Kristen A. Richards, MD
What are the highlights of your professional career?
Starting my own practice in October of 2001 was the highlight of my professional career. It was nerve-wracking and tiring getting a new practice off the ground but since that time, the rewards have been so great. Having grown up in La Jolla, I am able to see my friends and their families on a regular basis in my practice and it is wonderful to be able to contribute back to the community in which I was raised.
What are your proudest achievements?
Identifying my favorite aspects of my practice: cosmetic and surgical dermatology and making that a reality for my patients. Having completed a year- long fellowship in Mohs micrographic surgery at Vanderbilt has given me a confidence in my surgical skills that I enjoy passing on to my patients. It is incredibly rewarding to operate on a patient with skin cancer and restore their normal appearance all in one setting. This also translates into the cosmetic realm where I am constantly learning and evolving and trying to bring the most cutting edge procedures and products to my patients.
What is your favorite procedure?
Besides Mohs surgery, my favorite procedure is the Active FX resurfacing laser. I so enjoy treating a patient with long-standing chronic sun damage and seeing their smiling face a week later when they are newly rejuvenated. Most of the time I am able to “turn back the clock” about 10 years with this laser and it is incredibly rewarding for both me and my patients to be able to do this with minimal downtime.
What advice do you give to your patients looking to improve their skin and appearance?
I see the process of rejuvenation as analogous to remodeling a house. Just like some houses have better “bones” to begin with, so do some patients. I advise my patients to first work on their “bones” or the construct of their face through the use of volume fillers and deep tightening with Ultherapy. After the construct is improved then we can start working on the “wrapping” or the skin. I recommend patients start with removing all of the brown spots, red vessels and fine wrinkles from the sun by doing the Active FX resurfacing laser. Following that we do a variety of line fillers and Botox to complete the rejuvenation process.
What are you currently reading? What’s your favorite book?
I am currently reading “First Break All the Rules”. It is an outstanding book on an alternative but very practical way to run a business and motivate employees. I have tried to incorporate a lot of the author’s ideas into running my practice more efficiently.
My favorite book was “Last Child in the Woods.” As the proud mother of three boys, ages 12, 10 and 5, I am wary of technology getting in the way of normal face to face communication as well as appreciation of the beauty of the world around them. This book helped me to be more conscious of trying to expose my boys to nature on a regular basis and encourage “screen-free” time at home.
What quality do you value most in patients? In colleagues?
I truly value an honest, transparent relationship with my patients. If my patients are comfortable enough expressing their true desires and goals for their skin, I have a much better chance of getting them there. I appreciate my colleagues practicing the same philosophy I do of putting our patients first and going above and beyond patient expectations
What are you passionate about?
Having grown up in La Jolla, I am passionate about the ocean and exercise, particularly swimming. I am a member of the Tri Club of San Diego and love the excitement of racing and the camaraderie of being with other athletes that value healthy minds, bodies and spirits.
What is your motto?
My motto is “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” I value living each day to its fullest and living it in the best way possible.
If you knew you could not fail, what would you attempt?
I would find a way to invent a “sunscreen pill”. I struggle with getting my patients to protect themselves with sunscreen on a daily basis and taking a pill would be such a simple solution.