For Dr. Shehla Ebrahim, there's no satisfaction like helping her clients look and feel the best about themselves

For the past several years Ebrahim has been providing clients with top-notch care and service at both Ambleside Dermedics Health Centre in West Vancouver and Afterglow Medical Aesthetics and Skin Care in North Vancouver.

But where Afterglow deals solely in medical aesthetic services such as Botox, fillers and laser/light therapies like Ultherapy Broad Band light, laser hair removal, laser skin resurfacing, Ultherapy is only offered in West Vancouver. Ebrahim covers a much wider range of dermatological concerns and conditions at her Ambleside Dermedics clinic, where she also hangs her shingle as a family physician.

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A significant portion of her business there comes through referrals from other general practitioners who send patients with skin conditions such as acute rashes, eczema or psoriasis, lumps, acne or possible cancer to Dr. Ebrahim for consultation.

While waiting times for a dermatologist can run upwards of three to four months, Dr. Ebrahim - who has a diploma in dermatology - can usually consult with them in under two weeks, and those referral services are covered by the B.C. Medical Services Plan.

"A client recently came in to see me about her teenage son, who had terrible acne that wasn't responding to anything," says Dr. Ebrahim of a recent patient.

"The GP referred them to another dermatologist who had a four-month wait list. Her son was so traumatized from the acne that he was getting depressed. And to help someone like that is very rewarding for me."

The latest technology Ebrahim features at her Ambleside clinic is called Coolsculpting, and Ebrahim is the only doctor on the North Shore to offer it. It's procedure that employs extreme cold to bring about apoptosis - or the natural, permanent death of fat cells resistant to diet and exercise in problem fat areas such as muffin tops, saddle bags and on the inner thighs and back. Another very popular and novel technology is Ultherapy using focused ultrasound to lift and tighten the skin non-invasively.

And this April at her Ambleside clinic, Ebrahim is hoping to unveil the new Verisante Aura - a state-of-the-art rapid-scanning, non-invasive spectroscopy tool designed to help medical professionals in the early detection of skin cancer by identifying and categorizing lesions in less than a second.

"We will be able to look at a lesion and actually safely say whether it's benign or malignant," says Ebrahim. "It will help people avoid unnecessary biopsies and alleviate the anxiety and stress that a person may experience when they're going through a possible cancer diagnosis."

And don't ever accuse Dr. Ebrahim of not setting her sights high enough when it comes to raising money for charity.

Last August she participated in a 170km hike to the base camp of K2 in Pakistan to raise money for two charities: Opportunity International, which assists women and business in third-world countries by providing micro-financing loans; and a private girls school in rural Northern Pakistan.

She describes the hike as "the toughest thing she's ever done in her life", which resonates even more once one realizes this is a woman who's also climbed Kilimanjaro and trekked up to Everest base camp. She now describes the Everest journey as a "walk in the park" compared to K2.

While she won't be tackling any mountains again for the next little while, she will be keeping up her commitment to raising money for charity by taking part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer from Vancouver to Seattle this June.

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