The cosmetic plastic surgery industry in the United States is worth billions of dollars. The American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS), in a 2018 study, revealed that $16.5 billion was spent by Americans’ on cosmetic plastic surgery and minimally invasive procedures.’ The figure, 4 percent from 2017’s figure, clearly shows how many Americans and many worldwide are willing to spend on cosmetic procedures to look younger, prettier, and more youthful.
Dr. Mark B. Taylor is not a stranger to youth. Although the doctor is well over six decades old, he has spent some of the best parts of his years as a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon. He is an innovative creator and one of the leading doctors at the Gateway Aesthetic Institute & Laser Center, Salt Lake City (the most prominent dermatological institute globally). ‘I have been doing aesthetics since I started my dermatology practice 40 years ago.’ Dr. Taylor says.
‘I always wanted to do this.’ He says, confirming our beliefs that he is just as passionate as he is gifted. ‘I decided to become a doctor in my freshman year in college. I studied chemistry, which I liked, but I also liked the people and the science element. Medicine is a mesh of people, research and science.’ And Dr. Taylor is right: you cannot succeed in a medical field unless you are passionate about what you do.
Dr. Mark would eventually complete his dermatology residency at the University of Oregon in Portland. ‘It was a great place with great teachers and great opportunities.’ Dr. Taylor says about the University of Oregon. ‘They did not have much aesthetic stuff, but it was a good foundation in dermatology.’
Talking about instructors that inspired him, ‘There were some fabulous instructors at the University of Oregon, like Dr. Francis J. Storrs —an expert in contact dermatitis.’ Contact dermatitis deals with people’s allergic reactions to certain substances on their skin. ‘There were also other fabulous professors, co-residents, and instructors I enjoyed affiliating with.’
Laser Technology and Its Important Role in Dermatology
A dermatologist treats more than 3,000 skin conditions. With the skin being the largest organ in the body—and the organ most exposed to external influences like the sun, dust, dirt, and other innumerable pollutants, it becomes pertinent that people seek the help of certified dermatologists for various skin issues. Laser surgery for cosmetic purposes—a minimally invasive procedure that is employed to correct many skin conditions like warts, tattoos, and moles, is one of the processes Dr. Mark Taylor uses to treat his patients. ‘I was an early adopter of many of the new technologies in laser and energy devices. I also developed many techniques and new ways of using these devices. I have also taught many doctors who come into the office and watch me perform these procedures on patients.’
It does not take much to see Dr. Mark Taylor’s strong side—a pioneer in laser technique. Still, most importantly, a teacher who cares for his students as much as he cares for his patients. ‘I have always enjoyed teaching people these complicated procedures.’ He confirms. With a long line of doctors traveling across states in the U.S. or other countries to watch him perform some of his procedures, Dr. Mark Taylor’s influence in the cosmetology, aesthetics, and dermatology fields cannot be overstated.
Medicine and Its Relationship with Whole-Wellness
It’s almost always beyond aesthetics. Dr. Mark Taylor’s physical agility—and of course, the youthful ambiance is inspiring, and he talks about the essence of the whole-wellness lifestyle to health. ‘We have a wellness clinic where we teach people to be well on the inside and the outside.’ ‘We do not have an exercise clinic, but we do emphasize all the components of whole-wellness (overall wellness) including nutrition and exercise.’
It is not surprising that Dr. Mark Taylor and the Gateway Aesthetic Institute & Laser Center would embrace the whole-wellness principles. In the past three centuries, disenfranchisement from popular medical culture, fuelled by an industrial revolution and economic and social progress, endeared the relatively wealthy Americans to seek a higher level of healing. And the argument is the same for people who seek to enhance their beauty through professional dermatologists like Dr. Mark. The dermatological institution is famous—and it works. On August 9, 2011, Dr. Taylor developed a new and innovative method to treat acne scars. Dr. Taylor’s innovation was driven by a need to create a single treatment plan instead of plans that required patients to make multiple visits to the hospital. The procedure, which proved to be seventy percent effective for treating acne scars, combined multiple processes, including tumescent anesthesia, which numbed and swelled the skin, laser resurfacing, chemical peeling, laser resurfacing, extensive subcision (a method that releases dermal acne, scar bands). Dr. Taylor also designed and manufactured the “Taylor Liberator” his custom tool for the subcision procedure. On this procedure and other procedures for treating acne scars, Dr. Mark explains that ‘people fly from all over the world for the procedure. We have treated over a thousand patients. It’s one of the over 100 services we offer.’
‘Since they fly in, they cannot come in, travel back, and then fly in for another procedure.’ Dr. Taylor’s innovation allows people worldwide to rejuvenate their entire faces and enjoy target treatment on skin surfaces with acne scars. His innovation is thoroughly world-class, and it gets better when you can have more than one procedure in one session. ‘If patients have other types of scars like hypertrophic acne scars and keloid scars, we will use additional treatment within the same session.’
Stem Cells: The Controversy and Application
The use of stem cells for medical research and application is controversial. In the late 90s, stem cells were extracted from the embryo for therapeutic use. Extraction of stem meant the death of the human embryo. Giving the variant beliefs on what constitutes life, stem cells aren’t acceptable by many individuals and groups. Dr. Taylor was more than happy to share his feelings on stem cells and answer some of their use questions.
‘Yes, we use stem cells. We use umbilical cord stem cells from newborn babies. Newborns do not need their umbilical cords. Stem cells help with healing. We use the cells for healing after a laser resurfacing. We also infuse stem cells in parts of the skin faster healing and rejuvenation.’
Dr. Mark commented on the controversy of stem cells. ‘There is a mysterious aura with using stem cells. The company I work with has done over 100,000 procedures with stem cells with no serious side effects.’ Dr. Mark Taylor’s stance on stem cells is apparent. Many medical practitioners lament the unavailability of sufficient trials and research on the efficacy of stem cells. It is believed that stem cells can renew damaged body cells and tissues and help rejuvenate sick or dying body organs, including the skin. The veracity of these claims has not been thoroughly proved—or refuted due to a lack of sufficient data on stem cells. ‘What needs to be done is more double-blind placebo control trials to prove the science.’ Dr. Mark teaches. ‘Right now, people believe in stem cells, but there is a lack of data and research with stem cells. We feel that it helps, but we do not push it. There is a need for a controlled clinical science on stem cells.’
‘Stem cells are not patentable.’ Dr. Mark explains that one of the chief challenges many companies face with stem cell research is that they cannot patent stem cells. And then they cannot make a research-worthy profit from the science. ‘Most companies are unwilling to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in research unless they have patent protection. Companies need to recoup their investments. At the end of the process, they need to make money to pay for the research and the company, going forward.’
Mark Taylor’s R&D Efforts and Successes
R&D is a crucial part of healthcare. Dr. Mark Taylor, who does ‘active FDA approved clinical trials all the time’ on many new applications, including neurotoxins, tissue fillers, and injectables, believes that sciences should be entrenched in research. Although Dr. Taylor did not give us specific information on some of the companies he is presently working with on clinical trials due to non-disclosure agreements, he divulged information on his active research center where some of the trials are held. ‘In the past, we did a study with Endo Pharmaceuticals on a new FDA approved product called QWO to treat cellulite dimples on the Buttocks of adult women that is now approved for use by the FDA. We constantly work with these companies to establish new treatments.’
The Global Pandemic and Its Effect on the Gateway Aesthetic Institute & Laser Center
On the pandemic, ‘We are more careful. We take precautions. We sanitize each room after every procedure, and everyone wears a mask. We have a big clinic with many rooms, and no one has to stay in the waiting room.’ The global pandemic has caused more than 2.5 million deaths with over 114 million recorded infections, led to governments issuing lockdowns of every non-essential business, and ushered economic recessions in many countries with already weak social, political, economic, and healthcare infrastructures. But Dr. Taylor is not worried about the economic influences of the pandemic. ‘Last month was our best December in the history of the company. We just take care of people. We are very positive, and we have a lot of fun.’ Positivity is needed in these trying times in the United States and the rest of the world. And of course, with most companies issuing sit-at-home and remote working policies, they have more video communications; hence they are more in touch with the reality of how they look. ‘People realize that they may not be as youthful as they thought they were. They want to look better, so they contact us.’
It’s safe to assume that the cosmetic industry must have enjoyed an unequivocal boom due to the global pandemic. As restrictions are being lifted, more people make appointments with dermatologists because they want to look better.
On the business movement from on-ground to online, ‘We have learned to communicate in different ways. We will have a much more open way of learning—virtual learning. The pandemic will change the way we interact professionally and in offices.’ Online consultation is beyond a trend; it’s a necessity, and businesses must continuously integrate systems that will ensure seamless communication between client and service provider—and Dr. Taylor’s team does a great job at that. However, he admits that it can get ‘frustrating.’ ‘We put together a treatment plan from the email photos of the patient. We educated them on the procedures and risks and did pre-op educations, and prepared them for treatment. This method saves a lot of time. When the patient arrives, we confirm and treatment plan and usually treat them the same or the following day. We keep the patients in town for about one week to be sure their healing is going well.
Mark Taylor’s Thoughts on the Biden Administration
On the new administration and the healthcare industry’s perceived policies, ‘I do not know.’ He says, laughing. I have not heard any exciting news on healthcare. Some of my colleagues are stressed by bureaucracy and decreasing reimbursements. One of the problems is that we have spent the money for the next 20 generations. Everybody is out of money, and everything is financed with debt.’ Some people have done well in the stock market over the past few years, while others have been hurt economically. Personal appearance is important to most people, and they are bothered by scars and the effects of aging. Some people have the cash; some use financing, and others will save for months or years to do procedures that enhance their appearance. Cosmetic and laser institutes like the Gateway Aesthetic Institute allow more people to undergo various procedures to improve their appearance.
Be it skincare or office practices, or the COVID-19 Pandemic, Dr. Mark Taylor’s principles reflect humanity, care, honesty, and perfection. He often laments the immense pressure many small healthcare facilities face due to policies like the proposed tax increase, which he feels will ‘always result in more people being laid off work.’ ‘I like to have more businesses that pay a lower tax rate than few businesses that pay a higher tax rate.’ His logic might seem too simplistic; yet, issues like tax must be looked upon from a humane angle. Should a government place even higher tax levies on businesses that are struggling to survive the post-pandemic?
We rounded up the interview with the question, ‘What are you most proud of?’ Just as we had thought, he said with a smile, ‘I am proud of my family. I have eight children and 29 grandchildren, and they are all doing fine. None of them are living in my basement. I am proud of the business we have built. The Gateway Aesthetic Institute & Laser Center is the largest dedicated cosmetic laser center globally, and I think we are well-respected and have a lot of fun.’
His final words addressed young dermatologists: ‘Find your passion and follow it.’
Top Doctor Magazine is a magazine from doctors for doctors and patients. We cover everything from cutting-edge medical techniques and procedures to enterprising doctors, dentists, surgeons, naturopaths, chiropaths, orthodontists, and more who are thought leaders within their own medical practice and changing the way we all experience medicine for the better.
We wish to be your one-stop digest for inspiration by other professionals in your field who are making waves and setting trends. If you, too, are a trend-setter, reach out to us so we can interview you for your own spotlight within an upcoming Top Doctor Magazine issue!
Brianna Connors & Derek Archer Co-Editors