By Christina Cavazos
Dr. Kenya Lee believes there is an abundance of beauty in the world, and it is her mission to help her clients find it within themselves.
“I most enjoy helping my clients feel confident and helping them realize the beauty that exists within them,” said Lee, co-founder and lead doctor of PureLee Redefined, a medical and aesthetics spa in Colorado Springs.
“We need more beauty in the world right now. I also really enjoy building relationships.”
Lee grew up in Tennessee and developed a natural love of science from a young age. At just 3, Lee said, she told her mother that she wanted to be a doctor.
“As I got older, I realized that it was because I am a natural nurturer and I truly cannot recall considering any occupation other than medicine,” she said.
Lee graduated as valedictorian of her high school class and completed her undergraduate education at Middle Tennessee State University. She attended Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, where she completed her medical degree and met her future husband, Dr. Marvin Lee, with whom she co-founded PureLee Redefined.
She then completed residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and later worked at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, part of the St. Jude Children’s Hospital System.
After residency she entered the U.S. Air Force, serving in Colorado Springs as a physician. After active duty, Lee began working in private practice in Georgia but returned to Colorado Springs in the mid-2000s. She worked with Mountain View Medical Group until 2015.
She began transitioning to medical aesthetics in 2016 after noticing signs of premature aging in her own skin, she said.
“Colorado weather is beautiful with all the days of sunshine and the clear blue skies, but the environment is harsh on the skin and leads to early signs of aging,” she said.
“I wanted to address these issues and prevent further signs of photo-aging before they developed. I really just wanted to look refreshed and look as young as I felt.”
Lee began researching medical aesthetics and skin care products, then registered for a couple of courses to study it further.
“Upon taking these courses I noted that there was no one there who looked like me and not much being offered for people of color,” she said. “I wanted to make space for medical aesthetics to be accessible to all people regardless of their skin type.”
PureLee Redefined has been open for a little more than a year, and Lee is enjoying the relationships she has made with her clients. Lee spoke with the Business Journal about her medical spa journey and her future plans.
What inspired you to open PureLee Redefined?
Once the training began, I enjoyed it. It was refreshing to be able to deliver what people wanted and not have to worry about the administrative burdens around insurance and approval or protocol. As I did more, I became more passionate about it. I could see that in removing minor conditions that made people uncomfortable in their skin, I could empower them. Minor issues such as acne or scarring, textural issues, aging changes, and discolorations could be addressed with medical grade products and minor procedures. People seemed to smile bigger and feel happier and I was — and continue to be — excited that I played a role in that. I also recognized that I could have a manageable schedule, be a good mom, and put my medical degree back to good use offering medical aesthetics.
What services are offered at PureLee Redefined?
PureLee Redefined focuses on treatments that are safe in all skin types, that are medically sound, and personally vetted by the team. We only offer treatments that are minimally to non-invasive and with little to no downtime.
The services that have met our criteria thus far are a variety of facials including HydraFacials, chemical peels, micro-needling with PRP [platelet rich plasma] or stem cell solutions, Botox and similar neurotoxins, dermal fillers, removal of minor lesions such as skin tags, and CoolSculpting for non-surgical fat reduction and body contouring.
What was your goal when you first opened PureLee Redefined?
My goal was to fuse medical expertise with aesthetics and cosmetics, to restore skin to its optimal state of health and help people age gracefully. I am intentional about enhancing beauty at the intersection of art and science, always with a focus on safety and natural-appearing results. I also wanted to make sure that aesthetic services were accessible and approachable to people of all ethnicities.
What’s changed about your practice now versus when you opened?
We opened a little over a year ago, so the biggest changes have been ushered in by the pandemic. COVID has brought challenges that no one could have predicted and has changed and continues to change the way we operate. Currently, we offer products and services by appointment only and we are exploring and utilizing more forms of digital technology and communication.
How would you describe your medical spa journey?
Fluid. The journey is always changing. There are always new trends and products to review but also operational changes due to the pandemic. Every day is different. I would also say the journey has been personal — personal growth for me and an opportunity to express my creativity and authenticity. The journey has been challenging, rewarding and deeply meaningful.
What is your most popular treatment and why?
HydraFacials, Botox, and dermal fillers. I believe HydraFacial is popular because it’s a great facial with no downtime or irritation and it can be done in 30 minutes. … The skin is well hydrated, dewy and has a lovely glow. Botox and dermal fillers because they are quick, effective and the results are immediate or pretty close to it. The desire to look good on Zoom meetings will likely keep these two services popular.
What do you think has been the most important factor in your success?
I would say I’m still working on success. However, I believe that building the vision and having the courage and tenacity to go out and make it happen qualifies as one measure of success.
What sets your medical spa apart from others?
Our medical spa is operated by physicians who are in the building most of the time. Our clients receive a free consultation with the doctors prior to any treatments and we monitor progress and outcomes. Medications and any procedures that enter the middle layer of skin called the dermis or beyond are performed only by medical providers. Because we have board certified physicians in-house, we are able to address any complications should they occur and prescribe medications if needed. We are also very attentive to our clients and we make it our mission to explain and educate. There are no pressure sales in our space. We give you the knowledge and you choose what you would like. Also, we take great care in making sure our services are not painful and our clients are comfortable. Beyond that, we have become valuable medical consultants for our clients who sometimes need medical care rather than aesthetics.
What plans do you have for the future?
We are adding services such as the Aquagold facial. This is a form of collagen induction therapy with the use of hollow 24-karat gold needles the size of a hair. With this device we can perform dermal infusions of PRP, hyaluronic acid/dermal filler, and Botox. With this service, clients will get the benefit of three treatments all in one. I am very excited to offer it. Next, we want to create a line of skin care products.
Finally, we are planning to do more within the virtual space to include virtual visits and social media posts as well as starting a YouTube channel.