skin soul science by dr. sholar
Ask one of Dr. Alina Sholar’s Skin Science Soul patients why they love her medical aesthetics and plastic surgery practice, and they will tell you that it’s all about how Dr. Sholar connects with them to understand their needs and of how she can help them feel beautiful, strong, and confident. They ultimately leave feeling comfortable, inspired, and empowered.
Through her leadership, not only of Skin Science Soul, but also of Serenity Medical Centers and Sage Practice Solutions, Dr. Sholar travels deep in the wilderness of female-led healthcare business, blazing a trail that will certainly benefit Austin and beyond. But where did it start? Her Texas roots.
Dr. Alina Sholar, known for her unparalleled medical background and true connection with her patients, has an easy girl’s girl relatability. Perhaps this comes from growing up with a family rich with a history of farming and ranching and traditions from her deep Texas roots.
Dr. Sholar was born in Port Arthur and grew up in Orange, TX, excelling in art, music, and science throughout her early school years. Because both of her maternal and paternal families came to Texas as tenacious immigrants in its early historical Republic days, she is a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, whose mission it is to perpetuate the spirit of those women who achieved the independence of Texas. With this independence of spirit, and being raised with the strongest of work ethic, a love of animals, and a deep understanding the importance of the conservation of her family’s land, connection is an indelible part of who Dr. Sholar is. Leading by example, Dr. Sholar not only ‘talks the talk,’ but ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to advocating for her patients’ best selves.
Dr. Sholar is the first physician in her family, but she knew even in her elementary years what she may become. At age 7, she predicted she would be a doctor- either for people or animals. After receiving a full-tuition merit scholarship from the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation in Orange, she received her BS degree in Biomedical Sciences with Magna Cum Laude honors from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University in December 1994.
She started medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1995. During her medical education, it became apparent that a surgical specialty was her calling. She did surgical research in an esteemed scientific laboratory at University of Texas with her culminating in publication in a prominent scientific journal, Perfusion. She was there awarded the prestigious Janet M. Glasgow Memorial Award and Achievement Citation for Women in Medicine, along with other meritorious honors and accolades like the Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship Award in medicine. She graduated from University of Texas Medical Branch in 1999 then went on to her surgical residencies.
Dedicated to you
She completed a full five-year residency, including Chief Resident, in General Surgery at the University of Louisville in 2004, where she was awarded Best Resident Instructor and Mentor by the students of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Dr. Sholar published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology during her General Surgery residency.
She continued her study of surgery by completing an additional residency in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Tennessee, serving as Chief Resident in 2006. Her plastic surgery training included not only aesthetic surgery, but also dermatology, non-invasive and laser aesthetic treatments, reconstruction related to cranio-facial surgery, microsurgery, hand surgery, burn surgery, and breast surgery. She received multiple awards and publications in research areas such as the efficacy of treatment at Tertiary Care Wound Centers and the advanced reconstructive techniques required after major facial trauma and infections in journals including the prestigious Annals of Plastic Surgery. During this time, she also had the privilege of spending time on mission trips in the Republic of Panama where she repaired cleft lip and palates and assisted in complex reconstructive craniofacial procedures for children. She was certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 2008.
She has additionally received training and certification from the World Health Organization in Operational Planning regarding preparedness and response for COVID-19, as well as from Johns Hopkins for Epidemics & Outbreaks.
More than just a doctor
When she’s not in the office or operating room, she can likely be found on her back porch painting on a big canvas. In addition to her professional endeavors as a plastic surgeon, Dr. Sholar is a medical illustrator and an accomplished professional artist, with personal artwork displayed in galleries and storefronts.
Her medical artwork has been published in prestigious medical journals and textbooks such as the Annals of Plastic Surgery, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Journal, Annals of Surgical Oncology, and Cameron’s Current Surgical Therapy. From a very young age, Dr, Sholar was creating beauty. This natural artistic talent and understanding of human anatomy is demonstrated in her ability to create beautiful and natural enhancements in cosmetic aesthetic surgery and advanced techniques in non-invasive injectable treatments.
One Step At A Time
Skin Science Soul, Sage Practice Solutions, and Serenity Medical Centers have a global service initiative as well as locally in the Austin community. Skin Science Soul purposefully supports woman-owned businesses and donates to causes that benefit women and children and the communities they live in. For example, she held “Beauty Brunch” events, where she used profits to purchase a school bus for a community church to bring women and children in need to their doctor’s appointments, to attend church and take advantage of church resources, and to be able to come together and connect at community functions.
Dr. Sholar also provides pro bono business consulting for women entrepreneurs in need. On the global scale, Dr. Sholar encouraged and coached a young woman- a single mother of two in Chennai, India- who was financially and physically oppressed by her employers, to start her own medical billing business. Through close counsel of Dr. Sholar, she now has been in business for more than one year and has gained financial independence for herself, but she also now employs 3 other women whose families are 100% sustained by her business as well- a beautiful example of the ripple effect we have on women.
Honoring her own professional upbringing in biomedical sciences, medicine, surgery, and finally business, she mentors young women in STEM and medicine, young female physicians and non-physician entrepreneurs. In the medical field, only 35% of physicians are women, so it already starts out as a lonely group. By the time they finish residency, only 19% of surgeons are female. As far as plastic surgeons, just 2% are women. And to narrow it down even further, an estimated measly .025% are also independent entrepreneurs running their own businesses full of regulation and commitment above and beyond any ordinary business environment. So, she fully understands how difficult it can be.
Some of the issues challenging women in leadership positions in medicine are the same as those in the non-medical business world such as pay disparity, sexual harassment, gender inequality and perception from colleagues, the public, and patients alike. Dr. Sholar herself has been the target of more instances of these types of issues that she cared to admit. It is difficult for women in any business to navigate without mentorship and support, so Dr. Sholar has dedicated herself to be available for them. They together even tackle topics like body shaming, imposter syndrome, and other issues that are bothersome for many female leaders and can hold them back. She has female college students and medical students shadow her in the operating room, in the business office, and in executive meetings, guiding them to make solid decisions for their careers in and outside of medicine.
Looking towards the future
Today, Dr. Sholar owns Skin Science Soul by Dr. Sholar, her plastic surgery and medical aesthetic practice, as well as being the owner and CEO of Serenity Medical Centers in Austin and San Antonio, and Sage Practice Solutions- a medical practice consulting firm in Austin.
Dr. Alina Sholar is blazing a trail in female-led health care businesses, owning and leading Skin Science Soul, Sage Practice Solutions and Serenity Medical Centers. Her Skin Science Soul patients are loyal to her practice because Sholar makes them feel beautiful, strong and confident. Likewise, Sholar offers her clients at Sage Practice Solutions the tools, strength and confidence to start their own medical practices and medical revenue-cycle management companies. At Serenity Medical Centers, Sholar’s leadership style is centered on personal and professional development to give her team the resources to expand their careers. Through these businesses, and in honoring her own professional upbringing in biomedical sciences, medicine, surgery and business, she mentors young women in STEM and medicine and passes on her business acumen to women around the globe to build their own startups.
When I became a plastic surgeon, I really had the vision of providing not just cosmetic surgery for my patients, but a complete support system where they could feel empowered to be their best. I wanted to operate a totally different type of medical practice business philosophically and literally. After 20 years in surgical practice, I realized that women need a better way to beauty- smarter skincare with scientific substance- but it’s just as much about her soul. I wanted to encourage women to reflect their beauty and strength within to the outside, and in turn, feel their most confident, sexy, and strong in their 30’s, 40’s, and beyond. I wanted to give women Beauty With Substance much more than any regular “medspa” ever could, thus Skin Science Soul was born.Skin Science Soul Medical Aesthetics is where I have brought together all my surgical knowledge, aesthetic artist’s eye, and clinical wisdom as a plastic surgeon with my life’s mission to empower women to feel confident and beautiful both inside and out. However, not only have I been a physician, but my entrepreneurial experience of the last 11 years brings more to the table.
When the lightbulb goes off, I write it down. Even if it’s in the middle of the night, I’ll be sure to write down my thoughts right then and there. The ideas never coalesce like when they first pop into your head. Then, I make a plan. I break down the goal into a step by step action plan. The rest is delegation of individual action items to the right people to carry them out, orchestrating the individual pieces to be glued together, and finally, persistence until it materializes. If I find I am spending too much time on an idea without it going anywhere, or worse, procrastinating, then it’s time to reach out to my best staff members and allow them to take off with the idea.
Cultivating a vision. I sculpt and mold those middle-of-the-night ideas into a vision of what I want my business to look like. I am very clear and specific on WHY my vision is what it is, and what the business’ overarching purpose in the world is meant to be. I don’t keep it to myself either. I share it with my staff, which ensures that all are aligned with the vision, our purpose, and our goals. I constantly hold that entrepreneurial vision out ahead of me, considering what I want my business venture to become, what it will look like, what the driving forces are to bring it to fruition, and what values and culture should surround it. Maintaining that vision keeps me, and my staff as well, on track.
Some say, “Anybody can do that!”, whether it’s in business or plastic surgery. Self-proclaimed “experts” are a dime a dozen, but there are genuine experts out there to guide you and serve you. Invest in yourself by using them! The value of their education and experienced advice is worth the money.
For instance, there really is a science to what we do in aesthetic medicine. Not just anyone can do aesthetic medicine and plastic surgery. It takes years of accumulation of expertise and skill, including formal and diverse medical education and training, to become a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon. Someone may go to an aesthetician injector and think their experience is just fine, but they are missing out on a plastic surgeon’s experienced hand, a trained and keen eye for the art of beauty, the knowledge that something can always go wrong, and knowing how to best prevent complications from occurring. Then if they do, how to properly treat those issues. They are also missing out on a true connection with their plastic surgeon- the sacred doctor-patient relationship that exists only between doctors and their patients. In my practice, it’s one thing that patients over and over state they love about coming to see us- the connection that comes from listening to their needs and understanding what their goals are.
Failures are truly part of the process. The first mistake of my career was a real doozy! I made the mistake of partnering with someone who I didn’t know very well. I got caught up in the idea of “making it big” and didn’t take the time to learn who he was, what his values were (or lack thereof, in this case), and what his ulterior motives may be. Because our ethics and core values were at odds, so much time and attention was taken away from my practice focus and business goals. When I finally learned the truth about him, I was sickened that I, in many ways, had been inadvertently endorsing my partner and his dealings inside and outside of the business. Unfortunately, his way of doing life was very different from mine. I finally had to make the decision that I had to remove myself, and the resulting avalanche that followed was a terrible disaster. However, it was the right decision, and it ultimately pushed me into another passion- to create my own business and be my own boss.
First things first, I start the day at home at a slower pace with my rescue dogs and a cup of coffee, then some prayer and meditation. I then hit the ground running, managing daily business administrative tasks while my staff preps for patients. They do the ultimate job in making our office the most comfortable and safe experience possible for our patients. I typically spend some time each day on budgeting, accounting tasks, following up on delegated duties, and, most importantly, idea development. I need that thinking-time to keep my creativity flowing and keep my mind refreshed. I make sure to give dedicated time to each function, prioritizing by need and time-blocking for maximum efficiency, rather than attempting to multitask- which never works. At the end of the day, the most important tasks on my checklist are complete and I can start the next day with a refreshed sense of accomplishment.
One trend in aesthetic medicine that really excites me is all the new technological innovation in non-invasive, non-surgical skin and body rejuvenation. In my office, we understand the science behind the tech and the biology beneath the skin to really make our patients’ results far beyond what your average medspa could ever offer. So, when we offer new tech like our Skin Rx Biometric Analysis or the VirtueRF Microneedling, we see really exciting things happen for our patients. This is just as fulfilling for our staff, too. That excitement from the patient drives them to learn more and perform better every day. We provide many services that are completely unique to us in the area, so it elevates the business beyond the average medspa.
Then, in the business world in general, one trend I always get some tug on the heartstrings about is brands with purpose. I just adore that companies are bringing some soul to the typically hard business space with a lovely message or a heart-felt purpose. What the world needs now is love, so it’s a beautiful thing when positivity and business come together.
Listen to your inner queen, because she’s right about who you are. Keep finding the inspiration to be the best version of yourself every day, and don’t lose sight of that- even if the naysayers tell you that you are not good enough and that you should settle for less. Because, when all is said and done, the only person you answer to is yourself.
Read a lot. I am constantly learning and curating ideas from books and articles that I can implement in my business or further my medical knowledge and surgical acumen..
There actually is a strategy to it all- mostly cultivating my vision from the start, then holding it as the standard to which all choices are measured, asking myself, “does this fit in my plan or not?” From there, business growth occurs at the level of overcoming any obstacles that may pop up, then learning how to forsee those barriers to success in order to avoid them from that point onward. I also break down growth into specific areas of my business- staff development, capital investment, and community outreach and visibility, for instance. Each area requires a strategic plan to make the full vision materialize.
I just indulged in a gorgeous pair of Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses that absolutely make me feel fabulous every time I wear them!
I do love to explore all the interesting and off-the-beaten path things, fun places, and amazing food that Austin and the Texas Hill Country has to offer, but, to be honest, may absolute favorite thing is to snuggle up with my pups. I have 6 dachshunds and a mastiff- most of whom were rescues for whom we are happy to provide loving life. You just may find handsome dachshund, Presley hanging out with his mom in the office a few days a week, too!
Experience The Difference
Not only is she leading the way for women, her Skin Science Soul MedcaliAesthetics is an Austin woman’s ultimate resource for healthful, soulful , evidence-based medical aesthetics in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and beyond.