Heather Dahl, a licensed master aesthetician and laser specialist, will be returning to her Kirkland roots and joining the Strother Dermatology team in January.
Seeing her today, you may not believe that this blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman was born with black hair and blue eyes, a very unique combination. As early as 5th grade, however, she remembers black hair growing all over her body and face. “I had to shave twice per day and started waxing every two weeks. It was the bane of my existence. It wasn’t until I got into this industry that I realized there was a permanent solution, laser hair removal, which changed my life.”
Heather grew up in Kent in an entrepreneurial family with her father owning an insurance company and her mother owning a flooring business. After managing a custom jewelry store in Bellevue, where she also apprenticed as a designer, she purchased the business from the previous owner. The jewelry store had become not only her career but her life. She loved the design and creativity aspect, but more importantly, she loved the relationships that she cultivated with her customers and considered it an honor to be part of their biggest life moments such as engagements, weddings and anniversaries.
Unfortunately, after several years, a life change forced her to close the store. This became a pivotal time for her as she had to make a choice to either stay in a changing industry or reinvent herself. It was her neighbor, a dermatologist, who suggested she become an aesthetician specializing in laser treatments. With her neighbor's encouragement and advice, Heather enrolled in the Euro Institute which included a medical course in advanced laser treatment a week later. Subsequently, she also attended the Laser Training Institute where she attained her NCLE (National Council for Laser Excellence) certification.
Upon graduation, Heather's career started to take off and she found herself working for an industry-leading plastic surgeon at Evergreen Hospital. After eight years in plastic surgery, she gained enough experience to make the jump into dermatology. After spending three years with one practice, she then decided to accept a position at a larger practice in Mill Creek where she was the lead for her department and created several procedures and protocols achieving impressive results.
Heather feels as though she has multiple tools; “a hammer can only do one job and you often need many tools to build something special for each patient.” She considers her career to be a “dream job” because she has the opportunity to change someone’s life and watch their confidence grow right before her eyes while also tapping into her own creative side and therefore utilizing all of her tools.
Throughout her career, Heather wanted to work with someone who she considered to be the pioneer in aesthetics and aesthetic laser devices, Dr. Peter Cooperrider. Dr. Cooperrider owned what would later become Strother Dermatology, and it was a former co-worker (now with Strother Dermatology) who ultimately recruited Heather and brought her on board.
Heather looks forward to bringing her experience to Strother Dermatology and performing multiple procedures including BBL (Broadband Light) for sunspots and vascular conditions, Halo laser resurfacing, tattoo removal, laser hair removal, and skin tightening and body contouring with Coolsculpting. Although the technology is the same as it was when she began her career, the advances in the accuracy and efficiency have greatly improved. What used to take two hours in a laser hair removal procedure can now be accomplished in an impressive 45 minutes - that's an entire body of hair removal! Heather also stated that coming from a plastic surgery office, she didn’t feel as though there would ever be a non-surgical device that could take the place of a surgical procedure and meet the patient’s realistic expectations, and today that simply is not true. “I see amazing results and sometimes even surprise myself.”
Heather likes to use analogies with her patients because she often hears them say, “I am usually not this vain.” When asked her response to this comment she replies, “by definition, vanity is an excessively high opinion of one’s self. My patients schedule with me because there is something that they are self-conscious about, which is the complete opposite of vanity. In fact, the majority of my patients are the most selfless people I have ever met and do more for others than themselves. I say to them, ‘I am a self-proclaimed DIY girl and have spent countless thousands of dollars to remodel almost every home that I have owned, which makes me feel good inside when I’m in it. I am a product of the ’60s and am over 50 years old. If I owned a house that was my age, I most certainly would have made some changes, updated the carpet, put on a new roof, and thought nothing of it. If I am willing to invest in the home that I live in, why wouldn’t I do the same for myself, so I feel good when I walk out my front door?’ This is self-care, and it is important. I feel that the most beautiful people are confident people, and I have the unique pleasure of treating patients to help them feel confident.”
When Heather isn’t working, she is active in her other passions and states, “I am completely addicted to OrangeTheory”, her regular workout classes. She has also challenged herself in her later years by overcoming some of her fears. She signed on with a talent and modeling agency years ago and appeared in the Bon Marche Mother’s Day commercials, Microsoft commercials, print ads, and fashion shows for Nordstrom’s petite department. She said “it wasn’t necessarily glamorous. It was really hard work, but it gave me the confidence to be in front of people and take care of myself.”
Heather enjoys spending her free time with her long-term boyfriend that she refers to as her “adventure soulmate”, and special time with her son and grandson. To this day she still finds herself frog hunting with her son just like she did when he was little.
Something people are surprised to know about Heather is that she had her first basal cell cancer at the age of thirty. She says, “I used to have tanning competitions with my best friend” and remembers a sunburn at the age of fifteen that made her very sick. To make matters worse, she used tanning beds and even had one in her garage during her twenties. “If I hadn’t had access to the technology I have today, I am sure that I would look 15 years older than my chronological age.”
Heather is grateful for the lessons she has learned, and for understanding the importance of protecting and caring for her skin. She is also grateful for the dermatologists who have not only changed her life, but continue to help her change the lives of others.
For more information, visit StrotherDermatology.com.