therapy, genomics, stem cell therapy, and shock wave therapy.

Dr Khan continues to be in demand for his specialty breast surgery, particularly secondary surgeries removing and replacing implants, and breast lifts. Here, the Pakistani professional takes a methodical approach to his work so that patient and doctor are completely attuned. “My philosophy for facial non-surgical treatments is firstly, to discuss a patient’s objectives. It’s important to hear what the patient is trying to achieve and their thought process,” he explains. “Secondly, to take a complete medical history.” While he doesn’t disclose the names of his higher profile clients, the doctor has developed a reputation for gently refreshing with his signature Face Art by Dr Khan. Rather than carving away to sharpen, he places volume in the right places – cheeks, under eyes, lips, jawline, and chin – to achieve a more harmonious look.

For him, the popularity of social media offers both positives and negatives, with his work easy for potential patients to find when looking to go under the knife. But the apps also pose an obstacle to managing a patient’s expectations. “I believe with the advent of social media, patients are well versed in this field, as this has become their first research method. Although I believe information found on these platforms also leads patients to unrealistic expectations.”

Amplifying natural beauty
Dr Radmila Lukian

The founder of Lucia Clinic isn’t shy about sharing her celebrity clientele, with a red carpet of household names filling Dr Radmila Lukian’s Instagram feed. Naomi Campbell, Eva Longoria, Lindsey Lohan, Huda Kattan, Joan Smalls, and Sania Mirza have all visited her for various treatments, with more private personalities including “Bollywood celebrities, regional Arab stars, and Miss Universe winners” choosing to not smile for a post-treatment picture. “Whether they are celebrities or not, everyone who comes to us is treated with the same professionalism, respect, and discretion,” she’s quick to note. “Our goal is always to create natural and rejuvenating results that enhance each client’s individual features rather than creating an unnatural or overly altered appearance.”

Dr Radmila Lukian with Naomi Campbell, Lindsay Lohan, and Huda Kattan

A dermatologist from Serbia, Dr Lukian specializes in nonsurgical facelifts to give that Hollywood glow. “In anti-aging, we must keep the volume in the face, which we achieve with dermal fillers,” she explains. In addition to volumizing, she points to pigmentation and sun damage as a universal concern for the region’s diverse complexions. “Every skin type from around the world can be found in the UAE, and as a result, I have to be knowledgeable about the different treatments and procedures that work best for each.” Part of her clientele’s candidness about the anti-aging boost found in a hypodermic syringe, she says, can be attributed to increased education on clinical treatments. “There may have been negative perceptions about aesthetic treatments and surgery in the past, as some people may have viewed them as superficial or vain,” says Dr Lukian. “I have observed that this mindset is changing, and more people are open and accepting, due in part to the increasing awareness of the medical and therapeutic benefits of these procedures, as well as a growing appreciation for the importance of self-care and personal wellness,” she muses.

Originally published in the March 2023 issue of Vogue Arabia

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