This article originally appeared in the July 4th, 2020 edition of *Social Life Magazine*
Written by Chris Cameron, Photography by Vital Abigalow
ARTISTIC PRINCIPLES OF BEAUTY
Dr. Marie Hayag has built one of the most respected dermatology practices in the city. Her clients are New York’s best-known public figures. The most discreet slip in unnoticed through her Fifth Avenue office’s VIP entrance for cutting-edge treatments. Specializing in aesthetic procedures, Dr. Hayag says she often thinks of herself as a sculptor as much as a medical professional. Artistic principles of beauty guide her hand, while science informs her decision-making. “When I evaluate someone it’s like looking at a canvas,” she says. “Most of my patients are seeking facial consultation, so I evaluate their whole face, their three-dimensional face. I look at different angles and shadows. I talk to them about beauty and its relationship to proportion. It is never just one thing. The answer is not just Botox or a filler, but is usually multiple approaches and treatments that give one the optimal look. My happiest patients are those who come in for regular maintenance treatments.”
INTRODUCTION TO DERMATOLOGY
The good doctor might never have made her mark on Manhattan nor found her calling if she hadn’t contracted a severe case of the chicken pox. “It really sucked,” laughs Dr. Hayag, who graduated from Florida State University with magna cum laude honors and then attended the University of Miami School of Medicine, where she conducted multiple clinical research studies, including sunscreen’s effects on UV-induced immunosuppression and the early trials of Botox. Dr. Hayag says, “I had an incredibly itchy rash all over my body and, as I suspected, was diagnosed with chicken pox by Dr. Richard Taylor, an attending physician in the dermatology department. Shortly after my visit, I ran into Dr. Taylor, who inquired about what specialty I intended to choose. When I told him I still had not decided, he suggested that I might be interested in dermatology, and he ultimately became my mentor during the rest of medical school and my dermatology residency. The only benefit of having chicken pox was it led me to selecting dermatology as my specialty. How lucky was I!”
Dr. Hayag was raised in the small town of St. Marys, Georgia, just across the Florida state line. Her family still calls St. Marys home, and she still considers herself first and foremost a Southern girl.
College football is part of the package (go Seminoles!). But after graduating from medical school, Manhattan was where she put down roots. “Prior to doing your residency, you do an internship and I decided to go to New York on the recommendation of a friend,” she says. “I had never been to New York, and I wanted to go somewhere that was different from where I had lived down South.”
NEW YORK CITY
The first year she spent in New York in the late 1990s was “the best time ever,” Dr. Hayag says. She got a fifth-floor walk-up apartment on Perry Street in the West Village. She worked nearby at the former Saint Vincent’s Hospital, which closed in 2010. “Living in the Village was a great experience for me even though I was working my butt off,” she recalls. “Although on-call all the time as an intern, I was able to experience all New York City had to offer.” It was during that time that she met her future husband, William, through a friend. The only problem was that she had already committed to a three-year residency in Miami. “It was difficult, but we made it work,” she says. “He would leave on Friday evening and spend the weekend in South Beach. But when I was ready to start practicing, I came back to New York.”
After returning to the city in 2001, it took Dr. Hayag nearly two decades to establish her Upper East Side office at 875 Fifth Avenue, which is across the park from her home on the Upper West Side. I worked at a practice with a colleague and that lasted for 17 years,” she says. “I should have opened my own office sooner than I did, but you never know with life, and I guess I wasn’t quite ready.” Today, Dr. Hayag says she has succeeded in building the practice that she had always dreamed of.
SCIENCE & ARTISTRY
Dr. Hayag always wanted a concierge dermatology practice. It is important to her to make patients feel welcomed and to give them the personal care they deserve. In addition to highly customized programs and access to the field’s latest technology and cutting-edge treatments, Dr. Hayag says that it is her time and attention that translate into successful outcomes. “I use my knowledge of science and artistry to customize every person’s individual beauty. Everyone is different. You do not want everyone to look the same. I ask patients what bothers them and what they want to focus on. Then I discuss what I think would bring out their best features. My goal is to make them look like their best selves.”
HAMPTONS HOUSE CALLS
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit New York, Dr. Hayag never stopped serving her patients. “I’ve been in the city the whole time,” she said. “We had to close for a couple of months, but we are now open.” Dr. Hayag also makes house calls in the Hamptons.
THE NEW NORMAL & CDC PROTOCOLS
In accordance with CDC protocols, Dr. Hayag has taken every possible coronavirus precaution. This includes pre-visit and time-of-visit Covid-19-related questionnaires, direct placement into an exam room, temperature readings, masks for both patients and staff, thorough sanitizing of rooms before and after each use, and contactless payment and check-out. If someone is unable or uncomfortable visiting her office, telemedicine allows her to consult with a patient anywhere in the world, at any time.
The world may have changed, but Dr. Hayag’s five-star treatment for all patients has remained the same. “What I love about being in aesthetic dermatology is that you really do make a difference in someone’s life,” she says. “We know that if someone looks better, they feel better about themselves. That is always my goal.”
Marie V. Hayag, M.D.
Fifth Avenue Aesthetics
875 Fifth Avenue