Local clinician responds to actor’s critique of skin treatment

March 29, 2022

Actress Courteney Cox’s recent media appearances promoting her current film, “Scream 5,” have included critiques of her own use of so-called facial fillers, injections intended to improve appearance.

“I looked really strange,” Cox said.

The performer’s negative comments caught the ear of Lewes resident Mary Beth Brubeck, RN, a longtime plastic surgery nurse who offers fillers.

Brubeck, who played no role in Cox’s medical care, has administered various nonsurgical skin treatments for the past 22 years. She treats patients in Lewes and in Rockville, Md.

“I don’t presume to judge Courteney Cox, or her doctor, from the sidelines. But when Cox stated that she had been ‘chasing youth’ in her 50s, it gave me pause. I don’t suggest that patients look backwards through the
decades. Instead, I help people look forward, with refreshed confidence and renewed self-esteem,” said Brubeck.

Cox publicly first discussed her facial treatments in 2017, and voiced disappointment again in a recent round of film publicity. Brubeck noted that Cox’s career requires submitting to the unforgiving scrutiny of digital movie and television cameras that capture every nuance. The more typical patient asks that creases be softened, lips plumped and an overall fresher appearance be attained.

Even as Cox reconsiders fillers, the field is booming in both popularity and innovation. For instance, Allergan just received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to use Juvederm Volbella XC, a hyaluronic acid-based treatment, in the under-eye area. It’s been approved for use in lip rejuvenation since 2016.

There are many such products from several vendors, each targeting specific issues. The aging process, damage from sun exposure or smoking, and looking tired or mad are among the most frequent complaints patients have, Brubeck said.

Dermal fillers are considered minimally invasive procedures by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The outpatient treatments were popular during the COVID years, as many people worked remotely, socialized on devices and were largely seen as talking heads on computer screens.

The various solutions only work in the hands of a skilled clinician. “I’m known for my light touch, passion for symmetry and individualized treatment plans. Some patients have been coming in for years as we tackle various challenges together,” Brubeck said.

“Injected fillers are tools that, in skilled hands, offer patients a fresher, younger outlook without surgery. Combined with good skin care and reduced sun exposure, fillers are a bridge to improved appearance,” Brubeck said.

Patients play active roles in planning the procedures.

“Straightforward, two-way communication clarifies expectations regarding possible outcomes, risks and (rare) side effects,” she said. “Subtle change is powerful. It’s the best result, and easiest to live with.”

And sometimes, the answer to a patient’s request might be no – with an alternative offered instead. Unrealistic expectations can hobble progress for typical patients, as well as for Hollywood stars.

Brubeck was affiliated with Dr. Scott Spear’s plastic surgery practice at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital for 18 years, and she has 20 years of training beyond her Georgetown University nursing degree.

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