Putting Your Best Face Forward

Drs. Jennifer an Henry Watkins

By: Dawn Izon


After signing on to the Internet every morning, I first scan news stories to see what happened in the world while I enjoyed a restful night’s sleep. Without fail, I am assaulted by the news worthy stories of Pamela Anderson spotted shopping with no make-up, but looking Fabulous;, Kim Kardashian’s ever-changing looks, Jennifer Aniston’s short skirts, Reese Witherspoon’s new haircut, and on and on and on.


My point is that these stories are front page because youth and beauty fascinate our society along with retaining that youthful appearance for as long as possible. I didn’t set the standard, and I am certainly not making a moral statement on societal values; I am simply pointing out that what is, is. I won’t lie; I am no stranger to what I have always referred to as youthful maintenance. Therefore, I was greatly pleased to meet and interview the Drs. Watkins, owners of Asheville Medical Aesthetics (formerly known as Smooth Skin). Dr. Jennifer Benjamin-Watkins and Dr. Henry Watkins met while studying at Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, California. Their long list of internships, residencies, studies, and degrees could fill this page. This lovely young couple maintains a wonderful balance between their very full career paths and their family. Family led them to Asheville: Dr. Jennifer’s mother lives here. Family values and commitment to their children run deep with this couple. Dr. Jennifer revealed that she was home schooling her son until the arrival of their daughter; a new born baby, a seven-year-old boy, and juggling two medical practices became unmanageable. After considering the options, the parents said, they were blessed to find The New Classical Academy, run by home-schooling moms!


Being a mom and running your own medical practice is no easy task, but Dr. Jennifer credits her husband and their wonderful staff for making it possible to juggle everything successfully. Staff is my word; Drs. Watkins refer to their employees as one big extended family whose goal is helping every patient reach their personal goals. Their mission statement reads: The Company’s staff of skilled medical professionals are dedicated to offering safe, convenient, individually tailored and medically sound treatments that enhance our clients’ personal appearance, health & well-being. Let me make it clear that this is no nip-and-tuck operation. The only surgical procedure performed here is an amazing process of hair restoration, an innovative technique overseen by Dr. Henry Watkins. As he zealously described the process in detail, the technical language flew over my head.


After he finished, all I could say was, “Oh, it sounds like gardening.” Thank goodness Dr. Henry smiled and took no offense at my simplicity. This process of hair restoration is done on a follicle-by-follicle implant that is nothing like the old plug method of treating hair loss. The result is a natural pattern and a very high success rate of natural growth. I was surprised to learn about the number of women suffering from hair loss. Along with this contribution to the practice, Dr. Henry also has a position as Emergency Room Doctor in Morganton.


So, what is Asheville Medical Aesthetics and what do they do? The goal of Dr. Jennifer Watkins is assisting people in reversing the tracks of time in a natural and gentle manner. From a book I was reading this week, by a very well-known author, I quote this passage: “She was forty-something and looked every day of it. Her face had lived through some hard times and harsh disappointments and in her eyes was sad resignation.” WOW! Harsh words, but true. As we well know, the first level of judgement begins with our faces and appearance. And with that knowledge comes a multitude of feelings, some of them quite yucky.


Corrective, non-invasive procedures range from dermal fillers for deep lines, Botox Cosmetic (a misunderstood purified protein blocking the receptor that causes the deep frown lines around the forehead, eyebrows and mouth area), to corrective skin care through facial skin treatments, Sclerotherapy for unsightly veins, Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement and, last but not least, laser treatments, Dr. Jennifer Watkins’ specialty.


Through her radiology background, Dr. Jennifer Watkins gained intimate knowledge of the face’s anatomy and a clear understanding of the physics involved with proper laser and light usage. Light, a completely natural source of energy when focused by various bands and intensities, produces many levels of skin and tissue restoration. Topically, we can expect to see amazing results for those nasty brown spots and discolorations due to aging and sun damage, treatment for acne scars, hair removal, small vein reduction, and small wrinkles that form around your mouth (I hate those!). On a more serious level, Dr. Jennifer performs a deep laser peel which removes the outermost layer of damaged skin to reveal fresh new skin beneath. I have had this procedure with amazing results.


A signature procedure performed by Dr. Jennifer is Skin Tyte which utilizes infrared energy to deeply heat dermal collagen that initiates the body’s natural healing process, and creates renewed collagen leading to an increase in skin firmness. In describing this process, she indicates that it is very successful on the hands, the face, and the neck area. I look down at my hands … wait a second! Those can’t be mine; they are my mother’s hands and she is 82!!! How did this happen, and how soon can you zap me, Doctor Watson? I dearly love my mother, but I am not ready to be her just yet.


In the immortal words of Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gentle into that good night. . . . Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Although he penned his missive as a commentary about fighting death, the dying light starts, for some, way before that end. He is saying that we should not be complacent but grasp for every shred of enjoyment we can every minute, including feeling good about ourselves and our outer images.


“So, what do you get from this? I enigmatically ask Dr. Watkins. Although she has been struggling with a touch of the flu, courtesy of her kids, she immediately brightens.
“My greatest gift,” she explains, “is witnessing the transformation that takes place in each patient.”
“Why are you surprised?” I ask. “Aren’t you expecting those results?”


“That’s not what I am talking about. Let me tell you a story,” says Dr. Jennifer. “A gentleman from South Carolina called for an appointment. We were a little surprised that he would come from so far out of town. As it turns out, this gentleman, in his mid-fifties, finds himself in the job market. Although he has enormous experience and skill sets for the jobs he is applying for, he is having a hard time getting his foot through the door. He realizes that his age and age appearance are a stumbling block. He is going to be interviewing for a position he really wants, and he wants to offer a more youthful (less life-weary) appearance. Shortly after his treatment he sends word that he was hired for the job he was seeking. He was thrilled by the choices he had made and felt they were the key to his success. Now, am I saying that the appearance of his skin got him the job? NO! What got him the job was his attitude about himself and his place in the overall scheme of things. His attitude took on the greater transformation. That is what I get from my patients, the transformation of how they see themselves. When we can be kinder with ourselves, we are generally kinder with others. And do we see that this applies to just women? Absolutely not—more and more men are becoming patients on a daily basis.”


Is it all just putting on a pretty face for the world? No!. Dr. Watkins’ practice also focuses on health in revitalizing your overall wellness. In that arena, Dr. Watkins focuses her attention on the individual needs of her patients concerning hormone loss and aging. Understanding the difference between synthetic and bio-identical hormones is important. To keep up with the latest in education and technology Dr. Jennifer, studies with the American Academy of Anti-aging. To the best of her knowledge, she has, locally, the only laser machine capable of treating fingernail fungus. Several others treat toenails, but not fingernails. This laser treatment has proven to be so effective that, in most cases, one treatment is all that is required.


In the very soothing and living-room-style comfort of her office, Asheville Medical Aesthetics has a cosmeceuticals service that uses mineral make-up: San Tropez applied tanning, waxing, and other beautifications for the prom-focused crowd.


The Drs. Watkins are here to help you achieve the goal of putting your best face forward everyday.


Asheville Medical Aesthetics
116 Executive Park
Asheville, NC 28801


Dawn Izon lived in the North, then the South and came “1/2 back” to Asheville to be near her only grandchild and family.


Sandi Tomlin-Sutker
Written by Sandi Tomlin-Sutker