As a new year begins, there's no better moment to prioritize mental and physical well-being. Dr. James Ralston, M.D., F.A.A.D., at the Dermatology Center of McKinney, works to transform lives through healthy skin. Specializing in a range of treatments, from addressing persistent challenges, such as rosacea and psoriasis, to managing everyday concerns such as acne, he says he combines expertise and compassion to make skin health a top priority.
Dr. Ralston is a board-certified dermatologist who has dedicated his career to providing exceptional care in the field. After completing his medical education at the University of Texas at Houston, he pursued a dermatology residency in New York. It was during this time he says his passion for skin cancer and photodynamic therapy flourished, leading him to develop an innovative technique that uses lasers for effective treatment. He then did a second fellowship in Georgia, focusing on advanced skin cancer surgery.
“I’m not a typical doctor,” explains Dr. Ralston. “I love dermatology and can’t get enough of it.”
In 2008, Dr. Ralston and his wife, Rachel, established the Dermatology Center of McKinney, initially equipped with three exam rooms. Over the past 15 years, their practice has grown to 13 exam rooms. They also opened an aesthetic wellness business that's attached to the clinic.
Dermatology Center of McKinney operates on a balance of medical, surgical and cosmetic/aesthetic dermatology, specializing in all aspects of skin, hair and nails for the whole family. From acne to wrinkles, discoloration, eye bags, skin tightening, fat reduction and muscle toning, the practice uses the latest devices and technologies for aesthetic wellness and body contouring. Dr. Ralston says with his background in skin cancer surgery, he knows the nuances of facial anatomy, which he uses to optimize treatments such as Botox and fillers. He notes that the practice’s most popular cosmetic treatments are Botox, Dysport, Juvederm, Restylane, EmSculpt Neo, EmFace, EmSella, Sofwave, next-generation hair removal, radiofrequency microneedling, intense pulsed light and a variety of lasers.
“Everyone who works at the Dermatology Center of McKinney is passionate about [healthy] skin,” says Dr. Ralston. “We're passionate about wellness and aim to have patients excited about taking care of the largest organ, the skin.”
Dr. Ralston believes the Dermatology Center of McKinney stands out among other dermatology practices for several reasons. The practice operates from a single location, allowing for direct supervision and collaboration between Dr. Ralston, a board-certified dermatologist, and a skilled team, which includes a physician assistant, two aestheticians/laser techs and other dedicated professionals. He adds that this close-knit approach ensures patients receive the highest quality care and attention. He says he takes great pride in being independently owned, a rarity in an era where many practices are acquired by private equity firms. He affirms that this independence grants him the freedom to prioritize the best interests of patients and stay at the forefront of advancements in dermatological care.
“We're always watching for new innovations, looking toward FDA approvals and researching to be most effective when treating our patients,” states Dr. Ralston. “We're able to leverage the latest technologies and treatments, ensuring our patients benefit from the most cutting-edge options available.”
A personal motivation drives Dr. Ralston’s commitment to skin cancer prevention, early detection and treatment. His own experience of losing a grandfather to melanoma as a child fueled his dedication to becoming an expert in this field.
Dermatology Center of McKinney employs advanced technologies, such as dermoscopy, electronic mole analysis and body imaging. By combining artificial intelligence with physician analysis, Dr. Ralston can detect skin cancer at earlier stages than ever before. Additionally, the practice uses noninvasive mole testing technology that examines mole DNA and RNA through the application of a simple sticker on the skin. This innovative approach allows the identification of subtle abnormalities before they become visible, enabling proactive intervention.
Mental health and dermatology are interconnected, with the skin being the first thing people notice. Dr. Ralston recently did a radio interview about psoriasis in which he discussed the impact psoriasis has on mental health and self-esteem. “Depression is a complication of psoriasis that's not discussed enough. It's so rewarding to hear patients come back to the clinic after successful psoriasis treatment to say their skin is clear and they put on shorts or went swimming for the first time in years.”
The Dermatology Center of McKinney staff works hard to make cosmetic treatments affordable for everyone, offering Botox memberships and cosmetic savings plans. Dr. Ralston says they reward patients who participate in memberships with the lowest possible prices, trying to remove the roadblocks to healthy skin.
Dr. Ralston says he believes patients are part of his work family. "The biggest honor is when we treat whole families. Some of my very first patients were in high school when the practice opened and now, they're married and bringing their own kids. This is so rewarding, it means our patients are happy to trust us to help again."
Dr. Ralston shares five skin tips he believes are essential for everyone to know:
- Patients considering cosmetic procedures should choose a board-certified physician. Board-certified dermatologists have expertise in the medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of skin, hair and nails. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends patients do their homework and consider a provider’s training and credentials before deciding if he or she is the right choice for them.
- Skin care does not have to be expensive; it just needs to be optimized for the individual. A dermatologist can work to determine which products will help reach skin care goals.
- When it comes to sunscreen, if one isn't wearing it daily, they may not have found the right one yet, as it's crucial to find a sunscreen that suits their preferences. Whether it's the choice between chemical or physical sunscreen, tinted or non-tinted, or sweatproof or matte, there exists a wide range of options to cater to individual needs and ensure that everyone can find a sunscreen they love and eagerly incorporate into their routine.
- Do not delay seeking a dermatologist's expertise, as many individuals who believe they are the sole sufferers of a specific skin problem often discover otherwise. Frequently, patients only seek dermatological assistance when urged by a concerned partner or family member, often after waiting excessively. However, it's crucial to note that early detection of skin cancer leads to a complete cure in most cases.
- Damage can be reversed, even for those who were sun worshippers in the 1980s or who have acne scars, as there are advanced technologies available to help patients achieve flawless skin and reach their body goals. It's recommended to start preparing six months in advance to reach goals. Visit a board-certified dermatologist to develop a strategy. Botox and fillers are great last-minute fixes, but more often patients need treatments that perpetuate neocollagenesis, and this takes time and a comprehensive approach.
Established 15 years ago, the Dermatology Center of McKinney medical staff at 5801 Virginia Parkway, Ste. 102, handles medical, surgical, cosmetic and pediatric treatments. Hours of operation are Tuesdays through Thursdays 7:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.; Fridays 7:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.; Monday by appointment only; closed Saturdays and Sundays.