Dr. Lubna Naeem
Soni Medical Spa
Soni Medical Spa is a five-person operation run by Dr. Lubna Naeem that combines a medical spa with an internal medicine practice. Soni’s mission is to treat the whole patient, and Dr. Naeem’s training as an internist informs her belief that the first order of business is health.
“Once you are healthy on the inside, you can think about how to enhance the outside,” she explains.
She received her medical degree at St. Louis University and practiced as an internist in Texas for 15 years. About 10 years ago, she started her medical spa as part of her overall practice. She noticed that women over 40 who were taking care of their internal health were starting to feel better than they ever had and desired to look as good on the outside as they felt on the inside. She is quick to point out that her prime responsibility is to take care of her patients’ medical health. But once she saw that her patients were feeling so good on the inside, it helped her to branch out to provide care “for the outside as well.”
Dr. Naeem began by providing laser skin care treatments along with an excellent skin care product line. Soni offers regular facials, chemical peels and corrective treatments such as injections and dermal fillers. She explains that chemical peels differ from skin type to skin type, and doctors have to be aware of a patient’s particular needs.
She also points out that regular facial creams and products that one can buy at department stores do not have the medical grade formulations that one can find at a medical spa. “There is a misconception that medical formulations are more expensive than over-the-counter formulas, but this is not always the case,” she says, adding that facials provide more than just rejuvenation. They are also corrective treatments.
A patient-centered approach
Dr. Naeem underscores the importance of differentiating between what we might want to do and what we need to do when it comes to cosmetic procedures with her “health-first” approach. “We have to draw a line between our ability to do these procedures ‘just because’ and our duty to ask the important question: Does a patient really need these services? My job is just like that of any doctor. First, I must help my patients understand what they need and what they don’t need.” She starts by developing a plan of care. Each patient is different, so her first consultation is free. It is at this session that she explains the services she offers and provides the patient a full physical workup. She explains that “younger patients usually do not need corrective treatments, but they may need rejuvenating treatments.” And she acknowledges that this is an “anti-aging industry.”
Dr. Naeem goes on to say, “It’s a cruel fact, but it is a fact. Life has become showbiz. People are healthier now than ever, and they want to look as good as they feel.” Her emphasis on health first is summed up simply: “If you are not healthy, you are not going to feel good no matter what you do. Beauty starts from good health; if you are not healthy, I cannot see how good one can look on the outside. Take care of your nutrition, prioritize exercise, and then seek out age-appropriate care.”
By Jennifer Bartlett
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELIZABETH WARBURTON