With self-driving cars, phones that control your lights, speakers that order your favorite things, and headsets that can take you on a virtual journey, we are living in the future. So of course the beauty industry, which is always on the cutting edge, has one foot in this new world. Pre-treatment 3D imaging lets you virtually try on a look before you commit to a treatment. Double board certified plastic surgeon to the rich and famous Dr. David Shafer, who was one of the first doctors to start using this technology for his patients in New York City, gives us the scoop on this ground breaking technique as he takes me through the process.

How does 3D imaging work?

It's really gaining ground as computer processing and imaging techniques are now able to create realistic 3D images for patients to visualize their potential results. A leader is Canfield VECTRA 3D imaging where patients can see not only their skin texture and pores in high definition but also any sun damage or underlying vascular issues such as rosacea and capillaries.

I'm afraid of seeing myself in 3D. Some days 2D is difficult enough. Please tell me it won’t be that bad.

I’ll tell you, many patient’s are scared at first, but then they really start to get into it. You can zoom in on every little pore and it’s good for patients to see their sun damage. But I understand, even when I have used it for myself I start to notice things that I never did before. Patients come in and say I want to look better, but they might not be able to identify what the issue is. When patients see themselves in 3D, they can objectively analyze the skin and the symmetry of the face on a screen. They start to say, “Wow! I didn’t realize I had all of that sun damage, or I didn’t realize my pores were that bad, or that one cheek was higher than the other.” Then you can really start to talk about what to do by prioritizing what bothers you the most and what doesn’t bother you. People come in and they see a menu of things they can do, injectables, lasers, peels, surgery…and they say what is the one thing I can do. And the answer is, there is not one thing to fix everything. So it’s taking this image then having a conversation with the patient about what they want, their budget, timeline, and expectations for recovery, then prioritizing the list with what bothers them most.