I had a great interview with Dr. DiAnna Davis. She is a very successful dermatologist in Dallas, Texas. She has amazing energy, and I am happy to shed some light on who this wonderful woman is and how she contributes to bringing great skincare to all shades of skin.
How Dr. Davis Got Interested In Beauty & Why This Is Her Passion
As a young child, my dad was in medicine, so I always had a curious mind about science and medicine. Plus, a combination of my taking some science classes in high school made me think that I may want to look into going into medicine, particularly in beauty, aesthetics, and dermatology. It was my own experience with acne that really got me interested. I suffered from acne as an adult. And so, while I was in graduate school, living in New Orleans at the time, I saw how it affected my self-esteem and confidence. I didn’t want to go to class sometimes, or I would try different camouflaging techniques until I decided to go and seek out help instead of trying a bunch of different products on the shelves. And this is where I feel a lot of people start.
I went to see a dermatologist, and once we got my acne under control, I just felt like the world of ideas opened on what I wanted to do—to practice medicine and contribute to re-instilling that confidence in my patients and medical condition to feel good about themselves.
Dermatologists Are Not The First Thought
Most of the time, a dermatologist is not the first person people think to go and see. Even for me, with acne, I had tried many over-the-counter products. I tried some of the products that you may see on infomercials. It was a friend of mine when I was in graduate school; she suggested I go see a dermatologist—before that, it hadn’t come to my mind. So, I hear this a lot, even with my patients today.
RELATED: 13 Signs You Need to See a Dermatologist
Other Areas Of Beauty That Were Of Interest? & How Dr. Davis Narrowed It Down
I didn’t really consider other areas of beauty. Once I decided that I wanted to pursue medicine and attend medical school, dermatology was one field. The other field you can think about when it comes from a beauty perspective would be plastic surgery. And while I do love working with my hands, I don’t always love working in a hospital. So I just had to decide, do I want more of an outpatient setting? Do I want something that’s in the hospital? What kind of hours do I want? Do I want to have weekends free? Different things like that came into play.
I initially thought I would pursue a surgical specialty because I loved working with my hands. Then I had the chance to shadow a dermatologist. That’s when, again, a different experience opened up my world to see that I can still do many procedures with my hands even in dermatology. And I don’t have to be in a hospital with machines and noises, and everything is always going off.
The Journey To Becoming A Board-Certified Dermatologist
It started with going to undergrad. First, I went to Tuskegee University, doing four years of undergrad, majoring in biology. At that point, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure if I still wanted to do medicine, so I decided to do a master’s program at Tulane University. And that was also in biology. From there, you have to take an entrance exam to even get into medical school. I had to take the entrance exam a few times, which is not always easy. I felt like giving up sometimes.
Once I got a score that allowed me to be accepted into medical school, you do four years of medical school. Usually, at about your fourth year, you’ll decide what specialty you want to go into, whether that’s pediatrics, ob-gyn, dermatology, general surgery, what have you. When you’re in your fourth year of medical school, you must apply for a residency, meaning that you will specialize in something as a physician. My dermatology residency was three years plus an intern year that I did immediately after medical school.
Many of my classmates and colleagues went directly from undergrad into medical school. I, on the other hand, took an untraditional route. I took a break and went to graduate school for one year, and then I also took time off and explored some of my other passions in between. Then a couple of years later, I decided to go to medical school. Or you can do the traditional path where you will do four years of college, four years of medical school, and then ideally three to four years of specialized training in your residency. So you’re looking at about 12 years total.
And we cannot forget that in between different points of those years, you take different exams to be a physician licensed to practice in the United States. At the end of my dermatology residency, I had to take a board exam where all my training over three years was then tested with the standardized exam. So once you pass that exam, that gives you your board certification. Whenever I talk to my family members or friends about them looking for any kind of physician, whether it’s an ob-gyn, their pediatrician, their dentist, etc. I always say that you want to find someone board certified in their specialty because they have met all of the criteria that qualify them to practice in the United States.
Nomination Or Just Meeting The Right Criteria
While going through medical school and residency, you have advisors always making sure you know that you’re meeting some of those requirements because, without some of them, you may not be able to graduate. And then, of course, depending on the state you live in, if you are not board certified, that may affect where you’re able to practice, whether a hospital, a clinic, or another place in relation.
In the beauty industry, I treat medical conditions affecting hair, skin, and nails. I also have a lot of colleagues who, let’s say, are estheticians. Where again, they go to a specialized cosmetology school. Yes, they can do your facials or, in some states, different laser procedures, or they may be able to help you with the microdermabrasion treatment for your acne or something like that. They have a particular training that allows for them to be certified. However, when it comes to being diagnosed with something and receiving medical treatment, including prescriptions, that would come from a board-certified dermatologist.
I love social media, but whenever people are online looking for solutions for hair loss, acne, or dry, itchy skin, they sometimes only go by what they see online, not a professional. I will always say on my social media platforms, go and have your skin or hair evaluated by a dermatologist first, a board-certified dermatologist, because we will be able to tell you ideally what’s causing whatever your concern is. And then again, we can customize the treatment plan. And a lot of time, I may recommend products that are over the counter, prescribe prescription products, or even coordinate treatments with an aesthetician. Now you have a diagnosis and know what’s going on before you try all these different treatments that may or may not work.
RELATED: Dr. Zoe Indigo-Smith: “We Need More Black Dermatologists”
What Sets Dr. Davis Apart From Other Board-Certified Dermatologists?
So I will say one of the things that set me apart is that after I completed all those years of training, you would think that I would’ve had enough, but I didn’t. So, after I finished my residency, I went on to do a fellowship in cosmetic dermatology. A fellowship is even further specialized training in dermatology, which involves hair, skin, and nails. But I really wanted to learn how to do laser procedures, in particular on skin of color. I wanted to learn how far that envelope could be pushed. What is safe for skin of color, and what isn’t safe? I wanted to learn different body contouring procedures. I wanted to learn about different injectables and procedures we can do for anti-aging.
Going The Extra Mile
When you go an extra step and do the fellowship training, it just gives you more focused training. It also gives you a number of cases you must complete to be certified for your fellowship. A lot of times, I love doing pretty aggressive procedures on patients, especially for acne scars. That’s a little bit of my jam. So while I have dermatology colleagues who may do minor procedures for acne scars, I tend to do very aggressive procedures where I’m essentially evaporating the patient’s skin, or at least the superficial layers of their skin. I’m vaporizing them off their face to turn over that skin so we can treat their acne scars. I feel like that’s something that also sets me apart from some of my other dermatology colleagues.
I am finished with training now, but I will say you never stop learning in the beauty field and dermatology field. There will always be new treatments, new products, or things I’m learning about from my followers or patients on social media. So, I’m always trying to ensure I’m up to date with what’s going on on TikTok or Instagram so I can know what to tell my patients not to do.
Xeomin: A Direct Competitor With Botox, What Does This Mean? What Sets It Apart?
It’s the first FDA-approved anti-wrinkle injection for frown lines. The way I describe it is whenever you get mad or concentrate too hard, you may frown or make a face where you start to get more lines between your eyebrows. So Xeomin has been on the market for some time and was the first one that was FDA-approved for the temporary improvement of those frown lines. What makes it stand out is that during the manufacturing process, it goes through a double-filtered purification process to remove certain unnecessary proteins that aren’t needed along with its active ingredient to be effective. So what’s nice about that is with you not having any accessory proteins, it’s less likely that your body may potentially build up resistance to it over time. So that’s what really sets Xeomin apart from some of the other competitors on the market. It’s, again, for the temporary improvement of the frown lines, so it is a treatment you should do several times throughout the year. But it is great, and it’s effective. It kicks in fast, and it really works.
Competitor Chemicals Exiting Through Xeomin’s Double Filter Process?
So the active ingredient in XEOMIN is incobotulinumtoxinA, a particular toxin that causes temporary paralysis of these muscles that can create those frown lines. With other competitors, they may have a different molecular shape or structure to their active ingredient. So there’s a little bit of difference potentially in a molecular structure, but they all essentially do the same. But again, what sets Xeomin apart is that double-filtered purification process. So you don’t have any accessory proteins to which you could build resistance. You want the active ingredient to do what you want it to do.
Teyana Taylor Is Using It!
Merz, a great company, developed Xeomin, and that’s how this partnership came about. They connected me with Teyana Taylor, which I loved because everybody wants to age the best version of themselves, especially as African American women. We all may talk about different anti-aging secrets that we have either from our grandmothers or aunts or what have you. But talking about actually going and doing an injectable treatment is still sometimes seen as, I think, a little taboo in African American community. Either people may feel like they’re not sure exactly what it is, wondering if it’s for African American people or if it is something we should be doing. Is it safe? Are we going to look weird? Are we going to look frozen?
The list of possible concerns could go on and on. So, I love talking about that with my patients, and I loved conversing with Teyana because she’s beautiful; she has great facial features. If you know Teyana Taylor, she is very animated with her facial expressions, which, over time, can lead to etched-in lines between the eyebrows or somewhere else. I think she’s someone we all have fallen in love with, but we all definitely want to age the best version of ourselves.
What’s nice is that you can do an anesthetic treatment like a Xeomin, which can be tastefully done. You can do it as young as your early thirties. I started in my late twenties, and that’s just because I didn’t want to potentially get any wrinkles down the line. We talked about it being a little rejuvenation where you just start and do small amounts every few months. Just enough to keep everything looking nice and beautiful. You do not look altered or different; you don’t feel different, any of that. You’re just adding it to your anti-aging regimen that already includes skincare, sunscreen, and things of the light.
RELATED: Teyana Taylor: Dancing Her Way To A Beautiful Body
Continuous Use Of Xeomin
There’s a continuation of using Xeomin because the aging process will continue. If you stop, a year passes, or a couple of years pass, you can definitely pick up and start the process again. But it’s really nice when you just kind of keep yourself on a maintenance schedule so that way you’re just always staying a little bit ahead of the curve. Sometimes if you wait, let’s say, the course of 10 years or something, then when you come back, we may have to do a little bit more than just a small injection if we have started to have deep etched-in lines or wrinkles appear on the skin. So, again, I tell my patients we do a little bit every three to four months—just enough to keep everything exactly how we like it.
Recommended Age To Start Xeomin
I think that it’s a great treatment to start in your late twenties to early thirties; it’s a great time to just do small amounts. I think teenagers definitely should not. I use Xeomin; I love it. I learned how to do it in residency, and my co-residents and I learned and injected each other. It’s a treatment that I love recommending for patients. What’s really interesting is that during Covid, when I was in the office and saw patients, many of them would say, oh my gosh, your skin looks so good. And of course, I would say, well, a little bit of that is my skincare regimen, but think about it, in Covid, I always wore a mask. So they could only see my forehead and my frown lines. So even after hearing that a few times, it dawned on me they were looking at my forehead and between my eyebrows, noticing the smoothness. And that definitely between the eyebrows with my frown lines is my Xeomin treatment. So that’s when I had to start actually telling my patients it’s my skincare regimen, but I also do a little bit of Xeomin just to help to keep everything nice and smooth.
Patients seemed to be in disbelief of my using the product myself. Patients were like, you do it? And I would say, of course. The procedure takes less than five minutes to do. It’s very tiny, small injections. You can go right back to work, have your office meetings, etc. I do usually recommend patients not work out immediately after the treatment. But other than that, it’s super easy, with no downtime.
Recommended To Patients Not To Go Workout Right After Treatment
When we inject Xeomin, it is a small solution, and what can happen, not always, with a little bit of sweat; there could be a concern that it might start to diffuse because of spreading. And we really want to ensure that we’re doing those injections right at the injection point where those muscles contract, so they’re targeted. With competitors, this may happen more often because, with Xeomin, we’re really just injecting that active component, which also helps it stay right where we put it.
Clinically what I see in practice has been no side effects with how I do my injections on my patients. Usually, though, I recommend that if patients have a particular neuromuscular condition, which they would have to be diagnosed with, they are not an ideal candidate for Xeomin. And so, I would usually go through my medical questionnaire before I even do the injections. I always tell patients it’s a 50-50 chance of a possible tiny little bruise just because it is a needle and I have to poke them. It’s pretty small, I do my best not to potentially hit any of those little vessels, but it does happen from time to time.
Teyana Taylor Is Just Like The Rest Of Us When It Comes To Wanting To Look & Feel Our Best
I love that Teyana Taylor is one of the brand ambassadors for Xeomin. We know it’s time for us to start having these conversations in our African American community. It’s not just for women; men can do it too. Men also want to age gracefully. So for male readers, we can treat your frown lines as well. It’s a safe and effective treatment that has a lot of science behind it. And that’s why I do it and recommend it to my patients. I think it is nice knowing that a celebrity like Teyana Taylor needs stuff like this, too, if she chooses. And that it’s okay to do it.
There are a lot of great celebrities, but I think that what draws Teyana, what really connects with her fans, is her authenticity. I feel like her fans know that she really only talks about things that she believes in or things that she’s a fan of. So I think being able to talk with her and make sure she feels even more comfortable about doing the treatment was amazing. She absolutely loved her results, and she still looks like Teyana Taylor. I want to make that point. She does not look any different than her beautiful self. I think it’s just great for everyone to see.
And to be clear, we work with Teyana; she works with the brand and not necessarily for the brand. She’s a great proponent and supporter, and we truly appreciate that.